Brazil is not ready for the World Cup, but Rio should be fine for the Olympics
During my first six months in London many people asked me about the two big sporting events that will put Brazil in the spotlight for the next four years or so. Will Brazilians step up to the tasks? Being such a vast country, I would say there is high chance of some infrastructure problems in the World Cup, especially in the cities farther from the coast. The Rio Olympics should be alright for foreigners, but not as amazing for locals — mainly to those who care about public spending and corruption.
As a political reporter I had the great opportunity of traveling around the country in the last 10 years. There was major change in many of the World Cup host cities, such as Salvador, Recife and Fortaleza, in the Northeast. The metropolis of the South, such as Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte, have terrible traffic and issues with airports, but there is heavy investment coming to the most important hubs in the country. Nothing like that can be said about small Cuiaba, Manaus and Natal. These three should be the most problematic for 2014.
Just like 2010 hosts South Africa, most of Brazilian cities have an insufficient subway system. Going to the nicely crafted stadia will probably demand a bumpy ride by bus. The government intended to deal with that, but most of the plans were scrapped by middle 2012. Communications, hotel rooms and English speaking staff are other issues still to be resolved for the World Cup. It should be a better even than the one hosted in South Africa, but not close to the one Germany organised in 2006.
The Olympics are further down the road, but the sheer nature of the event (hosted in one city) and the experience Rio got in the 2007 Pan-American Games show the organisation there can be fine. There will surely be corruption allegations and excessive spending, which is never good. But those who go to Rio in 2016 for the Games will probably have it even better than those who are there for the World Cup.
in South Africa, not as great as in Germany.