Rio de Janeiro’s acting governor: Olympics could be a ‘big failure’

(CNN) The headache for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games organizers shows no signs of subsiding.

Six weeks before the Games are set to begin, Francisco Dornelles, the acting governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro, told the Brazilian newspaper O Globo that the state has not yet received recently-approved federal funds to beef up security and transportation for the quadrennial competition.
“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,” Dornelles told O Globo.
The budget shortfall adds to the “perfect storm” Brazil is facing leading up to the Games, due to kick off on August 5. Organizers are dealing with 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 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,” Dornelles said.
The state’s police officers have not been paid for overtime work for more than six months.
Brazil’s federal government approved the bailout, worth about $850 million (2.9 billion reals), last week.

Cutting it close

Without proper security and a completed metro, there would be “difficulties” during the Olympics, Dornelles said.
The city of Rio de Janeiro — not the state — 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 previously said they are aiming to finish the metro project just four days before the Olympics begin.
The Rio de Janeiro 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.”
For months, Brazil has been struggling with its worst recession since the 1930s. The country’s economy, the largest in Latin America, shrank 5.4% in the first quarter of this year, according to government figures.

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