Lourdes Garcia-Navarro

Lourdes Garcia-Navarro is an NPR international correspondent covering South America for NPR. She is based in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Previously, she served a NPR's correspondent based in Israel, reporting on stories happening throughout the Middle East. She was one of the first reporters to enter Libya after the 2011 Arab Spring uprising began and spent months painting a deep and vivid portrait of a country at war. Often at great personal risk, Garcia-Navarro captured history in the making with stunning insight, courage and humanity.

For her work covering the Arab Spring, Garcia-Navarro was awarded a 2011 George Foster Peabody Award, a Lowell Thomas Award from the Overseas Press Club, and an Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Alliance for Women and the Media's Gracie Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement.

Before her assignment to Jerusalem began in 2009, Garcia-Navarro served for more than a year as NPR News' Baghdad Bureau Chief and before that three years as NPR's foreign correspondent in Mexico City, reporting from that region as well as on special assignments abroad.

Garcia-Navarro got her start in journalism as a freelancer with the BBC World Service and Voice of America, reporting from Cuba, Syria, Panama and Europe. She later became a producer for Associated Press Television News before transitioning to AP Radio. While there, Garcia-Navarro covered post-Sept. 11 events in Afghanistan and developments in Jerusalem. In 2002, she began a two-year reporting stint based in Iraq.

In addition to the Murrow award, Garcia-Navarro was honored with the 2006 Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize for a two-part series "Migrants' Job Search Empties Mexican Community." She contributed to NPR News reporting on Iraq, which was recognized with a 2005 Peabody Award and a 2007 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton.

Garcia-Navarro holds a Bachelor of Science degree in International Relations from Georgetown University and an Master of Arts degree in journalism from City University in London.

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Business
4:56 am
Wed December 11, 2013

It's The End Of The Road For VW's Iconic Van

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 8:10 am

The iconic Volkswagen van goes out of production this month in Brazil because of new government-imposed safety requirements. Some of the last of the hippy buses are now rolling off the line.

Latin America
2:29 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Ex-Brazilian President Kubitschek Was Murdered, Commission Says

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 10:30 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

A probe into the death of one of Brazil's most celebrated presidents has determined he was murdered. It was thought that the former leader died in a 1976 car crash but an investigation has found he was assassinated by the military junta that once ruled the country. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports that the revelation is renewing calls for Brazil's amnesty law to be revised so that the killers can face justice.

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The Salt
2:01 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

What's For Dinner? Try Brazilian

Brazilian fare from the restaurant D.O.M. in Sao Paulo is some of the best in the world β€” literally. It's currently ranked the sixth best restaurant in the world by San Pellegrino.
Rodrigo Paoletti flickr

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 9:57 am

When you think of the world's great cuisines, Brazilian food doesn't spring to mind. But that is about to change.

Outside Brazil, the South American nation is most famous for its barbecue, or churrascaria. But inside the country, a new movement celebrating regional foods is booming. And ahead of the World Cup and the Olympics, Brazilians are hoping the world will get a new taste of Brazil.

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Parallels
8:40 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Swarming Thieves Wreak Havoc On Famed Rio Beaches

Municipal guards with batons chase a mob of thieves that snatched bags and wallets from beachgoers on Arpoador beach, adjacent to Ipanema, in Rio de Janeiro on Nov. 20.
Marcelo Carnaval AP

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 8:04 am

Amanda Maia was visiting Rio de Janeiro for the weekend earlier this month with her mother. It was a sunny day and so they went to Ipanema beach to catch some rays. She says she noticed a few groups of kids.

"There were lots of gangs, about 10, 15 children each; they were about 10 or 12 years old," Maia recalls.

At first, she says, they were just roaming the streets, checking people out. The ones she saw were smoking marijuana, too.

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Parallels
1:03 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Photos Reveal Harsh Detail Of Brazil's History With Slavery

A lady with two slaves, in Bahia, Brazil, 1860.
Moreira Salles Institute Archive

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 8:25 am

Brazil was the last place in the Americas to abolish slavery β€” it didn't happen until 1888 β€” and that meant that the final years of the practice were photographed.

