The 2014 World Cup Is Tearing Brazil Apart At The Seams

Brazil 2014 World Cup

Photo: ESPN

Brazil faces a crucial next four years.The country has been given two opportunities to showcase its economic prowess and culture: the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics Games.

Preparation for both is already underway, but things haven’t gone smoothly.

The kind of corruption other Brazilian industries have dealt with for decades has, not surprisingly, moved into Cup preparations.

And just as other third-world countries have done when trying to fix things up for large events, Brazil is doing its best to hide the large part of its population it wants few to know about: the poor living in terrible, drug-ridden slums.

On Sunday, Bob Ley of ESPN’s Outside the Lines did a lengthy piece on what Brazil is doing to be ready in two years and how these preparations are affecting many of its residents.

Despite huge improvements over the years, Brazil is still a country of deep contrasts. Giant beach front hotels juxtaposed by...

Large swaths of the many slums surrounding stadiums are being leveled in exchange for government money for its former residents

An estimated 600,000 poor residents have relocated since Brazil started handing out money to anyone that would leave

This process has left entire communities in shambles, separating life long neighbours and ruining the foundation of the buildings next to the now empty lots

The Freitas, owners of this shop, say they've seen the area they've called home for generations go down the drain with drugs and squalor taking over

Signs point to these demolitions being only the beginning, as even more space will be cleared for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro

This mural in the middle of one of the affected slums shows how locals are feeling: they love the game more than anything, but it's ruining their lives right now (soccer ball as a skull)

This motorcycle taxi driver admits the cops have helped clean things up. He used to pay up to $400 a month in protection money to drug lords

As far as stadium construction goes, things aren't going as smoothly as FIFA hoped it would when it awarded Brazil the 2014 games

Construction for the famous Estádio do Maracanã where Pele scored his 1000th career goal is behind schedule and over budget

Major issues with the construction of Maracanã stadium stem from the original construction company being accused of corruption involving gambling interests

It doesn't help that the former head of Brazil's soccer federation, Ricardo Teixeira, was also embroiled in his own corruption scandal

Some argue his replacement, Jose Maria Marin, isn't any better. He can be seen here pocketing a winner's medal at a youth tournament. A minor offence perhaps, but many saw it as symbolic of the kind of men being put in charge

FIFA isn't exactly ecstatic with the way things are going either

Setbacks and all, World Cup planning committee CEO Ricardo Trade says everything is fine and they'll be ready

Most of the stadiums are on track, Trade argues

Unfortunately, one prominent Brazilian human rights activist says, like most business in Brazil, the World Cup is doing a lot of good for investors, not residents

Although few expect it to get to that point, FIFA can still pull the plug if it believes things are off track on June 1, 2012

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