JORGE RIBEIRO / AIPS in MANAUS: A few days after the third fatal accident in the construction of the Arena Vivaldo Lima, and facing the prospect of new protests, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff came to the capital of the Amazon for a visit – at the same time and at the same hotel where 40 journalists from the final FIFA World Cup countries were taking part in a seminar.
The night before her arrival, Amazonia state Governor Omar Aziz attended the seminar organized by Eduardo Monteiro de Paula, president of ACLEA, and Gabriel Cazeneuve, president of AIPS America, where he admitted that he already missed stadium opening deadlines four times.
He believed these setbacks had fuelled a ‘black campaign’ in Europe to the detriment of the World Cup.
“But that campaign,” said Aziz to AIPS, “can happen only if the organization failed to deliver the stadium to FIFA in April.”
The Governor said, however, that “the worst criticism is at the internal level.”
A leading group in street protests had stated it was not against the World Cup but against the government prioritising it over major social I=themes such as health and education.
The new stadium of Manaus, budgeted at $205m and now costing $270m, will be paid in 180 instalments by the state government of Amazonia.
The Federal Development Bank has loaned World Cup states some $3.24bn while the Ministry of Sports in Brasilia’s spending has already reached $10bn, numbers that fill the Brazilian press.
Aziz acknowledged the importance of the presence of AIPS journalists, stating that a vision of independent media is fundamental for the success of this universal event.
A visit by journalists to the arena was followed by a meeting with organisational president Miguel Capobiango, State Secretary of Culture Robério Braga, ManausCult president Bernardo Monteiro de Paula, Manaus Mayor Artur Neto and the governor.
The journalists were also reviewed plans for tourism centres including the Olympic Village, 19th century market, Teatro Amazonas, Encontro das Águas [‘Meeting of the Waters’ and the Paraiso rubber plantation village.
AIPS is the international sports journalists’ association with 10,000 members worldwide. More information: www.AIPSmedia.com