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Parallels
2:50 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

The Billionaire Who Personified Brazil's Boom Goes Bust

Batista appears with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff during a ceremony in celebration of the start of oil production by OGX, Batista's oil and gas company, in 2012. The company filed for bankruptcy Wednesday.
Ricardo Moraes Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 4:14 pm

He was boastful, he was brash and he came to represent a booming Brazil that was finally taking its place as an economic powerhouse on the world stage.

Eike Batista had the cars: a Mercedes McLaren worth a quarter of a million dollars parked in his living room; the boat, called "the Pink Fleet," and the women: He was married to a former Playboy model and a Carnival queen.

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Parallels
1:50 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Brazil's Restrictions On Abortion May Get More Restrictive

Demonstrators who are critical of the Catholic Church and favor abortion rights take part in a protest in Rio de Janeiro during Pope Francis' visit to Brazil on July 27. Abortion is illegal in Brazil with rare exceptions. Some lawmakers are attempting to make it even more restrictive.
Tasso Marcelo AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 10:15 am

The doctor's office is clean and white and comfortingly bland in an upscale neighborhood of Sao Paulo. We were given the address by a health professional who told us one of the doctors here gives safe abortions in a country where they are illegal.

The doctor agrees to speak on condition of anonymity after we prove we are not there to entrap him. He does not admit on tape that he terminates unwanted pregnancies. But he says openly he favors legalizing abortions.

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World
2:34 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

All Across Brazil, The Art Scene Is Shifting

A couple review the work of Brazilian artist Victor Arruda during ArtRio, the International Art Fair of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Sept. 5.
Yasuyoshi Chiba AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 4:15 pm

Brazil is known for its music and distinctive dances, not necessarily for its paintings or photography. But that is changing. Not only are Brazilian artists now getting big play in major museums around the world, but something new is happening inside Brazil: There's a burgeoning appetite for art.

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Latin America
2:27 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Brazil's President Postpones U.S. Visit Over Spying Concerns

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A secret surveillance court has issued a very rare public defense of the U.S. program that collects massive data on phone calls. The court wrote that this program which stores numbers and call times but not content, we're told, does not violate privacy rights.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The American Civil Liberties Union countered that it is folly to trust privacy decisions to a secret court.

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Parallels
3:18 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

As Economy Cools, Brazilians Find Themselves Trapped In Debt

A woman looks at clothes inside a shop in Rio de Janeiro. Consumption has been a huge driver of the Brazilian economy, but the boom years are over, and economists say the outlook isn't good.
Sergio Moraes Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 6:44 pm

It all started out so promisingly. She was young, still in her teens, and she'd landed her first job. As is the custom in Brazil, to get your salary you have to open an account with the bank the company deals with β€” and with that new account came the woman's first credit card.

"The banks say, 'I want to help you,' " she says. "And if you have a credit card, it's a status symbol, you are well-regarded."

She switched jobs. That company dealt with another bank β€” which issued her another credit card. She got a store credit card, too.

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Parallels
11:05 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Brazilian Believers Of Hidden Religion Step Out Of Shadows

Men possessed by orixas dance before getting dressed in orixa costumes. They are participating in an Olubaje party, a CandomblΓ© ritual for cleansing life of bad things and healing. The main god at the party is Omulu (the one with straws), known for healing diseases.
Marcello Vitorino Fullpress for NPR

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 3:45 pm

Amid chanting and drumming, a crowd gathers in Sao Paulo and waits for the gods to come to them from the spirit world.

They are celebrating a sacred festival day in honor of Omulu, a deity of life and death. The women wear white dresses with crinolines, colorful belts and headdresses. The men wear lace, pajama-style suits. They sing and dance in a circle for hours; the room gets warmer, the chanting more intense.

Suddenly, they are here: Orixas have possessed the chosen among the faithful. They are spirit gods, the deified ancestors who link humans to the other world.

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Latin America
3:03 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

Peru's Natural Gas Rush Threatens Native Tribes, Again

Originally published on Sun August 18, 2013 9:15 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This is one of the most critical tests for a developing economy: balancing development and the protection of human rights. It's currently playing out on the national stage in Peru. Several members of the president's cabinet have just resigned over plans to expand a gas field. It's in an area populated by tribes of Indians who have no contact with the outside world. Here's NPR's South America correspondent Lourdes Garcia-Navarro.

