The Arrest Of 63 Police Officers Shows How Far Rio Has To Go Before It’s Ready For The World Cup

rio de janeiro

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On Tuesday, a year-long bribery probe led to the arrest of 63 police officers and 11 alleged drug traffickers in Rio de Janeiro.’Operation Purification’ was undertaken as another a step meant to prepare Rio for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Rio has developed a notorious reputation due to its higher than average levels of violent crime and corruption.

“It’s important that we cut into our own flesh so the institution can earn legitimacy,” Mariano Beltrame, Rio’s state security secretary, told Reuters.

But despite the recent arrests, it’s becoming clear that Rio may have a long way to go before hosting events on the world stage in 2014. In November alone, a bribery ring took down some the country’s top-level officials — including the deputy attorney general — and a police officer was killed in a score-settling murdered in front of her 11-year-old daughter, reinvigorating the national debate on whether Brazil’s war against drug-related crime is actually working.

And it’s not just crime that observers are worried about — the construction of new facilities, infrastructure and overall organisation has moved at a painfully slow pace. Yesterday, the IOC voiced its concerns yesterday regarding preparations for the 2016 Olympic games.  “Time is ticking,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said in a public statement.

Even Pele, arguably the greatest soccer player of all time and a national icon in Brazil, has his doubts. At the moment, things are not great,” the footballer said in August. “We have a little problem with the construction.”