Ricardo Trade , Executive Director of Brazil’s Organizational Committee for the 2014 World Cup, recently gave an interview in which he spoke about the impact of nationwide protests that have occurred in Brazil since June have had on the event’s planning. He had the following to say, via The Raw Story:
“The protests are democratic in a democratic country — save for the violence, which nobody wants to see,” said Trade, speaking from his headquarters just outside Rio where his team can monitor progress on the venues 24 hours a day.
“They (protesters) are demanding health, security, schools, education — these are legitimate public desires.”
In the full interview Trade called the protester’s demands a “welcomed” goal, saying that “Brazil is growing and needs to improve on its social inequality.” He went on to issue a message to those protesting throughout the country:
Asked what his message would be to demonstrators, Trade said: “Protest for what you believe is fair; the country is growing and needs to do better in terms of social inequality. But let’s not forget that we are bringing over an important event for your country.
“Treat the people who come here well.”
The executive director also said “It’s very important to not mix up their actions with those who will be here.”
As innocuous as those words might seem, they are not. If you’ve wondered at any point in the last few months why Brazilians have been upset enough to stage the largest national protests in over two decades, this is why.
In one breath Ricardo Trade acknowledged Brazilians’ right to protest and voice their discontent with rampant inequality, crumbling infrastructure, and widespread corruption, yet in the next he made the country’s emphasis quite clear: those coming into the country matter more than those who have been there all along.
During the onset of the #ChangeBrazil movement it was widely reported that a main cause for public outrage was the government’s enormous investment into World Cup preparations. While this is true, it is tangent to the primary point. Brazilians are protesting because they’re a secondary priority in their own country.
Now, I must hedge my criticism of Ricardo Trade’s comments: He is not an elected official; his obligations are not (necessarily) to the Brazilian people.
The goal should be decreasing the margin of income inequality, not increased FIFA’s margin of revenue. The goal should be improving. The goal should be protecting all of the country’s residents and visitors, not just the tourists.