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Parallels
1:00 am
Wed August 14, 2013

Brazilians Flood To U.S. On Massive Shopping Sprees

Camila DeSouza, a 17-year-old Brazilian, shops for shoes at a mall in Sunrise, Fla., on July 16, 2012. During their winter, Brazilians flock to the U.S., mainly to shop. Even with the cost of airfare figured in, many products are far cheaper in the U.S. than in Brazil.
Charles Trainor Jr. Miami Herald/MCT /Landov

Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 5:26 pm

What's the busiest U.S. Consulate in the world? If you guessed in Mexico or China, you'd be wrong.

It's actually in Brazil, Sao Paulo to be exact. The consulate there is giving a record number of visas to Brazilians who want to visit the U.S. And that is giving a boost to the economies of cities like Miami.

On a recent day, Tiago Dalcien and his girlfriend stand outside the U.S. Consulate in Sao Paulo clutching their passports and other documents. He is a 30-year-old banker; his girlfriend is a doctor.

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Parallels
1:08 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Unease In Sprawling Rio Slum Ahead Of Police 'Pacification'

A police officer patrols the rooftop of a school at the Rocinha slum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Sept. 20, 2012, where a "pacification" anti-crime effort was underway. Rio police are now going to attempt a similar pacification in another huge slum, Mare.
Silvia Izquierdo AP

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 10:06 am

Brazilian police are preparing to occupy one of the deadliest shantytown complexes in Rio de Janeiro, hoping to drive out drug gangs ahead of next year's World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

It's the latest "pacification" effort in a Rio slum, and the city's new chief of police says he'll need some 1,500 cops to secure this one, called Mare.

Police in the past would typically stage raids, but then withdraw from the dangerous shantytowns, known here as favelas. But under the pacification program, they now set up shop inside the favelas.

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Parallels
3:43 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Pope's Visit: A Bumpy Test Run For Rio's World Cup, Olympics

Hundreds of thousands of people crowd Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday as Pope Francis celebrates the final Mass of his visit to Brazil. Security lapses, traffic chaos and other logistical snafus marred the visit.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 5:47 pm

While the recent World Youth Day celebrations in Rio de Janeiro were a success for Pope Francis, they certainly weren't for the city government. Accusations of disorganization and transport failures have left residents wondering if Rio is really ready to host both the World Cup and the Olympics.

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News
3:40 am
Sun July 28, 2013

Religious Orders Use Pope's Visit To Recruit Young Postulants

People dance in laser lights in a tent during World Youth Day events in Quinta de Boa Vista park, where religious orders are holding a job fair of sorts to recruit new postulants.
Silvia Izquierdo AP

Originally published on Mon July 29, 2013 12:07 pm

The Quinta de Boa Vista park is far away from the celebrations in Copacabana Beach, where three million people gathered Saturday to hear Pope Francis speak. But the park is attracting a crowd of young people.

Kiosks for religious orders like the Carmelites, the Franciscans and the Legion of Mary line the park. It looks like a job fair, and in a way, it is.

Nuns from the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady of Lourdes dance around in front of their stand, to the banging of drums and the strumming of guitars.

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Religion
2:13 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Jubilation, Protest Greet Pope Francis In Brazil

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 4:16 pm

Pope Francis arrived in Rio de Janeiro on Monday and was greeted by adoring masses and protesters alike. It is his first foreign trip since becoming pope.

Parallels
1:34 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Brazil's Evangelicals A Growing Force In Prayer, Politics

Evangelical Christians pray during the "March for Jesus" in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, June 29, 2013.
Nelson Antoine AP

Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 12:32 pm

Pope Francis arrives Monday evening in Rio de Janeiro for a weeklong visit celebrating World Youth Day. Hundreds of thousands of Catholics have made the pilgrimage to see the Argentine-born pontiff, and he is expected to receive a rapturous welcome.

Still, Pope Francis's visit comes at a delicate time for the church in Brazil. Catholicism β€” the nation's main religion β€” is facing a huge challenge from evangelicals.

