Home | Global News | Did Brazil’s Poor Protesting Painful World Cup Capitalism Affect Its Team’s Morale?

Did Brazil’s Poor Protesting Painful World Cup Capitalism Affect Its Team’s Morale?


By Jay Janson

17 July, 2014
Countercurrents.org

Did Brazil putting the World Cup above improvements in the lives of its poor ultimately affect its team’s morale? Organized poor have elected socialist presidents in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Uruguay Nicaragua Cuba Paraguay Chile Guatemala, Guiana, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Honduras. Asking Maradona to again raise his voice against injustice murderously emanating from a Wall St. center of plundering First World power

Brazil lost so badly, 7-1, in the World Cup Semifinals. The soccer world was left dumbfounded.

Did witnessing massive protests and violent demonstrations against a government prioritizing mega enormous investment (estimated as high as around 14,000,000,000 in US$ [1]), to host  the World Cup in splendor, over investment in the health, well-being and happiness of its suffering working class poor, eventually cause some subtle lowering of morale, confidence, self-esteem, team spirit, enthusiasm, among members of its national team? – perhaps increasing the  pressure before that final with Germany?

Did Brazil putting the World Cup above improvements in the lives of Its poor ultimately affect its team’s morale?
No one can say for sure. But even as long ago as the year before, at opening ceremony of the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup staged in Brazil, there were demonstrations organized by people unhappy with the amount of public money being spent to enable the hosting of the FIFA World Cup. Both  Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and FIFA president Sepp Blatter were heavily booed as they were announced to give their speeches, [2] which probably led to FIFA announcing that the 2014 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony would not feature any speeches.Anti-government protests fueled in part by anger over the billions spent to host the World Cup took over streets in cities across Brazil during the Confederations Cup,  Several protests saw violent clashes between police and demonstrators.

Then for many months before the 2014 World Cup event, people all over the world were watching videos of violent protests in Brazilian cities. In Brazil itself the video coverage on TV and photos in newspapers must have a much greater impact.

In March, three months before the World Cup games: Industrial Workers of the World’s Revolution-News.com ran a long article with disturbing photos titled: “Brazil: “Pacification” Unleashes Terror On Favelas, Aims to Silence Anti-Capitalist Social Movements”[3] Everyone in Brazil must have known what was happening.

A week before the World Cup opening 4,000 protesters marched peacefully on Itaquerão stadium, calling on the government to provide more low-income housing. The demonstrators made their way down a main thoroughfare in eastern São Paulo holding aloft banners and blocking traffic. The Homeless Workers Movement organized the march.[4]   A few days before World Cup opening, a dozen buses were set on fire overnight in Sao Paulo.

Could it not have been unsettling for the members of Brazil’s national team to see the World Cup denounced with just possibly for some good reasons, while at the same time they were feeling the pressure of great attention as the favorite team to win the world championship?

There are, after all, examples of great soccer stars taking social iniquities very seriously to heart.  Last year during an interview in Dubai, Diego Maradonna commented while being asked his opinion of the new Pope, “”Si el Vaticano vende toda la fortuna que tiene se acaba el hambre en el mundo”. (If the Vatican sold all its fortune it could end hunger in the world.”) And referring to the passing of 1976 coup leader General Videla, a convicted murderer of thousands, Maradonna, bitterly quipped, that the best comment he heard about Videla’s death was “that he not rest in peace.”  Previous world number one soccer star, Pelé was once investigated by that Brazilian military dictatorship for suspected leftist sympathies.

Romário de Souza Faria, known simply as Romário is regarded as one of the greatest forwards of all time.  He helped Brazil win the 1994 FIFA World Cup, receiving the Golden Ball as player of the tournament, was named FIFA World Player of the Year, and came fifth in the FIFA Player of the Century internet poll in 1999.  Romário, now a member of the Parliament, has dubbed the World Cup 2014 as the “biggest theft in history”, and that its real cost would be over R$ 100 billion (US$ 46 billion).

