How the World Cup is Transforming Brazil

Monday, May 26, 2014

About 25,000 members of the 'Homeless Workers Movement' held large demonstrations to claim their right to housing on May 22, 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Victor Moriyama / Stringer/Getty)

Soccer's 2014 World Cup kicks off on June 12. Thirty-two teams will compete in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Brazil, a country that has long been culturally identified with its obsession with soccer, has now spent roughly $11 billion on preparations for the games, including $4 billion alone for the creation of 12 new stadiums. 

On the ground, the spending on the World Cup has been poorly received. Soccer legend, Pelé has spoken out, saying that country has unwisely spent billions of dollars while its poorest citizens suffer. 

Dave Zirin is sports editor for the Nation and author of "Brazil's Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, the Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy." He recently traveled to Brazil to better understand how the athletic event has become a symbol of something much bigger that's been playing out in the country for years. 


Dave Zirin

Produced by:

Allie Ferguson


Mythili Rao

Comments [1]

Leandro Valentin from Mirassol, SP, Brazil

Dear John Hockenberry and Dave Zirin,

I am Brazilian and I think this interview was very interesting. I can assure you that most Brazilians are against the World Cup. Even though soccer is really important for us, the use of soccer by politicians in general to control our people does not work anymore. You can tell it through the episode of the opening of the Confederations Cup last year: our president was booed during her speech in the stadium.
We like soccer, but it is not a kind of religion for us anymore.
By the way, protests and strikes have increased in Brazil since last year. I hope it becomes something more efficient.
Just two details about some information of the interview: the World Cup is not going to happen only in São Paulo and, even though Pelé complained about the investments, he has defended the World Cup here. He even said that people should not protest during the World Cup.

Regards from Brazil.

May. 26 2014 08:12 PM

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