Dilma Rousseff, the president of Brazil, believes the world shouldn’t worry about Brazil’s readiness to host the World Cup. She brushed aside concerns over delays in preparations for the 2014 World Cup, insisting that all stadiums would be ready in time for the tournament.
Practically all the works which were to have been carried out in the 12 stadiums across Brazil have run into delays, with some struggling to meet FIFA construction deadlines.
But Rousseff insisted: “We have stadiums which are still being built and these must be ready by December 2013 to be in an extremely calm and comfortable situation. There are others which are a little more delayed but all will be ready.
“I feel confident that Brazil will be ready in 2014 to present the best World Cup. We (the government) together with the governors and the mayors of the cities of the World Cup are taking all necessary measures to ensure that this will happen.”
The Confederations Cup takes place in Brazil in June 2013 and will act as a warm-up for the World Cup requiring that most of the infrastructure for 2014 be in place.
FIFA had expressed their concern over delays but gave the organizers a vote of confidence at the end of June, after the previous month announcing that two stadiums, São Paulo and Natal, would not be ready to host Confederations Cup matches.
Work has recently begun on the São Paulo stadium, which should host the opening World Cup games but building has not started at Natal Stadium in the country’s northeast.
As well as sporting infrastructure, Brazil will need to spend over US$ 11.4 billion on improving roads, hotels, security, and telecommunication network and airport capacity.
Rousseff has also been busy trying to deal with several cases of corruption in her administration. She just ordered a “cleanup and fumigation” in the Agriculture ministry following claims of lobbyism and suspended all tenders at the Ministry of Transport where the minister and his top staff resigned because of corruption charges.
Presidential close aides said Agriculture Minister Wagner Rossi – who is now the target of several charges of corruption – was instructed to purge and clean up the ministry following the ousting of his Deputy over the week end on claims of irregularities including claims a lobbyist had his own office next to that of the sacked official.
President Rousseff has lost four ministers in her seven month administration; ex-cabinet Chief Antonio Palocci for alleged illegal enrichment; Transport minister Alfredo Nascimento; Defense minister Nelson Jobim for derogatory remarks about some of his colleagues in a magazine interview; Deputy Minister of Tourism Frederico Silva Costa together with 38 officials, (most of them in custody) and now the Deputy Agriculture minister.
The situation of Agriculture minister Rossi and Tourism minister Pedro Novaes is not clear yet and they could still be forced to step down.
The Brazilian president’s approval ratings have dropped six percentage points, from 73% to 67% in a month according to a public opinion poll from Ibope released this week.
The poll was concluded July 31 in the midst of the Transport ministry corruption scandal allegedly for skimming a percentage of all contracts tendered.
The approval of Ms Rousseff’s administration was also down from 56% to 48% compared to the previous poll from March.
All the officials involved belong mainly to PMDB, President Rousseff’s main ally in the ruling coalition of twelve parties. PMDB responds to vice president Michel Temer who has full control of the federal Senate, sufficient benches in the Lower House to block legislation and several important governorships.
In related news President Rousseff called on the congressional coalition to support the government in implementing emergency measures and pruning the budget in the wake of the financial crises in Europe and the US.
She made the appeal in a meeting of the Political Council that brings together the leaders of the twelve parties ruling coalition.
The Brazilian president appealed to the “maturity” and responsibility of the parties putting as an example of the temptations to avoid the recent divide between ruling Democrats and Republicans during the US debt ceiling debate.