Brazil's Rio de Janeiro used to be a popular tourist destination, along with being the home of thousands of wealthy Brazilians, but now the city is known for its violence, high unemployment, public debt, and inflation.
Unemployment is over 12 percent and the country's taxes have reached an all-time high to pay for pensions. The pensions account for over half of the government's budget.
Brazil's economy isn't showing any signs of improvement either, it has contracted every quarter for the last two years.
Since the state government is nearly bankrupt, it is unable to provide police with the equipment needed to protect citizens.
Drug gangs have taken over the city's streets and wealthy areas are no longer safe either. Six bodies recently washed up on the rocks of the affluent Urca neighborhood.
Brazilians have been forced to flee their home to find safety.
According to Brazil's government figures, 41 percent more Brazilians have registered to vote from abroad in the upcoming presidential election compared to the 2014 election.
“I’m totally freaked out by what’s been happening, especially here in Rio,” said Brazilian actor Thiago Lacerda to The Wall Street Journal, who is also a father of three. “In several years, they’re going to want to go out, to start dating, without worrying about getting shot.”
But sadly, not everyone has the means to leave Brazil and escape the violence.
"Unlike Central Americans fleeing to the U.S. because of gang violence or in search of work, these Brazilians are often members of the country’s elite—“precisely the people who are in a better position to help change Brazil,” said Naercio Menezes Filho, director of the center for public policy at Insper, a São Paulo business school," writes the WSJ."About 52% of the richest Brazilians—those with a monthly household income of more than $2,500—want to emigrate, while 56% of college-educated Brazilians want to leave, according to a study published in June by Brazilian polling agency Datafolha. Overall, 43% of Brazilians would emigrate if they could."
About 20 years ago, Brazil was a much different place and citizens were optimistic about its future. But socialist-lite policies, which fosters regulations and increases in government sending for welfare, civil service salaries, and pension programs, has caused the country's now dire situation.
"In the 1990s, Brazil’s economy appeared to be one of the most promising in the southern hemisphere. The fifth largest country in the world in both area and population, and blessed with abundant natural resources, Brazil seemed to have put its earlier inflations, economic crises and political turmoil behind it. Then the socialists hijacked the future," writes the Panam Post. "Fifteen years ago, when Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (nicknamed “Lula”) was elected President, Brazil embraced the socialism of the Worker’s Party."
Author's note: Will "socialist-lite" policies ultimately destroy Brazil? Will Brazil soon be on the verge of collapse like Venezuela? It may be too early to tell...