Three years after the world cup and one year after the Olympics, the city looks eerily deserted. No, there has not been mass migration to other places, but the doom that loomed above us fell full force immediately after the torch was extinguished.
We all knew about the grafts, kickbacks, corruption, we all knew that the politicians catered to the extremes of the population: to the lowest levels, dependent on welfare programs and jobs generated by the international events, and to the upper middle class, nurtured in elite schools by leftist teachers who preach a progressive agenda. In either case, critical thought means marxism, not simple common sense. And common sense said the shit was going to hit the fan.
Professional demonstrators, black blocs, and other beasts constantly turn the historic center into a battlefield, vandalizing public and private property with little or no consequence, crying “fascists” every time the police crack down on them. Petty criminals, often underage and even children maraud the streets, confident that they are out of the reach of the law because of human rights and because they can´t be held accountable for anything.
Unemployment spiked, the State administration has went bankrupt for several reasons, corruption among them, and a former governor along with other politicians, businessmen and administrators are in jail and/or being prosecuted. The tolerance for corruption is at an all time low.
Inflation is low due to a fall in demand, people do not have money to buy stuff, and the state has no money to invest. The previous inflationary policy buried the government in debt and made sure that hundreds of thousands depended on state benefits in order to survive, so when the government can´t pay its debts… and printing money does not help, we know that for sure cause we have lived that before?
How are we going solve it?
A population who has been told for years that the state will provide can´t understand or accept the reality that there comes a point when the state will not be able to provide. Those who can, immigrate, those who have big money, transfer assets to places with lower taxes and lowers risks (of takeover, for instance), leaving only speculative capital to pave the way a) for inflation, or b) deflation due to sharp fall of demand.
People want a sum zero game, but the truth is that it is never like that. Something or someone´s got to give.
I believe the reason there are no big crowds on the streets demonstrating is that we realized that the general elections of 2018 is right beyond the corner and no one can point a good candidate for anything, not even for building administrator, let alone for president, the house or senate.
Lula is playing his cards to stay out of jail turning a corruption investigation into a political persecutions, which is so phony that only the claque of unionists and deluded leftist still stand by him, many in his own party adopt a low profile and keep distance.
The number of representatives and senators under investigation is so high that we can only hope that new faces on the next legislature truly mean new ideas, but I doubt it, everybody doubts it, cause where are the candidates?
Rio is an allegory of Brazil: it is unkempt, broken, barely standing, and against all odds it still has some resemblance of order and of institutions. It is full of problems, from unemployment, to violence and debt, and still it goes on. People get up in the morning and mind their business, people love and suffer, and do their best to survive and live their lives in some fulfilling way. We bend under the weight of the present, and we can´t see the future ahead, but we move on, forward, for faith or plain stubbornness. Call us stubborn , call us resilient.
One thing I know for sure: I don´t trade my city or my country for anyone else´s, and simply by staying I am fighting for it! And no evil lasts forever, we will make it through.