Latin America congratulates Brazil on winning 2016 Olympic bid

11:02, October 03, 2009      

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Leaders from across Latin America celebrated on Friday after Brazilian city Rio de Janeiro won its bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games, at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting in Danish capital Copenhagen.

Speaking from Copenhagen where he traveled to witness the IOC's choice, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said that Rio deserved to host the Olympics, and described the news as "a victory for 190million souls", referring to Brazil's population. "If I died right now, it would have been worth it," he added.

Rio had previously bid for the 2004 Games, which took place in Geek capital Athens, and then again for the 2012 Games, where London won the right to host.

In Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez told media at the sidelines of an Argentina-Venezuela political coordination meeting that "we are going to give Rio a big round of applause and I am going to launch a forecast: Venezuela will be the winner of the football competition in those Olympics," he said.

In Chile, President Michelle Bachelet cheered the decision, telling media "great joy" during a public event in the Bio Bio Region of southern Chile.

"It is great that Brazil won and that Latin America will host the 2016 Olympic Games," she said.

Peru's President Alan Garcia told media that Peru feels the victory as its own, that it represents a victory for all Latin America, and that it represents an opportunity for Peru's tourist industry.

"Even though I will not be in power, I will work hard so that all the citizens of the world who go to Brazil will make a stop in Peru, on the way there and the way back," he said.

In Colombia, President Alvaro Uribe said he was "very happy" to hear the news, and said that he hoped that Brazil would back Colombia's bid to host the 2015 Pan American Games.

"Major congraturations for the Brazil government, to its president and to its people," he said at a public event in central western city Armenia.

Gerardo Werthein, president-elect of Argentina's Olympic Committee, told Argentine news channel C5N by telephone from Copenhagen that "this is a great opportunity for the whole Latin American region".

Werthein, head of an equestrian sports organization, said that he enjoyed "the success of friends" describing the news as "an impressive moment that we can't help but live and share."

In winning city Rio de Janeiro itself, citizens gathered at world-famous beach Copacabana to celebrate at an event organized by the city government, featuring musicians and Olympic athletes. Celebrants watched the decision at a large screen set up to watch the announcement of the host city live.

Rio authorities said that at least 15,000 gathered ahead of the event, and many more appeared after victory was announced. Many were dressed in national colours green and yellow.

Rio's rivals for the Olympics were Spain's capital, Madrid; Japan's capital, Tokyo; and U.S. city Chicago.

Source: Xinhua
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