Brazil and 2014 FIFA World Cup in the eyes of Belarusian (video)

The world’s attention is locked on Brazil. These days the biggest country in South America is hosting the FIFA World Cup. The streets are full of tourists … and protesters. The latter are not always peaceful. Why? With a view to undersand Brazil better ‘In Focus’ has met with an unusual family.

Volha, a Belarusian girl from the city of Navapolatsk, have been living in Salvador, the capital of state Bahia for two years. She is married to Brazilian Paterson Franco who is Belarusian at heart. Volha and Paterson needn’t go somewhere to see a match – football has come to their city: arena ‘New Source’ is a venue for games taking place in Salvador. This football ground is a symbol of changes brought by the championship. Four years ago the venue was to have been restored but due to lack of money the original stadium was knocked down. A new one was built, but people can only watch football matches here. Earlier there was a youth sports centre.

English subs:

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VOLHA and PATERSON, Belarusian-Brazilian family:

‘There were tennis courts, a swimming-pool, a volleyball field, a sports school and many other things. There is nothing but a stadium here now.’

‘For example, I learnt to swim there. For free.’

Local residents say that corruption practices flourishing throughout Brazil also affected the construction of the arena. Brazil’s economy is ranked 7th in the world but life is difficult here.


‘There is a great deal of deep problems that are really beyond Belarusians’ dreams. A lot of people have nothing to eat, either house or home.’

Millions of Brazilians dwell in favelas, self-built settlements. They can’t boast of cleanness and order, criminals and drug-dealers often rule here. In the run-up of the Championship the authorities and army have put these areas to rights a bit, but social problems have hardly been tackled yet.

BRUNO QUROIZ, protester:

‘Brazil needs basic infrastructure, education, hospitals, schools. The authorities state they don’t have money enough but they have found some for the Championship.’

Football in Brazil is not just a feast, it’s a sort of religion. During football matches official institutions are closed; instead of going to work and studying people watch games and shout for their favourite teams. But these days Brazilians are feeling angry with their government and FIFA. The latter was also implicated in corruption scandals.

NESTOR BIZE, a protester:

‘We live in poverty here and FIFA is organising such event. It hasn’t paid a cent!’

In the course of such ‘football’ protests resentful Brazilians sometimes attack banks and shops, which doesn’t promote their welfare but demonstrates their outrage. In this case the police get involved, rubber bullets and tear gas are used. But peaceful protests are also not uncommon.

PATERSON FRANCO, Volha’s husband:

‘People seem to care not only about football but about politics and other issues, too.’

But when the football season is over the life in Brazil might get back on track.

Martsin Yarski, In Focus

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