I traveled to Brazil, choosing the safest state (Santa Catarina) and I became a victim of a violent mugging with slashes on the face which has caused permanent disfigurement. I have bitten myself several times due to the bulge of the scar close to my lips. I can’t open my mouth properly, can’t pronounce words properly; and they are itchy. See photos.
The place where the violent mugging took place was supposedly safe, so I was told. There’s a bicycle path, a jogging path, right across from at least 4 major government buildings – the Federal Government Office, Federal Public Ministry (?), Federal Justice Building, and the Federal Police (of all places) and a tourist area! And it is by a major 10-lane avenue! So safe, right?
It happened between 6-7 in the evening, just after sundown. When it started I was alone and the man came from behind and tightened his arm around my neck. Initially, I thought it was just a drunk man and then he showed me his knife and said something in Portuguese about my cellphone; of course, I panicked and tried to get away, but his grip on me was just too strong.
I ended up falling on the ground, struggling to get him away from me. As I was on the ground struggling, I saw at least 1 person on motorcycle witnessing what was happening to me and then several more. I thought surely the violent mugging would stop now, but it did not.
I was screaming and shouting for help. While at least one person was watching and stood by some others ran off. I was kicking the mugger off of me and eventually I was freed of him, but he came back and I kicked him again. I was just kicking and kicking, not knowing if my kicks would hit him. He eventually ran off.
By that time, I was bleeding badly, shaking with fear, unable to get up. Some of the people used their phones to call for help, but help took a very long time. I noticed both of my hands were still on my cellphone. I was asked if I was robbed. That is when I noticed that my wallet is missing. I kept on screaming for police.
The ambulance was sent, but not the police; and I do not know why there was no police. Eventually I was told that it is “normal” for the police NOT to come. As the ambulance arrived, I noticed the mugger left his cap and informed the paramedics and I insisted that they take the cap as evidence and they brought it inside the ambulance. As we arrived in the hospital, I told the paramedics to give the cap to the police but they never did according to the police who I talked to several days after the mugging.
You would think it would be standard procedure but it was not; it just simply means that these violent crimes happen so frequently that they just do not care. In the hospital, I had to get several stitches. And I was told that I had to get a tetanus shot the next day.
The owner of the house I was staying at told me that Florianopolis was safe and that 70% of the residents have never experienced something bad; which means 30% have! 30% is extremely high for such a “safe” place. And then she told me her house had been robbed 3 times before. And that’s safe?
When I told her that I have told some friends of what happened to me, she was more concerned about the possible impact on tourism than the safety and lives of tourists. I find that a lot of Brazilians have that mentality and it is very disturbing. In fact, it was the owner of the house who told me that the area I was walking on was safe that’s the reason why I felt secure and then I got mugged. And that’s what a lot of Brazilians do, they lie about the safety of Brazil and would always blame you because you are gringo (foreigner) and therefore would be targeted by criminals as in any other country; and that’s when I tell them “NO!”
In some countries like China, the punishment for a crime committed to a foreigner is higher than that committed on a local; and no, in a lot of countries, the criminals wouldn’t want to target foreigners because they know it would be bad for their country and economy; yet some Brazilians justify crimes happening to foreigners; they just absolutely hate “gringos”.
1-2 days after the mugging, the owner of the house wanted to borrow “a few thousand dollars” from me with “20% interest in just 2-3 days. I asked exactly how much she needed and she told me she needed “only US$9000”. haha! Well, I did not bring that much. “But I saw you had thousands of dollars in your wallet.” “I thought you were going to buy a farm.”
I told her that she needed to borrow from several people then because I did not bring that much. 1-2 days later I asked her if she has figured out the money situation and she told me yes. However on the day I was leaving her house, she wanted to borrow again, somewhere “between US$1700-1600” as she needed to convert the currency into US$ and yet after calculating, she said she wanted to borrow US$1,600 plus so US$1,700 and again with 20% interest in just 2-3 days time.
Mind you she claimed that her salary was over US3,000 per month, if so why did she have to round up instead of down? And why did she need to borrow money at all? She also told me that she needed the money to pay for bank fees in order to receive money worth tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands for the sale of her deceased mother’s house. Very odd.
My friend told me not to lend to her. And I asked what guarantee does she have and she gave me the title for her 18 yr old car that she hasn’t even changed to her name! I found out after I left that she lost her car, her “husband” divorced her in less than a week after I left and “remarried” her 1-3 weeks later. How odd?
I told 2 expats in Florianopolis about the mugging and both of them experienced being robbed as well. One said his house was robbed not once, but twice and in different locations. His wallet and laptop were stolen. Another is when she and her husband were in Sao Paulo where they were robbed and held at knife point together with other victims. Brazil is really just extremely dangerous. It is not worth going to.
The owner of the house told me that it is useless to report to the police and not to bother, while her “husband” said that if I should go, I should go to the one in the airport where the tourist police speaks English but would have to wait until Monday as the tourist police was supposedly closed in the weekends.
So I went on the Monday after the mugging and I was told that they would look into the surveillance cameras but they never did. More than a week later, I was told to go to another police station – the robbery police, to report the mugging.
I was made to go from one police agency to another. And now, I do not know if they are doing anything. I told my Brazilian friends what happened and every single one of them told me not to expect anything from the police and that the police will just tell me to wait; and told me to wait, the police did. I told them that they need to recover the cap, to call the emergency hotline of Brazil to get the cellphone numbers of the witnesses that called in. I also asked them why it would take several days to look at the surveillance cameras to see if any of the cameras caught the violent mugger when it should only take minutes.
