Eduardo Paes, the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, tied his political future to the success of the 2016 Olympics. While people were excited about the Games and the “legacy” it would bring to the city, Paes enjoyed flourishing popularity. But the issues involving the preparations for the Olympics – especially corruption scandals – hurt Paes’s stocks.
The candidate he chose to succeed him lost the mayoral race, and now, the justice system has frozen his assets. Veja magazine broke the information.
Rio’s Prosecution Office has accused Paes of committing actions detrimental to public administration. In 2013, Paes let a construction company build the Olympic Gold Course without paying for its environmental permit.
At the time, the license was worth 1.8 million Brazilian Reals ($530,000). In today’s values, it represents a loss of 2.3 million BRL for the city of Rio.
The judge who ordered to freeze the mayor’s assets explained his reasons. Eduardo Paes has already declared that he intends to live in the United States after the end of his term, on December 31. That would make any prosecuting efforts against him much more challenging.
Problems with the Olympics
Eduardo Paes thought that the Olympics would be his trampoline to political stardom. In fact, it could become the cause of his ruin.
The construction of Olympic sites has occurred at the expense of Rio’s lower-income residents. The city removed thousands of people living in favelas to make room for buildings. Since the 1960s, no other mayor has removed so many people from their homes than Paes.
But he is also quick to justify these removals, saying that he did so only in areas that presented safety risks for residents. “Critics should come over when people start dying because of the rain and landslides,” he says.