World Cup protests threaten Brazil's economy and its image
By Alonso Soto
RIO DE JANEIRO May 21 (Reuters) - When Adilson Ferreira hoped for big crowds during the World Cup, this wasn't what he had in mind.
Starting last June, protesters angry about the money Brazil is spending to host the soccer tournament have regularly marched outside the small restaurant he manages in downtown Rio de Janeiro. One night, they smashed the windows and even destroyed the espresso machine.
Instead of hiring extra workers during the Cup, as he once planned, Ferreira is now focused on how to limit the damage.
"We need the World Cup to be a success on and off the field so everyone can win from this," he said.
Expectations that the World Cup might bring a big boost to Brazil's economy have been replaced by more sober forecasts and fears that street demonstrations and other problems could chase away business and tarnish the country's image among investors.
President Dilma Rousseff's government estimates the month-long event, which starts on June 12 in Sao Paulo, could add over half a percentage point of economic growth this year and more than half a million jobs.
Economists are, on average, more conservative. They see a boost closer to 0.2 percentage points, according to a recent Reuters poll.
The economy is expected to grow just 1.6 percent this year, putting pressure on Rousseff as she seeks re-election in October. Continuación...