The headache for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games organizers is not going away. Just six weeks before the Games are set to start, and NBC is airing trials in prime time, Francisco Dornelles, the acting governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro, says that the state hasn’t yet received recently-approved federal funds. They need the money to beef up security and transportation, Dornelles told Rio’s O Globo.
“I am optimistic about the games, but I have to show the reality. We can make a great Olympics, but if some steps are not taken, it can be a big failure.“
The budget shortfall adds to the nightmare Brazil is facing leading up to the Games, scheduled to kick off on August 5. Organizers are dealing with real concerns regarding the Zika virus, a doping scandal in which Brazil’s only testing lab was suspended, high crime and political upheaval involving the country’s highest figures.
In the interview, Dornelles said that without the bailout money, the state could only afford to cover the expenses of the police force for just a few more days.
“The police fleet runs the risk of stopping. We managed to stretch the finances and we’ll only last until the end of the week.“
The state’s police officers have not been paid for overtime work for more than six months. Last week, Brazil’s federal government approved the bailout, worth about $850 million.
Without proper security and a completed metro, there would be “difficulties” during the Olympics, Dornelles said.
The city of Rio de Janeiro is largely responsible for the Olympics. But the oil-rich state, which has been hit hard by falling commodity prices, is responsible for certain expenditures such as the metro rail extension that will connect the Olympic facilities to the city center.
Officials have said they are aiming to finish the metro project just four days before the Olympics begin. For months, Brazil has been struggling with its worst recession since the 30s. The country’s economy, the largest in Latin America, shrank 5.4% in the first quarter of this year. Rio’s state government declared a state of emergency earlier this month, prompting the federal bailout. It warned that a lack of funds may lead to
“a total breakdown in public security, health, education, mobility and environmental management.“
And all of this is going to be televised? With Game of Thrones‘ season over, this could be the new real-life epic of the summer.