- (Photo: Reuters/Matt Sullivan)
Brazil's Catholic Church has condemned the country's hosting of the upcoming World Cup, pointing out the billions that have been spent on stadiums while the country still fails to advance basic public services, such as sanitation and education.
Brazil's Bishops Conference distributed brochures in the country's dioceses last week, encouraging government officials to allow Brazilians to publicly protest the FIFA World Cup, which begins June 12 and ends July 13. The brochures condemn the country's World Cup organizers for spending a total of $11 billion in preparation for the World Cup, instead of contributing such a massive amount of money to the country's notoriously poor public services.
"The Church wants to contribute to the public debate and express its concern with [...] the inversion of priorities in the use of public money that should go to health, education, basic sanitation, transportation and security," the red brochure reads, in part. The appearance of the brochure resembles the "red card" given to a soccer player from a referee that indicates he has committed a flagrant foul.
According to Reuters, the brochure also criticizes World Cup organizers for evicting hundreds of residents from their homes to make way for stadiums, as well as giving in to "big corporations" instead of listening to the voice of the people.
The Guardian reports that the revelry that usually accompanies a World Cup host city is somewhat missing from Brazil, as many have spoken out against what they believe to be frivolous spending for the month-long soccer tournament.
Just two weeks ago, police clashed with anti-World Cup protesters in the capital of Brasilia, where authorities fired tear gas as protesters, some from an indigenous group, hurled rocks. In Sao Paolo, subway workers participated in a strike that further congested South America's most populous city.
More than a million people protested in the streets of Brazil last June, due mostly to the upcoming World Cup, as well as to a spike in public transportation fares. The country's cities hosting the upcoming soccer tournament are decorated with murals, some supporting the upcoming World Cup and others protesting it. One mural that recently went viral shows a young, hungry child crying at a dining table with only a soccer ball at his plate, while several other murals depict partially-completed infrastructures, meant to mock Brazil's ineffectiveness at preparing for the World Cup while also supporting its people.