MARIA LUISA MENDONÇA, marialuisam222 at gmail.com
Mendonça is director of Brazil’s Network for Social Justice and Human Rights and professor in the international relations department at the University of Rio De Janeiro.
She has recently arrived in the U.S. from Brazil. Mendonça said today: “The Brazilian people are happy about having the World Cup, but hate FIFA. The way it works is detrimental to the host country in a number of ways. It compels the country to change laws about who has access to the stadiums, with corporate sponsors controlling much of the process. It’s often not regular fans who are able to see the World Cup games in the stadiums, but a tiny elite. It’s been a similar pattern in South Africa and elsewhere.
“People thought there would be infrastructure, like subways, built as a result of the World Cup, but instead, FIFA compels Brazil to build huge stadiums with a capacity of 50,000 in areas where local teams will not be able to draw more than 5,000 people.
“Some of the most interesting things we’ve seen are outside the stadiums, including protests for improving health care, education, transportation. Instead we’re seeing severe state repression, including activists being arrested just before the games.”
JONATHAN KUTTAB, jonathankuttab at gmail.com
MARIABRUNA JENNINGS, mariabruna at gwmail.gwu.edu
Now in the Washington, D.C. area, Kuttab is founder of the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq and also a co-founder of Nonviolence International, which recently put out a 45-page report “Report: Israel Hinders Football in Occupied Palestine” with the Palestine Football Association. Jennings is author of the report and is a student at George Washington University in international affairs and history. Kuttab edited the report. They were featured on the recent IPA news release “Could FIFA Suspend Israel?“