By Danilo Rizzo - Missing precisely eighteen days for the beginning of the Fifa World Cup, I feel obligated to advise all who intend to visit Brazil to attend the event, to avoid coming to Brazil.
Avoid coming because we are living the worst constitutional crisis since the return of democracy in 1980’s. The political environment never was so intolerant, hostile, unstable and effervescent as we follow in recent months since the popular protests that paralyzed the country last June. Regarding popular claims, almost nothing was done by the governor, and that dissatisfaction was a year ago, has turned into revolt.
Avoid coming because we are a developing country that suffers from lack of infrastructure, especially in relation to public transport, which is precisely chaotic. We do not have proper subway, we have no proper busses, and the few public transport that can be used is really expensive. Trains for long distance travel? Only if you're a soybean or a corn. Our air transportation system is also chaotic. There is endless queues through passport check, baggage refund, to rental cars or to catch a cab. Our airports are not yet ready to cater for everyone, and some passenger gates that will be used have canvas roof, all very precarious.
Avoid coming because our traffic is hostile, our drivers are poorly educated and not compromised to respect traffic laws. Signposts only brings information in Portuguese, and some stadiums that hosted World Cup matches are in places difficult to access by car, and in unsafe neighborhoods . Indeed, not only are the road signs that do not 'speak' English, we also do not speak. The percentage of the population that speaks a foreign language is irrelevant, even in hotels, restaurants, shops, and among taxi drivers.
Avoid coming because we are living a dengue epidemics in several cities. This happens every year, winter after winter, and governments do not solve the problem. And if you catch dengue or other diseases, you have to choose to be served in a public, dirty hospital without equipment, and crowded with patients scattered corridors, or search for a particular hospital, which will be better served, but will have pay at least $ 500 per day for this.
Avoid coming because Sao Paulo lives the worst water crisis in its history. The reservoirs are at a critical level and there is a nonofficial rationing, which affects, daily, some of the most populous poorest neighborhoods.
Avoid coming because our country is extremely unsafe compared with European and American standards, and the chance of you being assaulted inside the airport or on the way to your hotel is reasonably high. We treat murders and robberies as mere statistics, as something common, and our police are poorly paid and poorly trained and inefficient before the might of local thugs. In a recent study done by the UN, of the 30 most dangerous cities in the world, 11 are in Brazil, among them are Fortaleza, Natal, Salvador and Cuiaba, which will host World Cup matches.
Avoid coming here because the only law we apply is the "Lei de Gerson" (Law of Gerson), which motivates us to take advantage of everything. Therefore, in any restaurant where a Brazilian pays 50 reais, a foreigner will pay at least double. And that goes for the cab ride, to buy souvenirs or a car parking.
Avoid coming because we are facing daily strikes, the most diverse class categories, from teachers to the police. Last week, thirteen states have suffered from the strike of civil, federal and highway police, and in the country's largest city, Sao Paulo, half of the urban bus fleet also stopped due to the strike by its drivers, that causes over 200 kilometers of traffic jam.
Avoid coming because as soon as we stopped the country a year ago, the citizens are organizing again, by the Facebook and twitter, and there will be huge and massive demonstrations across the country during the days of the World Cup, with quite reasonable potential conflicts between protesters and police forces, worthy of scenarios seen during the Arab Spring a few years ago. Citizens who no longer feel represented by their professional and policy classes, and no longer tolerate the country that Brazil has turned... cradle of corruption, swindling, and theft of public money. We live in one of the most powerful economies in the world, but can not afford education, health and security for its population.
Avoid coming because without fault, you may be victims of what will happen in Brazil.