We previously discussed the wisdom of Brazil spending billions on the 2016 Olympics when its country was struggling with serious economic and social problems including rampant corruption. Now, in a loss for the entire world, Rio de Janeiro’s 200-year-old National Museum has been reportedly gutted in a catastrophic fire. According to reports, the museum has begged the federal government for funding of the aging building, including the need for a fire prevention system.
The museum holds 20 million items that might now be lost. Politicians are of course expressing shock — the same politicians that spent wildly on the games while ignoring the greater priorities in places like the National Museum. They now have the largely unused and delapidated Olympic spaces and have lost much of their cultural history.
Marina Silva, a former environment minister and candidate in October’s presidential elections said the fire was like “a lobotomy of the Brazilian memory”. That procedure however may have started when Brazil blindly pitched Rio for the 2016 Olympics.