Expat friends of mine in Rio were recently asked by a local they had met on the street if some sort of crime they had committed back home had attracted them to moving to Brazil. A little offended, they answered no, job transfers had brought them here.
Recent cases in the media have made me realize that the question was not as off-side as we all initially deemed it to be.
Take the Goldman case. A Brazilian woman living in the US, raising her child, an American citizen, married to an American, kidnaps her son, brings him here and the child's father can't seem to get custody back, even once the mother passes away. Sounds like a safe haven for kidnappers to me... For more info, check out RioGringa's site as she has the full scoop on the background of this story and first introduced me to it.
Recently Brazil made the news for being involved in a legal battle with Italy, after Brazil refused to extradite an Italian militant that Italy describes as a "terrorist". Brazil has granted this terrorist political refugee status. You can read more here.
Does it concern me for my personal safety living here that Brazil welcomes these types of people with open arms? Not particularly. However, what IS frightening is how quickly the numbers of these types could multiply now that the word is out that Brazil makes it so easy for them.
I must also comment on the irony of how seemingly "easy" it is for these people to be here, considering how difficult it was for us and all expats to migrate here. Have I mentioned that we don't have our Residence Cards yet????? And if you are a longtime reader of this blog, you know how long it took for us to get our visa's...