DARK FLOORS OF BRAZIL: WHY TOURISTS GO MISSING?

BRAZIL’S FAVELAS, CRIME AND CHALLENGE OF  INDIVIDUAL TOURISM 

“They have a joy for life in Brazil unlike any country I have ever seen.”

-Morena Baccarin

 

Brazil is such a beautiful country with lot of mystical faces. The fifth largest country in the world is blessed with white-sand beaches,  hidden tropical islands and picturesque colonial towns. It seems that Brazil has all and still has nothing. From amazing waterfalls to the fascinating, massive dunes, Brazil is created the unique tourist attractions that affects million of visitors with never ending madness and love for Brazil and all what there could be done and seen. You cant visit Brazil just booking your tour online and hoping that all will be fine and that you will meet the real DNA of Brazil. For sure, you wont experience anything but flock life in some of highly  advertized hotel chains, that I usually define as the boring holiday for bored and rich people. The blood and temper of Brazil could be found  if you go out of your comfort zone. When you follow your adrenaline instincts and you rent  apartment,  driving a car somewhere in the middle of nowhere or  drinking Caipirinha in some of the local bars, in the heart of favelas. That is Brazil, that will gravitate you in its own magnetic field, offering you adventure, enthusiasm, fear and passion. Unfortunately, this country has its sinister side, the ,malign spirit sister that sacrifice the tourism at the altar of poverty, hopeless life, crime and death.

How could be Brazil dangerous? Because it is out of control, wild and hot temper, big and demanding, the beast of South America that sometimes come out from its darkness and take the innocent with. It is not a debate that Brazil should not be visited by tourists  it but it must work on its safety if still hold on  strategy to ensure tourism development without any shadow.  We are talking about high level of insecurity for strangers who pop in and plan to spend thousand of dollars, researching the glowing beauty of Brazil.  They could be beaten, injured or killed and all that is happening, as it seems, with indifference of the Brazilian goverment, wrapped into corruption and cheap political games. Just to remind, the dangerous profile of Brazil is growing up in last 10 years, since the horror statistics has informed us that so many people, especially tourists, go missing over there every single year. Some of them are responsible themselves for their malicious end, because they haven’t checked the local conditions and they have not respected the local rules of survival. But, what about rest ? The majority of sad numbers have been killed by criminal gangs or have been abused for organ trafficking in one of the most profitable organ trade route in South America.  That kind of insecurity is not only national but also international because it merges many countries in one pot and produce a global fear for globetrotters.

Based on some reports, Brazil could be so alluring and so deadly :“Brazil can be a volatile and unpredictable place. For evidence, look no further than a fall 2017 incident in which a Spanish tourist was killed by police in Rio de Janeiro. According to the New York Times, her driver failed to stop near the Rocinha favela, which is in the midst of a violent spree of tit-for-tat killings between the militarized police and local gangs. When you add political instability, a resurgent right-wing government, rampant income inequality, and a stalled economy, the nation’s discord is an unsurprising development. Like anywhere else on earth, those factors have unfortunately correlated to increases in crime and violence.”  

The scariest part of Brazil it its own discrepancy in social classes, the annoying ambys between poor and rich, between those who can all and those who can nothing.  When we think about datas and figures that sometimes speak against visiting Brazil, we have to know that Brazil is very huge and that negative portfolio is actually an outcome of  asymmetric accumulated population. Nevertheless, the high sky record in murders put Brazil above Mexico and Nigeria.  What does it mean ? The majority of visitors are located between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Sao Paulo has 50 % more people than NYC but still its own murder rate is lower as in Chicago, New Orleans, Philadelphia or Houston.  On the other side, samba dressed Rio de Janeiro is the same size as Los Angeles but its crime rate is lower than that what has Baltimore or Detroit.  The NO-GO zones are in the USA, Europe and they should be also known and respected in Brazil too. We cant have double standards and simply accuse Brazil for its criminal waves and dangerous areas when we aren’t able to defeat and deal with our own trash.

There must be a way to survive trip into Brazil, embracing its spectacular portrait of differences.  If we aren’t shot in some of favelas or we have escaped some deadly lucrative virus from rain forest, Brazil will give us the timeless lesson about life and death all in once. Brazilians celebrate life and enjoy it to the fullest. They know that there is no repeat button and that is why they sing in their souls, in spite of fact that they often sleep without food. The social injustice over there is biting everyone who recognizes the rise and failure of money. The majestic suburbs in Rio de Janeiro have been built with the machinery of poor, who have died in their hard work, fighting to earn food for their families, lost in some of the muffy and forgotten favelas. Favelas do not talk about poverty as they tell us the story about condemns among social classes and the quarantine zones in between. The poverty is almost like a virus and rich try to keep it on a distance. The colony of forgotten souls are there to remind that the pulse of life is stronger as the indifference of death, the coldness of rich and the agony of the time that simply passes by.  If those people kill some American or German, they do kill because they see the enemy, the intruder, the attack on their outlawed world but they also see it as a ticket to official  recognition as the unstoppable social force that will be enough strong one day to overcome the system with its own regulations.
Favelas are not always destructive because some of them have contributed with their subcultural manifestations and extraordinary talents. The poor kids from slum are sometimes the future mega star of DJ universume. The poverty over there is almost like a motivational drug for those who want to success. They inhale the rhythm in Brazil, they shape the aura of Brazil.

