Brazilians get angry, people actually notice Pam Am games

It would have to take a controversy, however minor, to get people in the United States to notice the fact that the Pam American games start Friday. And, predictably, that controversy has taken the form of a little anti-Americanism.  On Saturday, Rio’s O Globo newspaper ran a front-page picture of a whiteboard in the office ...

600670_070710_congo_05.jpg
600670_070710_congo_05.jpg

It would have to take a controversy, however minor, to get people in the United States to notice the fact that the Pam American games start Friday. And, predictably, that controversy has taken the form of a little anti-Americanism. 

On Saturday, Rio's O Globo newspaper ran a front-page picture of a whiteboard in the office of the American delegation. It read, "Welcome to the Congo!" According to the alleged author of the offensive comment, who was also shown in the photo, he was inspired to write it because "it's really hot in Rio." 

That wasn't a sufficient excuse for the Brazilians, who were swiftly up in arms about being compared to a country not up to their stature. Here's the mayor of Rio:

It would have to take a controversy, however minor, to get people in the United States to notice the fact that the Pam American games start Friday. And, predictably, that controversy has taken the form of a little anti-Americanism. 

On Saturday, Rio’s O Globo newspaper ran a front-page picture of a whiteboard in the office of the American delegation. It read, “Welcome to the Congo!” According to the alleged author of the offensive comment, who was also shown in the photo, he was inspired to write it because “it’s really hot in Rio.” 

That wasn’t a sufficient excuse for the Brazilians, who were swiftly up in arms about being compared to a country not up to their stature. Here’s the mayor of Rio:

The U.S. wants to show it is not an imperial country, and along comes this guy to exacerbate that image.”

Or this letter to the editor published by O Globo:

With respect to your phrase, typical of Americans who have serious problems with world geography, a piece of advice: GO BACK HOME!…You’re not welcome here, or in the Congo either.”

Perhaps it’s best that Brazilians are distracted by the gaffe. That will keep their minds off the fact that their delegation chief is on the record as saying that it’s the country’s goal to finish … third.

Carolyn O'Hara is a senior editor at Foreign Policy.

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