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Brazilians like to shrug off the country’s woes by saying that as long as they have football and carnival, everything is fine, or “tudo certo”. Now they have another reason to rejoice: US Olympic swimmers accused of allegedly fabricating a robbery in Rio de Janeiro. They may face charges for lying to officials.
The self-esteem of Cariocas has been boosted, after its shaky level before the opening ceremony, with Brazil experiencing its worst recession on record, Dilma Rousseff about to be impeached, the Zika epidemic, sewage spurting into waterways, and endless stories about street crime.
A police officer was quoted as saying the only thing Ryan Lochte’s group of swimmers has said that was true was that they were drunk. If their version about being robbed at gunpoint after returning from a party is proved true, which seems increasingly unlikely, Brazilians may have to revert to embarrassment.
In any case, the country’s pride won’t be entirely shattered, with many judging the olympiads a delight. Despite the water in a pool turning green, ticketing hurdles, robberies and stray bullets, Brazil may yetwin the gold medal they want above all others: football. Jamaican sprinters and American swimmers broke records.
Venezuela is also breaking records – of misery. Hordes of citizens are fleeing, and the hungry animals at Caracas zoos are being butchered and eaten by even hungrier people. That helps explain the tanking approval ratings of Nicolás Maduro amid a spiralling crisis with no end in sight.
Socialist Maduro may be happy that his capitalist nemesis, Argentina’s Mauricio Macri, is facing a crisis after the Supreme Court overturned residential energy price increases. The hikes had been simultaneously praised as way of closing a fiscal gap left behind by his predecessor and criticised by consumers battling double-digit inflation.
Another critic who may be gloating from the sidelines in tudo certo mood is Evo Morales. Not only did his dream of turning Bolivia into the Saudi Arabia of lithium inch forward after sending the first ever export to China. He also opened an “anti-imperialist” military school to counter, among other things, capitalists.
Ryan Lochte: A champion swimmer caught in a riptide of self-absorption (WaPo)
Colombia’s peace process (El Pais)
Quote of the week
“They made a mistake, they had fun, it’s part of life. Life goes on” - Mario Andrada, the Rio 2016 organising committee spokesman, on the US swimmers affair.
Video of the week
Rio Olympics win over fans
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