And now, the police told me not to keep calling them and they know what they are doing. I was also told that they were unable to get the surveillance videos in time; that the day I reported the crime to her office she requested for the videos the next days but have been erased just the day before. I told her that I reported the crime first to another police division and told her that I even showed the police report to her previously.
I asked her how come that police division did not ask for the surveillance videos immediately and she drew a blank. The police was just not interested. Police claimed they know what they were doing yet did nothing in a timely manner as a result, things could not be done. More about the Florianopolis police and how they took a page off the Rio Police playbook on Ryan Lochte on another update.
Murder Rate, measured in murders per 100,000 resident, Brazil is ranked 15th highest in the world and Santa Catarina, the safest Brazilian state, at 12.8, but still higher compared to most countries in the world.
I was told by the police that the murder rate in Florianapolis, the capital of Santa Catarina is 20. For comparison, what we think of as dangerous like Chicago pales in comparison with 5.2; and NYC, 3.9. Both the safest Brazilian state and it capital have murder rates higher than Iraq (8) and Afghanistan (6.5); both of which are war zones. You wouldn’t vacation in a war zone, would you? I failed to analyze this before visiting Brazil.
Brazil even has a murder rate comparable to war-zone Syria. If Florianopolis were a country, it would rank 19 with highest murder rate. These murder rates do not even include missing people. Attached is just one of the many posters at the bus terminal.
And these murder rates do not even include other violent crimes. In the city of Rio, there were 48,700 muggings in 2015 and 60,000 murders in the last 10 years and that’s in Rio alone! If we include the entire Brazil, who knows what the number would be.
So, I really, really regret visiting Brazil. And if you read the comments section of what I have posted on bestgore, it will show you the sick, twisted and very disturbing comments of a lot of Brazilians and a “Uruguayano” pawning Brazilian women.
No wonder their country, Brazil, is in such a mess. It is also apparent that a lot of them hate foreigners, whom they call “gringos”. I would never advise anyone to go to Brazil. The risk is too high.
To top it off, visitors in Brazil are not allowed to open bank accounts as mandated by the Brazilian Central Bank. Where else are tourists supposed to keep their cash? It is as if the Brazilian government wants foreigners to be robbed.
And on a side note, even when I just arrived in Brazil, bad things already started happening. When checking in at Sao Paulo for a flight to Florianopolis, the airline that I took, Avianca, cheated me.
When I booked the ticket, it stated that excess luggage will be charged 0.5% of the Normal Fare (YO6) per kg. I paid 150 Brazilian Reals for my ticket, but they were charging me based on 2,000 Brazilian Reals. I complained. I wrote several times and they eventually wrote back and told me that they based it on Normal Fare (YY).
I wrote to them again but there was no reply, finally I was able to chat with them online and when I asked the personnel if the normal fare is 2,000 Brazilian Reals, he said no. Avianca then wrote to me and said they would refund the money.
A few days later, they wrote to me again stating that the charge was correct and it was based on Normal Fare (YXBO6). So which one is it? Is the normal fare Y06, YY or YXB06? Or is there no normal fare? They just arbitrarily base it on any number they want? When I looked at the cost of the plane ticket online, it was never 2,000 Brazilian Reals. It was always lower and I have asked Brazilians about this and they agreed that 2,000 is not the normal price.
I have complained to my credit card company of course. And the complaint was decided IN MY FAVOR with finality (but not without fighting Avianca for it)! Wake up call for Avianca! Wake up call for its owner – Germán Efromovich and its CEO – Hernan Rincon! IS this how you do business? By ripping off people?
About Florianopolis, the beaches are terrible with no seashells. They are also dirty, smelly and polluted with oil slicks (pictures attached) from the fishing boats. The beaches also act as exits for sewer, so when you are swimming in it, you are actually swimming in….
The entire Lagoa de Conceicao is also an untreated sewage disposal and the stench, OMG, just like Beira Mar.
The food is overpriced (costs 2-5 times more compared to the US); never mind that it was expensive as long as it tasted good, but they actually tasted bad, even my cooking is better even though I do not know how to cook.
The clothes are also overpriced (cost 2-4 times compared to the US) but look weird and of bad quality. The trash-strewn side-walks are non-existent or in need of repair and with a lot of vicious rabid dogs. Sand fleas have bitten me all over the body.
Squatters – there many many areas and the police said the place I walked on was dangerous as behind the buildings is a squatter area. Jurere Beach is also ugly, overpriced and nothing to do. Corpus Christi beaches are cleaner. I swam in Corpus but not in Floripa!
More crime info on Florianopolis (the safest capital of Brazil!) Even the people of Florianopolis do not feel safe.
Thanks a lot for sharing your experiences with us, @ajbrazil. Obviously you feel strongly about the country, which is understandable, because such negative experience can leave invisible, but deep scars.
I have not been to Brazil, so I can’t confirm or disprove your comments. However I know that when I needed it after being Canadianized, Brazilians rallied behind me and showed support I would probably never get from any other country.
No country is perfect, so one can easily find the good and the bad anywhere they go. Getting mugged can easily make one only see the bad, and ignore the good. So while I appreciate @ajbrazil sharing his thoughts with us, I urge Best Gore reader to consider that which I have been preaching for years, and which stands regardless of where or who it’s coming from:
Verify, double verify and trust no one but your own gut.
I myself definitely hope to visit Brazil one day. If I get mugged and killed there, it would almost feel right, after such long love/hate relationship with Brazilian content on Best Gore. Fuck yeah, Brazil. The only problem is the new anti-Brazilian government: