In the haphazard, last-minute attempts to ready Brazil for the World Cup, at least eight construction workers lost their lives,with the most recent death occurring just three days before the international event kicked off.
The last reported fatality happened in Sao Paulo as a result of the monorail project, near the busiest domestic airport. Initially, the monorail was supposed to open in time to ease airport congestion in Brazil’s largest city, but it now won’t open until next year, rendering the project — and the subsequent fatality — rather senseless.
The incident is the result of a number of troubling factors, including public sector strikes, mass unrest, and crippling delays.
Last November, two other construction workers died when a crane fell and smashed into the corner of the arena that would later go on to host the tournament’s opener.
The same protests that contributed to these fatalities also caused extensive traffic jams and long delays. Police even had to use tear gas to tackle two striking workers who were protesting a pay dispute.
After the seventh death — before the monorail incident — the World Cup organizing committee and FIFA released a statement that said they were not only awaiting the official report on that particular incident, but that, “For FIFA, the LOC and the Brazilian authorities safety is paramount.”