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Brazil Pulls Funding On Olympic Opening Ceremony

Photo: REUTERS/Nacho Doce

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter
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Brazil officially gave up on the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics’ opening and closing ceremonies Wednesday, so they will not be funding either event.

The federal government’s snap decision is just the latest in a long string of blows to the 2016 Olympic Games. Rio de Janeiro State received an almost $1 billion bailout from the Brazilian federal government in June, so that it could help the city of Rio de Janeiro fund the Olympic Games.

The Rio 2016 Organizing Committee did not raise the kind of cash they expected before the games, prompting them to beg the federal government for more funding in June. In a last ditch attempt for the opening and closing ceremonies to go off without a hitch, organizers want to exchange free advertising for certain products. Right now, getting gasoline is a priority for the ceremonies so they are reaching out to state-owned oil company Petrobras, and other firms for sponsorship.

Antonio Abete, the man in charge of running the Olympics’ opening ceremony, warned BBC News on July 8 that his budget for the event is, “much less than London [2012 Summer Olympics]. It’s because in Brazil everyone knows what the situation is, economically and politically. It’s correct to invest money in the opening ceremony, but I think it’s also correct to invest the right money.”

During the chaos of trying to organize a successful Olympics, Brazil has been dealing with dual health and security crises stemming from the Zika virus along with angry and underpaid cops. The mosquito-borne illness has caused several athletes to pull out of participating in the games. Rio dew Janeiro policemen made global headlines when some of them held up a sign in the city’s airport which read, “WELCOME TO HELL: police and firefighters don’t get paid, whoever comes to Rio de Janeiro will not be safe.”

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