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Brazil Won’t Let the Gringos Win Olympic Medals, Says Brazilian President

October 29th, 2009

lula8During the inauguration of a remodeled sports and cultural complex at Mangueira’s Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva talked about the difficulties to solve the violence and crime that plague Brazil and Rio de Janeiro, in particular.

The president even got a cake to celebrate his 64th birthday. The Olympic center Jamelão, named in homage of a renowned samba singer who became the Mangueira samba club’s official crooner and died in 2008, should benefit 6,500 children and teenagers from the community.

A reporter asked Lula why the government hadn’t kept its promise in 2007 of bringing peace to Complexo do Alemão (German Complex), a favela (shantytown) ruled by drug traffickers. “If it were easy,” Lula replied, “it would have already been done. But this is hard because we are normal folks dealing with the narcotraffick, which is made up by abnormal people, who take up guns”.

“Some people believe that the governor can put an end to the gangs in a minute. If it were easy, the violence wouldn’t have lasted 30, 40 years. … When violence like that happens there is this idea that Rio is like that. … There is violence in Rio, São Paulo, Bahia, Paraná, but in Rio the repercussion is bigger than in any other city,” said the president.

“Today, the narcotraffick is a reality”, admitted Lula. He stressed, however, that what is needed is “to arrest those who are taking away the freedom of the people, who want to work honestly and that makes up 99,99% of the Rio de Janeiro population.”

Lula reassured Brazilians and the world, since Rio will be hosting the 2016 Olympic Games, that this is not an insoluble problem: “We will show that the government is stronger than the narcotraffick. If we join efforts instead of arguing over a pittance of money, we will manage to solve this problem in Rio de Janeiro.”

Lula disclosed also that’s hard to get people to work in anti-drug field: “Cabral (Rio de Janeiro’s state governor Sérgio Cabral) told me about a course for which more than 2,000 people applied to work against the narcotraffick, but at the end only 600 really want to work.”

“This is an endless work because the criminal leaves one place and goes some place else. The president also stated that he held talks with the governor and the Justice Minister, Tarso Genro and they had decided that there would be no monetary limit from the federal government to help Rio.

Lula also said that he is demanding from authorities and sports leaders “a strategy for the Olympics” so that all Rio’s campaign promises to become the hosting city be fulfilled.

“We will not fail. We didn’t get here to die on the beach. (a Portuguese expression that means to give up at the last minute after having put a lot of effort into a task). We want to show that this country is as good as Madrid, Chicago, Tokyo, and we are going to deliver a better Olympics than the ones they have done in their countries,” said the president.

Next to the president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB), Carlos Arthur Nuzman, Lula said that the place he was inaugurating will be a source of future champions and that Brazil will dispute the first places for the Olympic medals.

“Brazil is not going to host the Olympics so that the gringos come here to win our medals.”

Written by José Wilson Miranda

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