LatinaLista — It's kind of embarrassing that even with the star power of the First Family and Oprah Chicago lost its bid for the Olympics. But if we had to lose, Rio was the best alternative.
Chicagoans react in disbelief in the city's Daley Plaza upon hearing the city was among the first to be eliminated in its bid for the Olympics.
(Photo: Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune)
In a country that is mired in poverty and crime, the Olympics can bring not only jobs but force its government to take seriously the problems that plague its citizens, otherwise, risk having its dark side seen by billions of people worldwide.
No country wants that. The goal of most countries is to welcome visitors to their cities. Yet, in an interesting analysis of why Chicago lost its Olympic bid, one writer noticed in a New York Times article and exchange that happened during the Q&A following the Chicago presentation that he thinks caused Chicago's early elimination.
It looks as if the Bush administration policy on making it much harder to get a US visa (which Obama has yet to alter) has come home to sink Chicago's Olympic bid:
In the official question-and-answer session following the Chicago presentation, Syed Shahid Ali, an I.O.C. member from Pakistan, asked the toughest question. He wondered how smooth it would be for foreigners to enter the United States for the Games because doing so can sometimes, he said, be "a rather harrowing experience."
This is the same stupid anti-visitor policy that is destroying American higher education by driving graduate students to UK and other universities. Here at UM, for example, we have had great trouble getting visas for some great students who want to take our LL.M for foreign students -- including one who had a US government scholarship!
Maybe some good can come from this stunning defeat for Obama's personal diplomacy: bring back the pre-9/11 visa rules that made this country a magnet for tourists, investors, and the world's best and the brightest.
Couple that observation with the fact that current visa restrictions aren't doing anything to prevent terrorists with al Queda ties from infiltrating the country, as was clearly illustrated with the recent arrests of Hosam Maher Husein Smadi and Najibullah Zazi.
The clearer solution to preventing terrorism is vigilance -- not alienating the rest of the world just to make us think we're safer.