Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rio de Janeiro Buildings Collapse and Media Worries About Games

Reuters has a thing or two to learn about class and holding their tongue. Rio de Janeiro had 3 buildings collapse last night next to the principal plaza Cinelandia. Thankfully it was later at night and thus the building and downtown area were generally empty in comparison to how it is during the day. The things that killed me was the first paragraph of Pedro Fonseca and Rodrigo Viga Gaier online "article" about what happened. Check it out:

A building collapsed in downtown Rio de Janeiro late on Wednesday, according to local media, in the latest incident highlighting the failure of authorities to improve the city's infrastructure amid preparations to host soccer's World Cup and the Olympics.

Seriously?! It just shows the lack of preparations because the swimming competition was obviously going to held in those buildings right now. And the fact that Rio de Janeiro hasn't just demolished all building, seeing that it is a 3rd world country and therefore everything is dangerous, and built the entire city from scratch is just ridiculous. The honor of hosting the World Cup and the Olympics should be stripped from this damned country and brought somewhere else!

Screw you guys. If office buildings collapsed in London 2 years before the World Cup the first response wouldn't be that they are unprepared for the games. You would focus on the efforts of the firemen, the distressed families, and the history of the area where it happened. I doubt anyone would ever say, "Look at that. This tragedy is a sign that London (or Athens or wherever) is unprepared."

I understand that there is an infrastructural issue with the games coming here and that people are concerned. I get it and it is a reasonable fear. But seriously, your stupid little games do not get to cast a shadow on everything that happens in this country. Get your head out of your ass, those are games and this is life. Buildings collapsed and people were injured. Many were rescued and there is fear that some are still trapped. Just a tad too early to be taking this and making it about your games.

And just to mention something that is quite obvious, you knew what you were getting into when you chose Brazil. It's not like the country appeared out of nowhere a couple of days ago. You made your bed, now lie in it and look pretty. 


  1. In one article I read, a survivor who escaped the building stated that the one building was in need of maintenance. Hello? Rio, meet your new most important word, and it isn't a new label for beer. “Maintenance”. Repeat after me, MAINTENANCE. Please!

    Until now, it never existed in the vocabulary of this City. It needs to, or there will simply be more episodes like the exploding restaurant, the crashing ferry and now these imploding buildings. I have walked in front if these two buildings may times, leaving the Cinelandia subway station they are on the route which takes you past the Petrobras Building to the Santa Theresa cable car. Oh, forgot, the Santa Theresa cable car which no longer exists because it lost its brakes and killed how many passengers (6?) and seriously wounded a dozen more due to………lack of maintenance.

  2. More directly to the point of your post, however, is that the sponsors of the Games should be concerned. Rio has a terrorist, but the terrorist in this case is apathy. For whatever reason Cariocas have put up with their roads, bridges, architectural treasures, and other vital infrastructure to literally fall into ruins. This terrorist is more dangerous and widespread than any foreign threat and yet it is ignored. Only the bare minimum gets done, and that is obviously not enough.

    I did forget to mention the exploding manholes. Sorry, manholes, no slight (and no pun) intended.

  3. PTRio,

    Acho que você não entende muito de historia do Brasil, não sei se você percebe, mas durante 2 séculos o Brasil entrou numa crise atrás da outra e teve uma ditadura atrás da outra.
    A mais ou menos 16 anos as coisas começaram a melhorar, e por mais que os brasileiros queiram que tudo seja resolvido de uma hora pra outra, vamos precisar de pelos menos uns 50/60 anos para que as coisas funcionem direito.
    O Rio ficou abandonado desde a mudança da capital para Brasilia, e não vai ser de uma hora pra outra que tudo vai ser resolvido.
    O prédio que desabou, assim como os bueiros que explodem são privados, não são admistrados pelo poder publico. E você pode ter certeza, que os proprietarios do predio ou as empresas de energia pagam propina para os fiscais "fecharem os olhos".
    Pra acabar com o problema, o Brasil precisa mais do que "Maintenance", o Brasil precisou ser construído praticamente do zero nesses ultimos 16 anos. Vai demorar muito ainda pra termos um infrastrutura aceitavel, uma educacao aceitavel, uma policia aceitavel, fiscais que não recebam propina e pricipalmente uma população que não aceite resolver qualquer problema subornando funcionários publicos.

  4. Anon, I appreciate what you are saying and understand your comments, but it is your patient and tolerant outlook which is difficult for me to accept. Normally, I am a big fan of patience and tolerance, those are good qualities, until it comes to safety.

    I do have an understanding of Brasilian history, and have read more about Brasilian history these past 8 years than pretty much anything else. I collect photography books of old Rio going back many years and enjoy walking in various neighborhoods and admiring the mix of architectural styles in Rio. Rio truly was and still is an extraordinary and marvelous city, full of imaginative architecture and unique structures, parks and squares, though government has failed it in many ways through simple lack of maintenance. Yes, thankfully, things are improving. Rio should be bathed and well dressed for the Copa and Olympics, well, maybe just in time for the Olympics, but after that?