The official standing of Brazilian Government is that favelas must be controlled with powerful police and military machinery, even if that means the prolonging of differences among social stages and their separation with colors of safe and unsafe.  To visit favelas could be inviting for many tourists but it shouldn’t be practice because it could bring a lot of unnecessary outputs. In need to tastes the local life in favelas and authentic folklore of Brazil, many visitors decide even to go alone over there, jumping in some of hundreds Brazilian favelas. There are those that are known as peaceful or under police domination but you never know where and when the violence can start. Most of the strangers do not speak Portuguese and are  not familiar with survival techniques in favelas so incidents are to be expected. Some crime experts have claimed that drug cartels and gangs usually do not have interests to mess with tourists because of unwanted attention but sometimes they could think that  tourist is a covered officer with job from above.

It was sad to read that only 6 million tourists visit Brazil every year which is almost a half of those who visit tiny Singapore. Something must be changed and the potential of Brazilian tourism must be boosted, in spite of drugs, Zika virus and favelas.  The feeling of security must be developed through the effective goverment measures. I don’t recommend that Brazil need to be a police state but the seeing the police and military forces all around would bring a better feeling for visitors or at least, it would make them feel safer. It is a psychological issue, you feel safe because you know that someone is there to protect you even if is not.

To be able to be born again in Brazil, we need to be informed about local art of living and escaping the death. We are there to accept Brazil as it is, the majestic world of wonders, temptations, challenges and threatens. We are there to take it as it is, without expecting miracles but knowing that we will find them. Brazil is one and only so the life is or as one of the famous Brazilian writer, Paulo Coelho, said: “You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.”

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “DARK FLOORS OF BRAZIL: WHY TOURISTS GO MISSING?

  1. Sarah’s informative and relative article reminded me of several factors associated with the evolution of violent crime in Brazil: fundamentally, a certain percentage of violent crime and drug-related crime in Brazil can be traced to US-Foreign Policy in Brazil. When we compare the violence in Brazil with Cuba, it is obvious that the Communist state has not experienced the negative impacts of US-Foreign Policy (e.g. US-control over Brazilian labour resources) that Brazil has.

    The Brazilian Revolution of 1930 overthrew the oligarchic coffee plantation owners and brought to power an urban middle class that promoted industrialisation and modernization; which encouraged US-investors. The Brazilian Communist Party was banned in 1947, and the Brazilian government broke off relations with The Soviet Union.

    Though, this changed when President Jânio Quadros took office: he tried to create closer ties with some Communist countries. That included Cuba. Quadros openly-supported Fidel Castro during The Bay of Pigs invasion, and awarded Che Guevara with Brazil’s highest honour. Thus, the CIA engineered a military coup in 1964, which overthrew the Brazilian government and implemented a pro-Washington, D.C. administration. Even before that, President John F. Kennedy had sent his brother to Brazil with the purpose of silencing the unions there (i.e. economic threats from the US-government).

    The Favelas are a direct result of weakening worker enfranchisement in Brazil; giving rise to violent crime. Even before the first favela came into being, poor Brazilian citizens were pushed away from the cities and forced to live in the outskirts. Though, most modern favelas appeared in the 1970s, due to a rural exodus created from pressures of agribusiness and industrialisation in Washington, D.C.

    The housing crisis in Brazil of the 1940s forced the urban poor to erect hundreds of shantytowns in the outer-suburbs, when favelas replaced tenements as the main type of residence for destitute residents of Rio de Janeiro. Unable to find work, and unable to afford housing within the city limits, these new migrants remained in the favelas.

    In the 1970s, Brazil’s US-sponsored military dictatorship pioneered a favela eradication policy, which forced the displacement of hundreds of thousands of residents. Poor public planning and insufficient investment by the Brazilian government led to the disintegration of these projects into new favelas. By the 1980s, anxieties about eviction and eradication were beginning to give way to violence associated with the burgeoning drug trade, which was/is directly-connected to North American illicit drug trades (i.e. a vicious circle).

    Though drugs brought in money, this accompanied the rise of the small arms trade and of violent gangs competing for dominance, in major Brazilian cities. In addition, both the Brazilian intelligence community and the CIA have been known to employ violent favela criminals for political assassinations, etc., over the years.

    Cuba does not have favelas; although, since the collapse of the former Soviet Union, various types of crime are increasing. As Cubans begin to have closer economic ties with North Americans, the crime rates will continue to rise…

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  2. Thank you so much, Sarah, for this educational and very interesting article !

    You have shown us, through the journey in your article, both sides of Brazil. In reality, most big cities have their share of good and bad.

    As you mentioned, Brazil would benefit from increased security on its streets. This reminds me of my California days when I was a student at UCLA. In 1992, on my way back from school, I saw, from the UCLA shuttle, smoke rising into the sky from downtown Los Angeles. We learned soon after that riots had broken out because of the verdict in the Rodney King trial !

    There was a sense of lack of security on the streets of Los Angeles. Marshall law was ordered in L.A. and a curfew was in place for several days. I remember that military soldiers were walking around with their guns. It was a strange feeling of both security and insecurity combined due to their presence.

    In the case of Brazil, as you mentioned, the gaps between social classes are too big. It’s time people in Brazil, and the rest of the world, experienced fair and equal treatment and lived in better conditions. The gaps in our societies should never be as pronounced as they currently are, as they are both unjustified and iniquitous !

    Congratulations, Sarah, on such a well-written and well organized article ! Thank you !

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About Sarahowlgirl1982

I am a master of Political Sciences, with special focus on Security Studies, Islamic Counter Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction. I enjoy discovering and commenting things which are " in the air" but still not spoken.I also do like science writing and planing to move myself into the pure science journalism !