South America has been a special part of my life for four decades. I have lived many years in Brasil and Peru. I am married to an incredible lady from Argentina. I want to share South America with you.
Despite the flickering torch, sewage in the bay, late snagging work, political protests, Zika, the arrest of purported terrorists, an Australian TV crew assailed by transvestites and even the brief kidnapping of a sport mogul’s mother-in-law, the Rio Olympics finally kicks offon Friday night. For all its problems, controversies and over-spending, if Brazil’s 2014 World Cup is anything to go by, as a sporting event the Olympics will also likely be a great success.
The intoxicating feeling of being at the center of a world-watched event will descend onhapless Rio de Janeiro. And a semi-dream state will likely envelope the city and perhaps the whole country for a few weeks, as it did with the soccer championship two years ago. Then, when Brazil wakes up again at the end of August, the country will return to its business and the Olympian-sized political drama of Dilma Rousseff’s possible impeachment. First, though, the games.
Elsewhere in much of the region, holiday mode seems to have descended – at least in terms of news. Not so in Venezuela, where the opposition continued its two-steps forward/one step back progress towards a recall referendum that could see President Nicolas Maduro ousted. In an ominous sign, though, Mr Maduro also appointed General Nestor Reverol as his new interior and justice minister. Mr Reverol, the former head of the national guard, was indicted this week in the US on drug-smuggling charges.
Quote of the week
“Keep out of the reach children” - a tongue-in-cheek logo printed on bags of cocaine seized by police this week in Rio.