Official: Brazil to 'surprise' with successful Cup

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Brazil's Deputy Sports Minister Luis Fernandes says ''Brazil will surprise the world'' with a successful World Cup despite what he called ''prejudice'' against so-called developing countries trying to organize large sporting events.

Fernandes, speaking Wednesday in a teleconference, says Brazil will allow peaceful strikes or demonstrations during the month-long championship. However, he promised violence will not be tolerated and the ''security of the World Cup will be guaranteed by the Brazilian state.''

Brazil's preparations for the World Cup have been characterized by delays in building stadiums and unfinished upgrades to airports and transportation. There's been public criticism of $11.5 billion spent on the World Cup, which many believe should have been used to improve the country's poor schools and rundown hospitals.

The World Cup opens June 12 in Sao Paulo.

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