Eduardo Paes, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, is not too concerned about the fact that the city isn’t ready for the World Cup starting on Thursday, or the 2016 Olympics for that matter. He says it’s par for the course with his culture.
Paes said enough of the 12 stadiums are done that it shouldn’t be a huge problem, reports the Globe and Mail. He said, “We’re Latins. We’re not used to deadlines, to keeping up with things.”
He also said, “Up to now, there has been huge damage to our reputation. There is, when you don’t have everything done. We made mistakes. We shouldn’t have done 12 stadiums, we should have done fewer cities. That’s what brought us to this situation. But I think we’re going to do great.”
While residents have protested against the $11.3 million price tag for the venues, which are not even complete, Paes takes a more optimistic approach. He said, “The problem would be if we could not have protests. I would be ashamed if we did not have protests.”
The people are protesting that this money should be spent on improving Rio’s infrastructure and educational system. Paes sees no connection between the city spending millions on an international event instead of the needs of its people. He said, “Education has nothing to do with the World Cup … Brazil is capable of doing the World Cup and also delivering good education. If we don’t do it, it’s not because we chose to do the Olympics and the World Cup.”
The city is also hosting the 2016 Olympics, which it has done almost nothing to prepare for yet. The International Olympic Committee recently said that their experience trying to get Rio ready has been the “worst ever” and “not a good experience.”
Will Rio be the next Sochi? The World Cup fiasco shows a good indication it will.