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Parallels
1:06 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Brazil's Highflying VIPs Face Backlash Over Air Travel

A helicopter carries VIPs to the Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo in 2010. Politicians taking expensive helicopters and government planes have generated controversy in Brazil.
Jefferson Bernardes AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 5:57 pm

Unlike New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who often takes the subway to work, some prominent politicians in Brazil have a far more impressive way of getting around: private helicopters and government planes.

Perhaps the most over-the-top example of the trend is that of Rio de Janeiro state Gov. Sergio Cabral. A recent magazine expose showed that his commute to work is only about 6 miles.

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Parallels
6:00 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Amid Construction Boom, Migrants Flow Into Brazil

Construction is underway on the Itaquerao stadium in Sao Paulo, shown here June 12. The stadium will be the venue for the opening ceremony and game of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, and many migrants are among the laborers working on the project.
Sebastiao Moreira EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 3:34 am

Brazil is in the midst of a building boom as it constructs stadiums across the country in preparation for the World Cup it will host next year. In Sao Paulo, hundreds of workers are building a massive arena that will take many more months to complete.

But not all of the workers are Brazilian.

Marie Eveline Melous, 26, arrived from Haiti just a few months ago because life was so difficult, especially after the huge earthquake in 2010. "It's hard to find work. I came to Brazil to help my situation," she says.

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Parallels
6:28 am
Sat June 22, 2013

Brazil's Indians Reclaim Land Citing Promises, Using Force

Indigenous leaders from Brazil's Terena tribe attend a meeting with government officials in the capital, Brasilia, on June 6. Brazil's Indians have been demanding greater land rights and are increasingly coming into conflict with large ranchers and farmers.
Eraldo Peres AP

Originally published on Sat June 22, 2013 7:59 pm

It was once the cattle farm of a former congressman, but now his stately house in the western Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul is a burned-out shell. Thatch huts are being built in the shade of flowering palm trees. Once the purview of one farmer's family, it now is occupied by dozens of indigenous ones.

Indian activists say this is just the beginning.

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Parallels
10:51 am
Tue June 18, 2013

With Inspiration From Turkey, Brazil Discovers Mass Protests

A mass protest in Sao Paulo on Monday night was one of several across the country where demonstrators raised a host of grievances. Some demonstrators said they drew their inspiration from the protests in Turkey.
Nelson Antoine AP

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 11:40 am

They are young, they are angry and they have drawn inspiration from protest movements a world away in places like Turkey and the Middle East.

Tens of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets across the country Monday night, and more demonstrations are slated for the coming week. Brazil doesn't have a history of this kind of mass dissent, but it seems to be catching on very quickly.

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Parallels
1:24 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Criminals Fleeing Rio Crackdown Set Up Shop In The Suburbs

Rio de Janeiro's Elite Special Forces Police Unit patrols the Caju favela complex as part of the pacification program designed to crack down on crime in advance of the World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016.
Lianne Milton for NPR

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 8:27 am

The provincial town of Mage seems a world away from the violence and drug dealing that plague Brazil's larger cities. On a recent afternoon, the central square is a picture of calm. Children play around a fountain; older people sit on the many park benches dotting the area, under the shade of trees.

Mage, about 35 miles northwest of Rio, is close enough that people can commute to the city, which many of them do. Yet it's far enough away that nothing much really happened here in the past. But residents say that is changing.

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Parallels
9:51 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Once Unsafe, Rio's Shantytowns See Rapid Gentrification

The small, hillside community of Babilonia, situated above the Leme and Copacabana neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro, has ocean views.
Lianne Milton for NPR

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 3:38 pm

A new gastronomic guide to Rio de Janeiro's shantytowns β€” for a cool $35 β€” has just been published. A new boutique hotel perched on top of one of Rio's previously most dangerous favelas is about to open. And yes, there is a jazz club and yoga, too.

These are new services catering to a new kind of favela resident.

