Rage in Rio
by Stephen Lendman
Held during dire economic times amidst massive corruption scandals, the Rio 2016 XXXI Olympiad began with a bang, its flamboyant opening ceremony blackened by justifiable street rage.
Sponsored by an illegitimate US-supported coup d’etat regime, the event’s dark side was exposed before competition began.
Russia’s entire track and field team was unfairly banned. Washington’s failed attempt to have all its athletes excluded over doping allegations against some showed the politicization of Olympic competition. At its best, it’s more spectacle than sport.
Police attacked hundreds of protesters near Maracana Stadium, site of Thursday night’s opening ceremony. They expressed justifiable anger against a coup d’etat regime, rife with corruption, attacking social justice, force-feeding neoliberal harshness, serving Brazil’s monied interests at the expense of most others.
Billions of dollars were spent on an extravaganza while millions of Brazilians languish in abject poverty. Favela slums near the Olympiad site reflect one of the world’s most unequal countries economically, its illegitimate regime making things worse, enriching themselves and their cronies at the expense of the nation’s most vulnerable.
Earlier on Thursday, thousands marched toward Afonso Pena Square. Others massed in front of the Copacabana Palace hotel, one of the city’s best, hosting some of the athletes.
Thousands supporting illegally suspended Dilma Rousseff protested against interim coup d’etat president Michel Temer, Wall Street’s man in charge, reviled by the vast majority of Brazilians – hooted and jeered when he said “I declare open the XXXI edition of the Olympic Games.”
Rousseff was absent Thursday night, saying “I don’t think it’s appropriate that the ousted president should attend a ceremony that is led by an illegitimate president.”
Days earlier protests forced the Olympic Games Organizing Committee to change the event’s torch final route to Maracana Stadium.
Protests continue rocking Brazil following Rousseff’s illegal suspension last May. The nation was militarized leading up to and continuing for the duration of the games, concluding on August 21.
A raucous three weeks ahead is likely, police state harshness attempting to prevent public anger from interfering with Olympic competition – more about profiteering and exploitation than sport.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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