“World Cup has wreaked absolute havoc on the Brazilian landscape. Over 250,000 Brazilians have been displaced and their neighborhoods (usually poor communities known as favelas) destroyed by the preparations for the World Cup. FIFA has done the impossible: they have made Brazilians hate soccer. But as Brazilians’ anti-government protests over the past few years have shown, this is about much more than soccer.” [Quoting from The American Conservative, 6/12/2014, Crony Capitalism Kicks Off the World Cup, by C. Addington]

As the World Cup matches began, images of violent demonstrations like those copied below, by Associated Press and Getty were going around the world and must have had some startling, unnerving, if not saddening, effect on both fans and players, but just possibly especially on the players of the team hailed as the favorite to win the championship. [5] –Protesters and Brazilian police continued to clash in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and at least three other World Cup cities Thursday. [5]

–A police officer stands next to a destroyed police car during a violent demonstration at the 2014 soccer World Cup in the center of Belo Horizonte , Brazil, Thursday, June 12, 2014. [5]

–A demonstrator protest while wearing a mask with the face of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff and that reads in Portuguese, “Go to see the game, You fool”, during a march against the FIFA 2014 soccer World Cup, at Copacabana beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, June 12, 2014. [5]

–on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, soccer fan and anti-World Cup protestors yell at each other at a restaurant that was showing the game between Brazil and Croatia.[5]

–Police move past burning debris during a World Cup protest outside Carrao Metro Station on June 12,  in Sao Paulo, Brazil. [5]–
Protestors hold up signs during an anti-World Cup demonstration in the Copacabana section on June 12, in Rio de Janeiro,

–Police fire non-lethal rounds at protestors during a World Cup protest outside Carrao Metro Station on June 12, 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. [5]

On the forth day of Cup, during the beginning of the soccer game between Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina, Associated Press reported, “Brazilian policemen shoot live rounds during anti-World Cup protests”  Some demonstrators tried to block traffic, but police repeatedly pushed them back, firing canisters of tear gas and using stun grenades. A few protesters suffered injuries after being hit by rubber bullets. Before the violence broke out, the protesters marched through streets and chanted “FIFA, go back to Switzerland,” referring to international soccer’s governing organization. The protesters are angry over the lavish public spending on stadiums for the World Cup while conditions in Brazil’s schools and hospitals remain woeful. [6]

Might all this protesting have been of some distraction from what should be every soccer player’s dream, playing in the World Cup with the desire to win and fulfill the expectation of the Brazilian nation? For members of Brazil’s national team enjoying quite a high level of prestige, it would be natural to feel that the whole nation is like one’s own huge family, in this case a family no longer united, and also aware that many fans among the poorest segment of Brazilian society were being turned off because soccer games producing wealth for the already wealthy are being placed above the safety and chance for happiness of a multitude of their children.

On the other hand, the German team was aware their whole nation was cheering them on without reservation.  The estimated population of Germany is 88,700,000.   Maybe a similar number of Brazilians out of a Brazilian population of 201,000,000 had been made aware of the detrimental effect on their lives the World Cup mammoth expenditure was having.  Around a quarter of a million citizens had been removed from their homes and saw them destroyed for constructions for the World Cup.
Did realizing that their country was putting huge investment in the World Cup above the health of its poor get into the hearts, minds and subconscious of the members of Brazil’s national soccer team as they faced a German team with 100% support of a nation enjoying national health insurance, free and subsidized secondary education, unemployment benefits and two week vacations?

Did Brazil in putting World Cup above health of Its poor, or the wishes of approximately a third of its citizens, ultimately affect its Team’s Morale?  No one can say for sure.

But cognitive scientists believe ‘moral imperative’ is a principle originating inside a person’s mind that compels the person to act. The great German philosopher Immanuel Kant took the moral imperative to be a dictate of pure reason, in its practical aspect. Not following moral law is contrary to reason and thus ultimately self-defeating.  The experience of conscience is the basic experience of encountering the right thing to do. Conversely can be the experience of being involved in something not quite right.

In any case, yours truly and many people I know would indeed have been psychologically affected if we felt we were in even in some remote way participating in a social injustice causing event that meant suffering for so many of our fans and their kids.