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Parallels
11:52 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Rio Goes High-Tech, With An Eye Toward Olympics, World Cup

Rio's Operations Center brings together more than 30 agencies and allows them to coordinate on daily issues such as traffic, as well as on emergencies such as the frequent flash floods in hillside slums.
Raphael Lima Courtesy of the Operations Center, City of Rio De Janeiro

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 8:27 am

We are standing in front of a huge bank of screens, in the middle of which is a glowing map that changes focus depending on what the dozens of controllers are looking at.

The room looks like something straight out of a NASA shuttle launch. The men and women manning the floor are dressed in identical white jumpsuits. With a flick of a mouse, they scroll through dozens of streaming video images coming into the center.

This is Rio de Janeiro in real time.

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Parallels
12:13 pm
Mon May 27, 2013

'We Are Not Valued': Brazil's Domestic Workers Seek Rights

Cassia Mendes, who has worked as a housekeeper for more than 20 years, cleans a house in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Feb. 19, 2012. Brazil enacted on April 2 a constitutional amendment to grant domestic workers health insurance and other benefits.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 27, 2013 2:57 pm

The phone is ringing off the hook at the crowded waiting room at the Domestic Workers Union in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil.

In the past decade, millions of Brazilians have joined the middle class. Advocates say this isn't just the result of a growing economy or social spending, but also laws like the one just passed that enshrine domestic workers' rights.

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Parallels
3:04 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Brazil Looks To Build A 10,000-Mile Virtual Fence

A drug-sniffing dog checks bags at a Brazilian border crossing with Bolivia on April 3. With an increase in illegal immigration and drug smuggling, Brazil is planning to build a virtual fence along its 10,000-mile border.
Yasuyoshi Chiba AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 5:44 pm

Brazil's borders are so vast, and the terrain so inhospitable, that attempting to secure them has seemed a virtually impossible task.

But Brazil's rapidly expanding economy has made the country a magnet for illegal immigration, drug smuggling and other illicit activities, and now the country has announced its own border protection program.

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The Changing Lives Of Women
3:34 am
Sun May 12, 2013

C-Sections Deliver Cachet For Wealthy Brazilian Women

Daniele Coelho holds her newborn daughter as doctors finish her cesarean section at the Perinatal Clinic in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 2. Brazil has one of the world's highest rates of cesarean births.
Felipe Dana AP

Originally published on Sun May 12, 2013 5:11 pm

The office is immaculate, as you would expect in an upscale neighborhood in Sao Paulo β€” all sterile, white, modish plastic furniture and green plants. Behind the reception desk are pictures that would look more appropriate in a pop art gallery than a private maternity clinic.

The list of services at the clinic in Brazil's largest city is long: fertility treatments, specialized gynecology and, of course, obstetrics. But one thing they rarely do here is preside over a vaginal delivery.

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Latin America
12:39 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

As Youth Crime Spikes, Brazil Struggles For Answers

A youth smokes crack in the Manguinhos slum in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. A crack epidemic is one factor contributing to the sharp rise in crime committed by Brazilian minors.
Felipe Dana AP

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 7:34 am

In Rio de Janeiro, tourists are drawn to Copacabana for its wide beach and foliage-covered cliffs. But a month ago, not far from the tourist hub, an American woman and her French male companion were abducted. She was brutally gang-raped; he was beaten.

Perhaps what was most shocking to Brazilians, though, was the age of one of the alleged accomplices: He was barely in his teens.

"Why? That's what you ask yourself," says Sylvia Rumpoldt, who is walking with a friend at dusk by the sea in Rio. "It's horrible. It's criminal energy."

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Latin America
1:17 am
Tue April 30, 2013

Brazil Seeks To Avoid Own Goal Ahead Of World Cup

The renovated Maracana stadium hosts a game by the teams "Friends of Bebeto" and "Friends of Ronaldo" during the stadium's inauguration in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday.
Silvia Izquierdo AP

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 9:19 am

Soccer isn't just a sport in Brazil, it's a religion, and the main temple is the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.

The venue is not only the biggest stadium in Brazil but the biggest in South America. Over the weekend, the newly renovated complex reopened to great fanfare, with stirring musical numbers, a light show and dignitaries including Brazil's president.

The headlines in the local media, however, focused not on the fanfare but on the many problems, from flooding in the VIP area to malfunctioning seats and turnstiles. The stadium was also four months late reopening.

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