If you invite people to a party and tell them there will be champagne, caviar, limousines to take them there and back, and a pool in which to frolic, you can’t celebrate how great the party was if you make them take the bus and then offer them warm Coke and a bag of crisps.
That’s a bit like what Brazil is doing following the success of the 2014 World Cup.
It was also down, as I predicted here last December, to the warm and welcoming atmosphere offered by the host nation.
Many predicted a general administrative and organisational debacle and that never happened.
But to celebrate Brazil’s handling of the event without mentioning the broken promises is too much.
This was a golden opportunity for Brazil to add the infrastructure it badly needs. But half the public transportation projects they promised were not completed and many of them never will be.
Some of the airports they were going to build were not ready and at least four of the stadiums will be white elephants. Almost all were built with public money and are being handed over to private enterprise to profit from.
Two viaducts fell down because they were so badly constructed or rushed, and two people were killed. Another eight died while rushing to finish the stadiums, almost all of which were delivered behind schedule and over budget.
The government also repeated over and over they would respect the right to peaceful protest but they did not. They cracked down on any opposition groups and even rounded people up preemptively on the flimsiest of pretexts the night before the final.
Brazil deserves credit for pulling off a successful World Cup.
But we must not lose sight of the fact that success is down to constantly reduced expectations. (See this great piece about Brazil’s national trait of promising a lot and delivering a little.)
Much of what we were promised was not delivered. And much of what we were told was lies.