This is a bit of a cop out but again I had a letter from a friend in France regarding the murders of the police officers in Sao Paulo, I have just written a reply and it seems worth putting onto the blog as a record of my feelings at the moment.
Hi B.........it is a complicated business here, we all walk the streets without expecting to get shot, day by day you do not feel threatened but are aware of danger, more the danger from road traffic and Dengue than any chance of a stray bullet...This I am sure is true in Sao Paulo as well, here in Salvador there as been 21 or more assassinations every weekend since I have lived here, it is in fact proportionally more dangerous than Sao Paulo or Rio, Recife is also know for its deaths, however the police have been killing people in Sao Paulo and the traffickers are reacting on a routine manner. All the killings of the off duty police is done from motor cycles and mostly at night, outside bars or the house of the policeman, only one police woman so far, but the police are also conducting an off duty death squad.......as with all these deaths there are inevitable deaths of innocent people that just happen to be walking by or sitting in the bar.
You know there is more worry here over the infrastructure of the country as a whole, the government have the money but not the know how, there is the first sign of a clamp down on fraud in the government, largely because of a change in the supreme justice, a coloured judge as now taken over, he came from very poor background and worked hard to get were he is, speaks 5 languages and detests the rich misuse of the law, it is a breath of air to see that he has taken about 12 politicians and put them behind bars from 15 to 7 years, some of them are from Dilma and Lula's party, if he can continue this it will make the poor feel more committed to honest life style and less support for the drug dealers, corruption is too rife here and needs resolving to make it possible for the rule of law to have faith....the other tHing about Sao Paulo is the hap hazard city growth, it is really difficult for the police to control what is almost a medieval city, yesterday the police went to a house were there was a hostage situation after a robbery, the police surrounded the area but the robbers left the house for the one next door and the police cleared the owners from several of the houses, then went into the houses, they killed two robbers and shot two others but these two made it over the roofs and verandas to escape. The tov showed how some of the traffickers are now using a mobile hospital bag as they do not wish to get caught in the hospital after a shoot out....also there are some new drugs on the market so ot is still a growing problem and not even held at a limit as yet, there are no cells sufficient for the police to take these folk off the streets, but even saying all this it is the shanty style of life that is most common here and it will take a long time for this to change, as a new friend said to me, this is a Dutch chap who owns a school here, very pleasant person, he reckons its beyond our life span for Brazil to seem more socially equal and less violent, he even said that he feels the mind set of the Brazilian will never change, its embedded, a slave state that is fixed in the mind much like the American attitudes.
As far as the world cup is concerned I think it does not matter if there are foreigners or not, South American in total has enough to make it worth while, the problem in Brazil is their football team and the lack of good training and new ideas, the last coach was a disaster from the start and has changed the team almost every single match, now they have sacked the lot...... even the local teams are not doing well.....so what are they going to do if Brazil ends up with a Mexico v Japan final in Sao Paulo........thats when the security will be important and when the government will take note of the real situation in Brazil, after that there is the Olympics, how will they feel if the athletes are still at around 12 medals and China with 60 in Rio........it requires a big move from what they have now to what they should have as a nation that is supposedly 5th in the world.....
Difficult to move from a place that is seeing so much change, interesting and not static like Britain or even Russia, but it would be nice to see a better Brazil more quickly rising from the mess that most live in, less government and political fraud would help a great deal, even my small village of Jauá suffers from the miss use of funds so it is inevitable that Sāo Paulo will suffer as well, the metro in Salvador is still not working, still huge amounts of unfinished track and they are talking about a new rail link to the airport ! also a huge bridge to Itaparica, at the moment some new ferries, bigger and better than those used at the moment, would resolve the situation and stop the island becoming another commuter town of Salvador with huge queues on a new bridge that will be badly constructed and never get any maintenance or inspections, like most things here it would have to be built by a foriengn company to guarantee the integrity of the materials and design, I am still waiting for the road along beach in Jauá, to be redone and a new sea wall built, six years of a mess and only rocks dumped as a safety measure by the civil defense and that virtually ruined the beach, certainly an eye sore and almost a crime as far as the ambience is concerned.
A note also about the economy, Brazil seems to have slowed down to a 2.7 % growth rate as apposed to a 1% for the UK, the result is noticeable, my investment here in Brazil was well down this last month, about 25% less for the month, if Brazil wishes to grow it needs the investment and growth, the latest forecast of 4% is still well below the expected, Dilma as lowered the taxes on Brazilian goods to encourage home sales but it also means that Brazilians are spending and not saving, it seems as though they are also buying non essentials and forgetting the need to invest in infrastructure.