An angry taxi driver. Rio 2016

“I haven’t seen anything. Maybe the economy has increased for the politicians, but not for the people. The government needs to put more money into health and education! Where does this money go? Something happens to this money.”

Maracana

Taxi driver in Rio de Janeiro

This is what the taxi driver said to me when when I asked him if his standard of living had improved as a result of the then growing economy, if the economic boom had positively benefited him.

He’d picked me up from the Maracanã on an oppressively hot afternoon four years ago and as we drove away from the stadium into Rio’s snarled traffic he pointed to a canal that we were driving alongside and said each summer during the rainy season it overflowed, flooding the surrounding streets with sewage. He also questioned why the government had prioritised the rebuilding of a stadium over schools and hospitals. He told me how angry he was that the government was spending valuable money on rebuilding a stadium that had only been rebuilt five years beforehand, for the 2007 Pan American Games and that each time he saw the stadium he was reminded of his government’s failures.

This reaction, more than the stadium itself, is what sticks in my mind

I wonder how he feels now in 2016…

 

© Raphael Schutzer-Weissmann

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