Although most all Brazilians seem to have been stunned by their World Cup team’s humiliating semi-final 7-1 loss, a lot of those who protested must now be hoping that their government’s embarrassment will help the now large and growing movement demanding social justice from the wealthy who control the Brazilian government.

Such public sentiment among the massive segment of the poor throughout most of Latin America, for centuries exploited for their labor, has already brought the election of socialist presidents in neighboring Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Uruguay and for a while in Paraguay and Chile. Nicaragua and Cuba and once upon one time or another Guatemala, Guiana, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras had socialists as their popular elected presidents and we might include Brazil itself during the short time just before the US sponsored coup that overthrew President João Goulart in 1964.

In April 2013, Maradona visited the tomb of Hugo Chávez and urged Venezuelans to elect the late leader’s designated successor, Nicolás Maduro, to continue the socialist leader’s legacy; “Continue the struggle,” Maradona said on television. Wearing a red shirt with his trademark number 10, Maradona attended Maduro’s final campaign rally in Caracas, signing footballs and kicking them to the crowd.

Whether or not lowered morale had anything to due with the really strange whipping the team of soccer famed Brazil took in the semifinal of the 2014 World Cup, the violent protests before and during the games reminded us of how many Olympics as well, have ridden roughshod over normal aspirations of a large part of humanity. The massacre of protesting students during the 2000 Olympics in Mexico comes to mind. It would be great if Maradona would raise his voice once more about economic and political justice in a world ever more murderously dominated by a US – European axis run from the Wall Street center of plundering First World power.

Better yet, if Maradona could inspire a couple hundred soccer stars to come out against, not only capital gains for the rich via FIFA World Cup, but in favor of the creation of special courts to try, not just stooge presidents like the mentally challenged president, Bush junior, Maradona expressed hated for, but everyone responsible for neocolonial bombings, invasions, occupations and covert violence, which of course has gone on simultaneously with the games of World Cup 2014. Two hundred Marado nas would certainly stimulate another two hundred baseball, football, basketball, hockey and track and field athletes to speak out, and in turn cause celebrities in all walks of life to chime-in in favor of prosecution of the obvious and indefensible crimes against humanity of US-NATO over six decades, and demand the compensation, indemnity and reparations for the tens of millions of survivors that would make investment in genocide unprofitable.

Then Brazil’s 7-1 loss could be redemptive beyond the sound of more than five billion brothers and sisters soon to be freed from genocidal neocolonial exploitation joyfully sing-shouting GO-O-O-O-O-OAL.

Could someone get this request to our wonderfully outspoken champion of a world of honesty that will soon replace our present world of lies and homicide once economic power has shifted away from savagely  plundering Europe and its descendant nations.

Jay Janson is an archival research peoples historian activist, musician and writer; has lived and worked on all continents; articles on media published in China, Italy, UK, India and the US; now resides in NYC; First effort was a series of articles on deadly cultural pollution endangering seven areas of life emanating from Western corporate owned commercial media published in Hong Kong’s Window Magazine 1993; Howard Zinn lent his name to various projects of his; Global Research; Information Clearing House; Counter Currents, Kerala, India; Minority Perspective, UK; Dissident Voice, Ta Kung Pao; Uruknet; Voice of Detroit; Mathaba; Ethiopian Review; Palestine Chronicle; India Times; MalaysiaSun; China Daily; South China Morning Post; Come Home America; CubaNews; TurkishNews; HistoryNews Network; Vermont Citizen News have  published his articles; 300  of which are available at: clickhttp://www.opednews.com/author/author1723.html   ; Weekly column, South China Morning Post, 1986-87; reviews for Ta Kung Bao; article China Daily, 1989.  Is coordinator of the Howard Zinn co-founded  King Condemned US Wars International Awareness Campaign : (King Condemned US Wars) http://kingcondemneduswars.blogspot.com/   and website historian of the Ramsey Clark co-founded  Prosecute US Crimes Against Humanity Now Campaignhttp://prosecuteuscrimesagainsthumanitynow.blogspot.com/  featuring a country by country history of US crimes and laws pertaining.

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