Brazil World Cup 2014 Poster
Photo Credit: Portal Brasil
While football (American soccer) fans in North America, Europe, and other regions worldwide prepare to travel to Brazil for the FIFA World Cup 2014, just twenty-five days away, Brazilians continue to protest in the streets.
Working class Brazilians are angry. The government has spent billions on preparations for the World Cup: money needed for schools, hospitals, housing, and transportation. Discontent is rife among residents of favelas (slums) in Rio de Janeiro where police and military forces are indiscriminately cracking down on criminal elements, to ensure the security of millions of tourists arriving for the games. Increase in rents in the neighborhood surrounding the new World Cup stadium in São Paulo is yet another source of conflict.
To prevent violent protestors from disrupting the games and counter any terrorist threat, the Brazilian government, with the assistance of American and other foreign expertise, has beefed up security. When deployed in the twelve host cities, the proposed 150,000 heavily armed police and military security forces will also serve to inflame the already angry local population.
World Cup fans can stay safe by steering clear of the street protests. They’re likely to turn bloody.
Latrocínio (robbery followed by death), a common crime in Brazil’s most violent cities, is another serious threat. In their safety guide, for distribution to tourists arriving at the airports, the São Paulo Civil Police warn: When robbed, “don’t react, scream or argue.” Robbers who are armed and under the influence of drugs, when countered, do not hesitate to use violence.
The case of the young woman, out jogging one morning along the seaside promenade in Fortaleza, left a lasting impression on me. She lost her life for refusing to hand over her running shoes to the robber.
Reduce the risks to your security by moving about in groups when visiting selective tourist attractions, night clubs and bars. Be alert when walking along city streets. Observe if you’re being followed. Get lost and you set yourself up for trouble. The person offering assistance may actually be part of a scheme to rob you that could end in violence.
Find more safety tips in an article published in the Diário do Nordeste of Fortaleza, Ceará, in March 2014.
Stay safe. Enjoy the games.