Brazil’s interim President Michel Temer has guaranteed that the city will stage a successful Olympic Games and assured international visitors that it will welcome them “with open arms”.
In an official statement released on Wednesday, Temer said controversy surrounding pollution, tropical disease, public safety and infrastructure concerns has been overcome, reports Xinhua news agency.
“Brazil is ready to receive all of the visitors who will be enjoying the pleasure of watching the world’s elite international sports athletes compete,” Temer said. “And, surely, we will have a great deal to show the five billion viewers from around the world who will be watching the Games as well. Brazil awaits you with open arms.”
Temer pointed to Rio’s successful track record of hosting recent major sports events as proof the city is ready to cope with an estimated 5,00,000 international visitors.
“This will not be Brazil’s first opportunity to show the world its capacity for organisation, and to welcome visitors warmly to a secure environment,” Temer said. “Over the past few years, our country has developed an expertise in hosting mega-events on an international scale.
“We hosted the World Cup, the Pan-American Games, the World Military Games, World Youth Day and the Confederations Cup — all unanimous successes, which we conducted in a spirit of excellence, dedication and with the characteristic Brazilian love for life. And now, another success is on its way.”
Brazil is suffering its deepest economic recession in decades amid a sprawling corruption scandal at state-run oil company Petrobras.
The country has also been engulfed by a political crisis following the suspension of President Dilma Rousseff pending an impeachment trial. A verdict on whether she broke budget rules before her 2014 re-election is expected to be given shortly after the Olympics.
Despite the turbulence, Temer said Brazil remained an attractive place to invest, and predicted the Olympics would prove the country is on the road to recovery.
“The Games will show the world one of the major global economies at work in a mature democracy: a country with great business potential that at the same time has set the standard for policies to fight inequality,” Temer said.
“Rio de Janeiro is expected to receive hundreds of thousands of visitors from Brazil and abroad during the Games, while the five “Football Cities” – Sao Paulo, Salvador, Manaus, Brasília and Belo Horizonte – will also find themselves inundated with local and foreign fans.
“Hosting events on this scale represents both a momentous accomplishment for the Brazilian people and a source of immense national pride. It should be emphasised that 60 per cent, $2.18 billion, of the total investment in the Olympic facilities were financed by the private sector. These resources and efforts will remain as legacies to the entire country.”
Temer added that 85,000 security personal would ensure the Games “take place in an atmosphere of absolute peace and tranquility.”