Who is supposed to pass Brazil’s laws, the people of Brazil or Coca-Cola?

An interesting provocative piece by Naomi Wolf.

She points how WC preperations continue despite huge public protests:

Last year, Brazilian authorities were taken by surprise when a wave of protests erupted during the Confederations Cup soccer tournament, a sort of warm-up to this year’s main event, the World Cup, which will be staged in 12 cities across the country beginning in June. The protesters, complaining that the $11 billion spent on new stadiums and other World Cup-related infrastructure would be better invested in improving Brazil’s poor public services, were met with official violence. And yet the protests have continued throughout the year.

Not surprisingly, soccer’s international governing body, FIFA, and the World Cup’s corporate sponsors are worried – so worried that they and Brazilian government officials are planning carefully for protests during the month-long tournament. Worse, a raft of proposed security legislation would almost certainly restrict freedom of assembly.

The trouble with this backlash is that the World Cup is merely a focal point for a diffuse set of popular grievances concerning issues ranging from education to police corruption and abuse of power. Last June, a million people took to the streets across the country. In Brasilia, 45,000 protesters simply walked into the capital’s legislative district and stood quietly.

Recent demonstrations have followed on the heels of the government’s forced relocation of low-income Brazilians from their favelas overlooking Rio de Janeiro into newly built housing far away – an effort aimed at preventing the World Cup from being marred by scenes of poverty and unrest. Last week, protests erupted in the city’s Copacabana district after a dancer died. Locals say he was shot by the police, who have now been joined by the military to maintain order.

So who is calling the shots?

The role of FIFA, in particular, in pressuring Brazil’s government to enact anti-democratic legislation is a dangerous precedent. This extra-national effort on behalf of the World Cup’s sponsors underscores the threat to newly empowered civil societies from global corporate entities, many of which are increasingly chafing at the constraints imposed on them by strong democracies.

Who is supposed to pass Brazil’s laws, the people of Brazil or Coca-Cola? When Coca-Cola, backed by the military, sets national policy in what is supposed to be a free society, a new and darker page in the fight for freedom has been turned.

One can also ask this question in india’s contect – who is electing the next govt – FIIs or citizens?

Coming back to Brazil, this is quite a different perspective from the other research one gets to read-  economic impact of FIFA world cup. This one questions the world cup from a economic and sociological perspective.

I mean most mega-events turn into economic disasters which obviously raises the questions over their hosting. Developing world wants to host such events as it tries to showcase their new emerging power. But the question of allocating resources is a serious issue. Why spend on an event which just gets some initial hype and some fan following? As the dust settles down, one realises there are losses from the event, debt to be repaid and all kinds of other issues.

An event meant to bring limelight brings the wrong kind of limelight later on. Experts who said the event will reap economic benefits and support the need for govt. expenditure suddenly change sides. They call it an economic disaster and a case of fiscal profligacy.

We will see what happens in case of Brazil WC which also has to host Olympics as well..

To me the question always is, given that most such events turn into large losses for the govt., should one go into hosting these events at all? If not individual countries, how does one host these events keeping the financial risks in mind?

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