“I was ashamed as a Brazilian when I saw such a symbolic shirt being handed to a war criminal. Blair’s appointment will lower Brazil’s reputation in the eyes of the world. He has no standing in his own country, he failed as a negotiator in the Middle East, he lost his job because of the Iraq War and he has the blood of English soldiers on his hands.” — Paulo Coelho
“My feelings are that I think you are rubbish at your job. You don’t care about the British public, armed forces or anyone. My big brother died at the age of 18, and what for? A war over oil and money. I think that you should withdraw all of our soldiers from Iraq. After all, it’s not our war, it’s America’s. We are all hurting badly, but I don’t just blame Gordon’s death on the Iraqis that made the roadside bomb. I blame YOU as well, because it is your fault that our soldiers are over there in the first place.” — Maxine Gentle, whose brother was killed in Iraq
To Governor Sergio Cabral:
You appointed former British Prime Minister Tony Blair as consultant to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The question on the lips of most people is why?
Whilst in office Tony Blair showed not the slightest interest in sport. Therefore what has he to offer, what is he being paid for, how much is he being paid? Jobs for the boys, you grease my palm and I grease yours?
It cannot be claimed he won the 2012 Games for London as that was down to the hard work of then London Mayor Ken Livingstone and former Olympic athlete Sebastian Coe.
Tony Blair is seen by most people as a war criminal. A man with blood on his hands. The blood of innocent Iraqis, the blood of young British soldiers who have died in an illegal, pointless war. He took his country to war on a pack of lies, against the wishes of his own people. A war that has destabilized the Middle East and made the world a less safe place.
Has the irony escaped you that the day you met with and appointed Blair was the day after he appeared before the Iraq Inquiry and tried to justify his action?
Take a hard look at the pictures of the people on the street as they greeted Blair as he appeared before the Iraq Inquiry.
This is the man you have engaged as a consultant.
It was an insult to the team and to Brazilian football fans the world over to hand Blair a Brazil team shirt.
You have tarnished the reputation of Brazil and the Rio Games.
When Paulo Coelho speaks out against the appointment of Blair, he speaks for people across the world, he recognises the shame you have brought upon your own country.
Letter sent via e-mail to Governor Sergio Cabral, governor of Rio de Janeiro, the city in Brazil that will host the 2016 Olympics.