Lula Tells Brazil Is Ready to Host Olympics While Rio Endures Daily Blackouts

Blackout in Rio Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva told reporters on Thursday, November 26, that Rio de Janeiro is ready to put on the 2016 Olympic Games. "We will stage the best Olympic Games ever done. Brazil has material, economic, and sporting conditions and we are ready to host enviable Olympics," he remarked.

Lula also said that Brazil owns "the best electric system of the world," which eliminates any risk of blackout during the 2016 Games in Rio.

The Brazilian leader called the big blackout of two weeks ago, which left about 70 million Brazilians in 18 states without electricity, an unforeseen event that didn't depend on the human will.

"What happened to the Brazilian energetic sector wasn't  a failure of transmission or generation, it was an incident. We have to find the causes and fix the possible damages caused to the system," said the president.

For him, a case of blackout is not going to jeopardize Brazil's preparation for the Olympics. And he compared the power failure to flying: "You don't stop traveling just because a plane falls," he concluded.

Despite the presidential assurances once again Rio has been enduring serious blackouts and officials remain unclear what is causing the problem. Higher-scale Rio de Janeiro beach neighborhood earlier in the week suffered outages forcing employees to be sent home as restaurants and other businesses disposed of spoiled food.

Since the massive blackout of November 10 that hit the whole country, Cariocas (Rio residents) have had power failure six times starting on November 12 when parts of Copacabana, Ipanema and Arpoador were left in the dark.

And then the power failures became a daily event starting on November 23 (light was cut for "security reasons" in Leblon, Ipanema and Lagoa) and continuing on November 24 (blackout in Leblon and Ipanema – south side and also on the North side: Duque de Caxias and Baixada Fluminense), November 25 (residents from Gávea, Duque de Caxias and Baixada Fluminense left without electricity), November 26 (four Rio neighborhood continued without electricity due to rains of the previous day) and November 27 when Leblon residents once again couldn't use their appliances.

It was a sweltering 39 degrees Celsius (102.2 degrees Fahrenheit) when one of the blackouts hit, forcing residents and tourists to endure the summer heat while out on the beaches.

Brazilian energy regulators plan on opening an official investigation sometime next week, as the country aims to prevent additional blackouts from taking place in the future.

Before the most recent major power outage, government officials denied a cyber attack was responsible for several incidents in 2005 and 2007.

The blackout on November 10 reportedly occurred due to a power station short circuit, leading to the largest hydroelectric dam, Itaipu, temporarily cutting off service.

But no official investigation has been made public yet, as has been promised by the Lula administration.

Rio de Janeiro was recently given the rights to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games though some onlookers are concerned the country may not have the necessary infrastructure to support such a large influx of international visitors.

Officials are working with the city and country to develop some type of fail-safe plan, including a power island able to serve as a reliable power source during the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

Bzz/MP

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