(Reuters) - Brazil’s interim President Michel Temer is optimistic that the country will stage a successful Rio Games, despite facing health and financial turmoil ahead of the Aug. 5-21 Olympics.
Brazil is witnessing one of the country’s worst recessions since the 1930s, while concerns over the Zika Virus, high crime rates, infrastructure delays and political unrest have led to mounting scepticism about the viability of the Rio Games.
Temer, however, downplayed the concerns and insisted the country was ready to welcome the estimated 500,000 visitors expected to attend the Games.
“Brazil is ready to receive all of the visitors who will be enjoying the pleasure of watching the world’s elite international sports athletes compete,” Temer said in a statement.
“And, surely, we will have a great deal to show the five billion viewers from around the world who will be watching the Games as well. Brazil awaits you with open arms.”
Temer, who took over from suspended President Dilma Rousseff, added that Brazil would draw on the experiences of hosting similar large-scale events in the past.
“This will not be Brazil’s first opportunity to show the world its capacity for organization, and to welcome visitors warmly to a secure environment,” Temer added.
”We hosted the World Cup, the Pan-American Games, the World Military Games, World Youth Day and the Confederations Cup... all unanimous successes.
“And now, another success is on its way.”
Reporting by Nivedita Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by John O'Brien