A lot of people ask me about traveling to, from and in Brazil. If Brazil was something you could buy in the supermarket, the shape of the bottle would be mysterious, the label bright and sexy, and the contents unknown but with an amazing sweet aroma. All of those things are true, but there is a lot more to the country, both good and bad, that you can’t see unless you buy the bottle, so-to-speak.
The country is in a melee with the impending arrival of the World Cup soccer tournament which is less than 100 days away. There are an untold amount of unfinished constructions projects, from bridges to airports to the stadiums themselves, and there is no way they will all be completed on time. Despite their love of soccer, the people of Brazil are unhappy with the Cup as their government is spending billions of dollars on the cup including security, construction, and bribes, and most Brazilians won’t be able to afford a ticket to enter a single game. Then comes the very dark side of the country; according to a recent ESPN article which sited sources in Brazil, 35,000 people in the slums of Rio de Janeiro have been killed by police or have gone missing in the last six years in an effort to rid the city of gangs and drug trafficking before the arrival of the Pope (2013), the World Cup (2014) and the Olympics (2016). I asked my wife’s family about those deaths while I was in Rio, and most people there were unaware of the statistic.