Nobody does football like Latin America
A dramatic set of events on the pitch got me thinking about what the sport means to me, to LATAM and for cultural unity
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Tuesday was a wild day for South American football (or soccer as I grew up calling it). Peruvian officials inspired outrage when they announced migration checkpoints at the stadium before a scheduled match against Venezuela.
Officials withdrew their gendarmes when the announcement garnered international criticism. Xenophobia has been markedly on the rise in the Andean nation against Venezuelan migrants— as have authoritarian crackdowns by the government generally.
In Brazil, mere hours later, stadium police assaulted Argentinian football fans in a brutal attack that resulted in an attempted intervention by Argentinian players.
Argentina went on to win the game, but the episode got me thinking about the difference between North American sports fanatics and their South American cousins— differences that make even European football hooligans look like playschool children.