MEXICO & THE AMERICAS

A Times reporter in Brazil answers questions about World Cup protests

Watch a Times Q&A on the protests in Brazil ahead of the World Cup

With just a week to go before the start of the World Cup, soccer fans are holding their breath to see whether host country Brazil can resolve the problems that have dogged the tournament before kickoff.

Protesters are in the streets, and question marks hang over still unfinished stadiums.

When Brazil won the right to host this year’s tournament -- and the 2016 Olympics -- the country erupted in euphoria. After years of economic progress that has lifted tens of millions of people out of poverty, it seemed that Brazil's time had come.

But most analysts agree that Brazil promised more than it could deliver, both to its population and to FIFA, the international soccer federation. 

The country is now divided over whether it was a good idea to host the World Cup. Expensive overruns and embarrassing construction delays have added fuel to the protests.

The Homeless Workers Movement is occupying a piece of land near Sao Paulo's Itaquerao Stadium, where the opening match between Brazil and Croatia will be held June 12. The group is demanding housing for its mostly poor members.

Teachers are on strike and city workers, bus drivers and police have brought parts of the country to a halt in recent weeks in their fight for better wages and work conditions.

Vincent Bevins has been covering the upheaval for the Los Angeles Times. We caught up with him to ask about the mounting protests. To watch the discussion, click on the video above.

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