Friday, January 11

Culture Shock

Let me start by saying that I believe that Brazil is the country of the future. I have lived here for 15 years and I have seen progress that supports this belief. But at the same time, it seems that the future doesn't want to get here. Large formerly state run companies such as Vale Rio Doce are making fortunes and are causing a stir in the international markets. Agriculture is getting stronger everyday. The Sao Paulo stock market is making huge gains. The Brazilian currency is up 15% over the dollar, the economy is stable. On paper, it all looks impressive. on the street, its another story.

Just before New Year, the son of the former doctor of the Brazilian national soccer team was assaulted by two cowards on a motorcycle. As a result, he is in the hospital in critical condition and will be parapeligic for the rest of his life. What about the perpetrators? They are in hiding, probably in the `favela`(I know the politically correct term is ├╣nderpriveleged communities''but they get more social services and help from NGO's than the middle class,so I hardly consider them under privileged) If htey are snuffed out by the police, they will be tried and then put in the FEBEM for underaged offenders. This is if they are not tortured and beaten by the police beforehand. Do I agree with that? Yes and no. I was assaulted by four drugged out favela dwellers all heavily armed and ready to shoot. They stole my vehicle and left me thrown on the ground. Luckily that was all they did. Do I care if the perpetrators are tortured? Of course not. They deserve worse, like my wrath when I am PMSing. But of course the Amnesty International types are more worried about prisoner's rights than my right to be able to drive safely in the streets of Rio.

In this Eldorado called Brazil, the rich and upper classes are oblivious to what is really going on. They just feed the poor the nightly soap opera,football on Sunday, and Carnaval every February. Schools? God no! The people may just get educated and realize how they have been shafted for generations.

For any society to flourish,education and health should be first and foremost. Until the idiots in Brasilia wake up to that fact, Brazil will continue to be the country of tomorrow, and that tomorrow will never come.

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