Brazil's Presidential Chief of Staff, Eliseu Padilha, said this Thursday (18 August) that the high rates of satisfaction among Brazilian and foreign tourists who came to watch the Games (in a survey conducted by the Ministry of Tourism) are proof of the success of the event. "The Olympics are a great success, and so will be the Paralympics," said Padilha, confirming that the Paralympic Games will begin on 7 September in Rio.
During an interview at the Rio Media Center, the minister informed that the issue regarding the transfer of resources needed to hold the Paralympics has been resolved, and that this will be announced on Friday (19 August) by the International Paralympic Committee. According to Padilha, the federal government has made an effort with federal companies to raise R$ 100 million for the event, while Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes committed to transfer an additional R$ 150 million.
Padilha celebrated the high rates of visitors’ intentions to return to Rio de Janeiro found in the survey conducted by the Ministry of Tourism during the Games - 87.7% among foreigners and 94.2% among Brazilians. "Naysayers said it would be a disaster, that the Zika virus would drive tourists away from Brazil, that there was danger of terrorism and that the infrastructure would not be ready in time, but the Brazilian people have given an example of resilience, creativity and harmony. We want the Paralympics to be as successful as the Olympics. And they will be," he said.
On the episode involving four athletes of the US swim team, Padilha explained that the Ministry of Justice is informing Brazilian society and the world about what actually happened. "Instead of harming Brazil's image, I think this is likely to improve it, since what was reported was not true," he said.
Regarding the next great challenges facing Brazil, the Presidential Chief of Staff highlighted that the priorities are to contain the growth of public debt and reform the pension system. "We have an economic dream team, coordinated by Minister Meirelles, who has proposed to freeze federal government expenditure for ten years to contain the expansion of public debt," Padilha said.
On pension reform, the Minister said it was "obvious" that the sector's deficit needs to be contained. "And the ones to benefit the most from this are not the government or the politicians: it is the ordinary citizens who want to make sure that they will receive their retirement pensions when the time comes," he said. "But we will not remove a single comma from anyone's acquired rights," he assured.
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