Brazil Authorities Prepare Citizens For Potential Terror Threat During Olympics
Brazilians' relaxed attitude to external threats "is alarming the country’s authorities, who are concerned that this year’s Olympic Games could attract not only the world’s leading athletes to Rio de Janeiro but its terrorists too," according to Joe Leahy of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Admiral Ademir Sobrinho, chair of the joint chiefs of staff of the Brazilian armed forces, said, "People really don’t have this awareness because we have never had a terrorist attack in Brazil. For this reason, we are training people, principally those who will deal directly with foreigners in Brazil, in how to detect signs of suspicious activity." Terrorism "is therefore likely to be the greatest security threat posed by the games." The "city’s chaotic geography, where slums known as favelas are clustered on steep hills overlooking middle-class neighbourhoods, adds to the complexity of the problem." Arthur Maia, a member of Congress and author of Brazil's first terrorism law, said, "Clearly, any country that is going to host the Olympics, just by the history of the games, will transform itself into a potential terrorist target." Abin, Brazil’s intelligence agency, "has also said there are no specific threats to the country." But "it recently warned Islamic State militants were attempting to recruit Brazilians, making contact in Portuguese through the Telegram messaging app." Rio Olympics Organizing Committee CEO Sidney Levy said that "the financial problems" would not affect the security. Responding to a warning from the acting Rio governor that the Olympics could be a "big failure" and that police patrols might be suspended for lack of funds, Levy said the governor was "trying to get the best for Rio." He said, "The Games are a big stage, so it is used by people to ask for things, to claim things, to protest, to defend, attack. He is using the Olympic platform to get funds to run the state" (FT, 6/28).