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LatAm Minute: Juliana Barbassa on What the Olympics Mean for Brazil

Rio de Janeiro's Olympic park in 2014

The foundations of Rio de Janeiro's Olympic Park in 2014. (Renato Sette Camara/Divulgação EOM)

August 03, 2015

"People are going to see a different country." @jbarbassa on Brazil's changes ahead of #Rio2016.
"There's an ambivalence now about these big events [&] welcoming the world at this moment." @jbarbassa #Rio2016
#Rio2016 Games will in all likelihood be beautiful. But questions about responsible governance will remain.

Things have changed since Brazil won its bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. The country, which was celebrating major oil reserve discoveries and fast GDP growth in October 2009 when it won the bid, now faces a recession and low approval ratings for the government.

The same is true for Rio de Janeiro. One year before the opening ceremonies on August 5, 2016, the city is dealing with unkept promises such as environmental degradation and high costs of constructing the venues.

In the newly released Dancing with the Devil in the City of God: Rio de Janeiro on the Brink, Brazilian journalist Juliana Barbassa tells of returning home to a rapidly evolving city. AS/COA Online spoke with Barbassa about her book and how Rio—and Brazil as a whole—are changing.

"We are going through these tremendous growing pains, but I think that the overall direction is good," said Barbassa. "It’s not going to be immediate; it’s not going to be the next year or the year after. But I think we are becoming a better country through this."

Infographic: How Much Will Rio's 2016 Summer Olympics Cost?