As many have been discussing, the rampant crime in Brazil has led many to avoid the country as tourists and many others to criticize the selection of Rio de Janeiro for the next summer Olympics, the Soccer World Cup, and other huge venues. The local media was covering the growing crime wave in interviewing this woman . . . who was promptly mugged on television as if to bring home the point.
The picture to the right gives a better view of what the thief was after: a gold chain. He did not get away with it. He did break it but he out ran the reporter and got away. In August of last year loan, there were 406 killings in Rio and surrounding areas and 629 robberies on public transport; in just one month.
In the meantime, various sports, including sailing officials, are expressing alarm over the pollution in and around Rio.
Years ago, I stayed at a hotel along the Copacabana. One night I went to one of the best known Churrascarias in the city — just a couple blocks from the hotel. The hotel insisted on driving me but I decided to walk back. I was met from both ends of the street by alarmed hotel and restaurant employees who scolded me for not calling for a car or taxi. I explained that I saw little reason since I could see the hotel roughly a block away and the hotel said that I was lucky to get as far as I did. (I was later pulled off the street by Brazilian police in Sao Paulo for some heated questioning next to a police cruiser. They were clearly seeking a bribe, which I declined to give. A government officer later said that it would have been wiser to just hand over the bribe).