- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 23, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION

A female Paralympic athlete in a wheelchair was the victim of an attempted robbery last weekend in Rio de Janeiro.

It’s the second time an Olympic athlete was the victim of a crime recently while preparing for the 2016 Summer Olympics in August in Rio.

“I think he said ‘Dinero,’” Liesl Tesch told Australia’s Channel Nine.

Consider it a way to bond with the natives.

Street crime is reportedly rampant in the Olympic city, but we’re talking about bigger crimes than trying to get “dinero” to eat or live.

The true robbery is the one Brazilian officials have committed against their people by signing up for two of the biggest international scams in history – scams that can cripple a country – the World Cup and the Olympics.

The real victims of crime in the Olympic host country are the generations who haven’t been born yet that are going to be paying the debt for the corrupt and self-indulgent government officials who committed this South American country to financial ruin.

If you happen to be in Rio for the games in August – if they take place as scheduled – you’ll hear “dinero” a lot.

A few years ago, Brazil was a rising star in the world economy, the flagship nation of an emerging South America. Its economy had risen to the seventh largest in the world. But that wasn’t enough. They wanted more. So, they reached out to basically Michael Corleone and Tony Soprano for help – FIFA, the international governing body of soccer, and the International Olympic Committee.

You know, the Olympics by itself can take a country’s economy down. See Greece, 2004. But to double up and get into bed with FIFA to host the 2014 World Cup and then the IOC two years later with the 2016 Summer Olympics is to dig a grave for a country on the rise that will take decades to emerge from.

We are a long way from 2009, when Rio beat out Chicago for the 2016 Olympic bid.

When they received the news in Rio, people danced in the streets, and government officials declared a holiday for their workers.

They should be dancing in the streets of Chicago today.

“Today is the most emotional day in my life, the most exciting day of my life,” President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil told reporters when they got the news Rio would host the 2016 Summer Olympics. “I’ve never felt more pride in Brazil. Now, we are going to show the world we can be a great country. We aren’t the United States, but we are getting there, and we will get there.”

Instead, the country, following these commitments to FIFA and the IOC, is in its worst recession in nearly 80 years.

The Rio state government this week declared a state of “public calamity” and said extreme economic measures would be needed for the games to take place in August.

In other words, “stick ‘em up.”

This is a new one, even by Olympic standards. Usually governments don’t declare “public calamity” until after the games.

Without more money, government officials said they are facing a “total collapse in public safety, health, education, transport and environmental management.”

I think that should be the new Olympic motto.

The government has reportedly committed $10 billion to Olympic venues and infrastructure for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Again, the parents of the children who will be paying that $10 billion bill haven’t even been born yet.

That bill gets tacked onto the $3 billion the country spent to host the 2014 World Cup, which included building many new stadiums – 12 in all, one of which a $300 million stadium in the middle of the Amazon — that now serve as giant flower pots, rarely used and already falling into disrepair.

Maybe they can serve as makeshift hospitals.

On top of all this, there is the very real threat of sickness from the Zika virus.

In March, a group of 125 prominent scientists, doctors and medical ethicists issued a letter calling for this summer’s Olympic Games to be postponed or moved from Rio de Janeiro due to the ongoing Zika virus outbreak in Brazil.

“That while Zika’s risk to any single individual is low, the risk to a population is undeniably high,” the letter stated. “Currently, Brazil’s government reports 120,000 probable Zika cases, and 1,300 confirmed cases of microcephaly (with another 3,300 under investigation), which is above the historical level of microcephaly.”

That could be a problem in Rio, where in April the president of the doctors’ union, Jorge Darze, told the newspaper Estadao after the governor declared a state of emergency in the health department, “We ask people who are coming to Rio please not to get sick.”

The virus that has infected Brazil the worst is not Zika. It is the double whammy of FIFA and the IOC spreading the disease of corruption wherever they set up shop.

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