Brazil on Monday went to host the upcoming Copa America football tournament, despite suffering one of the worst coronavirus crises in the world and facing the looming third wave of the disease. .
The competition – which has been in full swing for the past year – will begin in the coming weeks.
“The oldest national team in the world will rock the entire continent,” tweeted Conmebol, the South American football federation, thanking Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro for his “immediate support ”for competition.
Latin America and the Caribbean are one of the worst regions in the world by Covid-19, with more than 1m killed The region accounts for 30 percent of all the world’s deaths from the pandemic.
In Brazil alone, more than 460,000 citizens died, the second highest in the world in total after the US. In per capita figures, the country ranks eighth.
Brazil’s decision to host the tournament has drawn ridicule and contempt from groups and politicians, with many suggesting that the spread of the coronavirus will worsen and compare it to the upcoming Tokyo Olympics causing concern in Japan.
“Is Bolsonaro serious? Amid the pandemic, the arrival of the third wave, the risk of a lack of beds and supplies and a slow vaccination? Incredible, ”said Gleisi Hoffmann, the leader of the opposition Workers party.
Paulo Câmara, the governor of the northeastern state of Pernambuco, said the state would not allow any games to be held there.
Despite enduring a fierce second wave months ago, scientists and doctors in most Latin American countries are already sounding the alarm over a potential fresh rise in the decline in cases. which stopped. The seven-day average of daily new cases returned to more than 61,000 on Sunday, up from 56,000 a month ago.
Meanwhile, neighboring Argentina, is in the midst of a second wave.
“In many cases, we cannot continue to organize a championship like this,” said Santiago Cafiero, the chief cabinet of the Argentine government. “We were committed to organizing it. We tried to keep our promise, but the epidemiological reality held us back.”
About 70 percent of Argentines are opposed to promoting the tournament in the country, according to a poll by Poliarquia
In Colombia, President Iván Duque asked Conmebol to postpone the tournament until November due to ongoing protests against his government. Some of the matches have to be played in town Cali, which became the center of protests.
Conmebol declined and said it would look for an alternative venue.
The hosting of the Copa America is usually chosen by alphabetical order, although there have been many changes to the format of the tournament in its 105-year history. The tournament was last hosted – and won – in Brazil in 2019.
Further reporting by Carolina Pulice