[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The Primate of Brazil has given a warm welcome to the athletes and visitors of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, while criticising the games’ administrators for serious mismanagement. Archbishop Francisco de Assis da Silva said that the Olympic Games “bring together the peoples of the world through healthy competition in several individual and team sports” and provides the opportunity to “encounter, learn, and share the world’s diversity.”
“It is the first time an event of this size has taken place in Brazil,” he said. “And the whole world will be watching our country during the games.
“We know that these are not the best of days for Brazil. The political crisis caused by the coup manoeuvrings against the President of the Republic has divided the country and demonstrations have been frequent.”
He said that the “serious mismanagement” of the construction of the Olympic Village and the very tight security surrounding the games had caused “additional social concerns” arising from popular discontent and additional demonstrations on top of the pre-existing political tensions in the country.
“I ask the Brazilian Anglicans and Anglicans around the world to pray for peace to prevail; and for respect and sportsmanship in this special party of sports,” he said, adding that, in spite of the political tensions, the country should show “respect for the athletes, visitors and all the people” involved with the Olympics.”
Archbishop da Silva said people should live “the festival of sport” while being mature enough to “carry out political criticism” of the organisers who have “made the games a means of exploitation, exclusion and wealth accumulation at the expense of the rights of ordinary people of the city of Rio de Janeiro.