Much has been written in the media lately about Rio being reinvented, particularly with the Olympics and World Cup coming. When I am asked about the current state of Rio I am always hesitant to answer. I realize that my answer is totally dependent on my experiences there, which are in no way representative of what is going on in the city as a whole. We've been in Rio for over two years. Touch wood, we have not had any "incidents" happen to us, a few near-misses, sure, but nothing major. My opinion of Rio's current security state is largely dependent on this continuing to be true.
I also realize that after living in the big city for as long as we have, we've become hardened to certain things, again, we are not objective.
Nevertheless, in true Brazilian fashion, I will still offer an opinion! I do think that Rio is changing for the better, and it is being cleaned up. I hear about less incidents of horrendous crime, the drive to the airport doesn't seem to scare my guests the same way it used to before the "walls" along the road went up, and I feel safer overall. Maybe it's the Polyanna in me, who knows.
Smithsonian magazine put out an interesting article on Rio's reinvention this month, check it out here. It talks about the opportunity Rio currently has to repair itself, and the hows and whos, shortcuts and challenges of getting Rio "there".
On the other hand, an interesting quote from a piece The Guardian put out on the recent gunfight at the Intercontinental Hotel in Sao Conrado:
"We have been sharing in the illusion that Rio is entering another chapter, turning the page on the horror," he said. "But this shows that the pacification units are merely islands of excellence in an ocean of barbarity that is very much alive."
My only comment on this incident is that since living in Rio I have not heard of a single incident of a tourist being killed here, though I have heard of SEVERAL meeting such unfortunate fates in countries such as Mexico. Yet people seem to have no fear of going there, but Rio is terrifying to them. Strange. Apparently this incident was enough to scare off the stars of Twilight from filming in Rio!
Anyway! I think I have been sharing in the illusion, too. I have relaxed, about a lot of things. Or maybe just become lazy? Maybe I have changed.
What do you think? Is Rio getting safer? Has it changed?