    Still, going from horrendous to merely terrible over the past two decades should not be enough in my view. Cariocas should demand more and better from their elected leaders and from themselves. The right to vote is the most powerful weapon known to mankind. Yes, the nation's capital left town for Brasilia and this had a very serious impact on not just the economics of Rio but also the pride and the soul of Rio. But that happened 50 years ago. Isn't it time to say "enough!"? Elderly people are injured just trying to use the sidewalks, for goodness sake.

    I love Rio, and I love the Cariocas. I make lots of jokes, and many criticisms, but I am here by choice (my Brasilian wife actually wants to leave Brasil...)and I will stay here as long as I am able. But it upsets me to see innocent people lose their lives and/or their loved ones, and/or suffer serious injuries, all of which could have been prevented by enforcement of basic maintenance standards. Safety is the job of everyone, but the government must set the example and provide enforcement. Accidents can happen, they happen everywhere, but at their root is usually a human failure. More so in Rio, it seems to me.

    I am moving back into Rio, from the Niteroi side, hopefully this coming month. Is there anyone who would like to join me in learning how to repair the Portuguese Stone sidewalks, and devoting a half day a month (or more if possible) toward maintaining Rio, rather than just complaining about it? The City is certainly not doing its job with respect to these sidewalks, and it seriously impacts older and physically challenged people trying to get around. Something not all that difficult to do, in fact it should be fun - sort of like putting a puzzle together, yet it makes a difference. Based on the few sidewalk repair workers I have watched, all you need is a bucket full of stones, some sand and mortar, and a hammer. Yes, it is an art form in Portugal, but here in Rio it is a mess and a safety hazard and I fail to see how a group of volunteers willing to learn how to fix the dangerous holes in these sidewalks can cause any harm. The goal would be to get the City to hire more workers to do the job, I would not want to take work away from anyone. If there is enough interest I will create an email address for volunteers to make themselves known. Otherwise, if you see an older gringo hunched over a hole in the sidewalk with a hammer, don't be alarmed!

  5. Well said, Rachel

    PTRio, I'd be happy to join your sidewalk crusade - just as soon as I get back from the beach

  6. hmmm anon, I don't think Brazilians want everything fixed in an hour. Maybe the culture of the rich do, but not poor people here and they are the don't agree with that.

    I remember in when the bridge broke connection the twin cities to the Wisconsin border and many people were killed during their transportation to work and school. No one questioned the infrastructure of the US. They questioned bridges though.

    Although we have a lot of infrastructure problems here and politicians are not able to handle what's going on because most of them steal all the money given to infrastructure projects, it's really unfortunate how small our minds are in the first world about the third. It's 2012, definitely time to change some schools of thought. After all someone in Bric might be replacing some western country's power pretty quick.

  7. p.s. I am so sorry for the loses in Rio, I hope they can save as many people as possible!

  8. I have to say that PT has a point when it comes to lack of maintenance. Seriously, there is a mega lack of it here. At the same time, the stuff for the games are generally new or, if not, are being renovated. Thus the maintenance issue doesn't exist. They need not worry.

    And Anon does have a point. Brazil has consistently dealt with a hell of a lot of inconsistency. There have been dictators, inflation issues, changes of currency, changes of presidents, scandal, etc etc. I have to say, considering the history, they are not doing too bad at alL!

  9. Wait, let me get this strait? you read that archical and it pissed you!!!

    Mrs Rant, Voce virou Brasileira!!! Cool... Vai ver o que vc pegou eh uma virose que causa Tupiniquines hehehe (Wait until you see a hollywood movies with supposedly Brazilian speaking spanish)

    PTRio, to some extent you are correct. We do not expect/demand as much as an american would and I think if there was more demands the situation would improve.

    The Bondinho case, land slid and year recurrent floods is Goverment business and must be prevented.

    The restaurant that exploded was due to a criminal act from the owner for me it is the same as someone in Brooklyn leaving the stove on 24hrs to observe sabbath or someone trying to deep-fly a turkey and setting the neighborhood on fire... Unless a goverment official knew of the irregularity and let it pass I can't see how you can blame the government over this

    Sorry, but "a survivor who escaped the building stated that the one building was in need of maintenance" is hardly proof that what cause this was lack of maintenace... We just don't know enough about this accident at the moment to really know what happened or caused it.

    what if a structural faillure due to bad engeneiring or human error (cutting a structure wall etc) on the reform of the taller building brought the other two down - hardly any government fault...

    any way, I think you might be interested in the following blog:

  10. I think they proved that the restaurant owner was using illegal gas, meaning he brought in the containers and didn't use the district gas from the street piping.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. (I had to re-post due to the number of spelling mistakes...)

      I know, My point was that if someone is willing to do something criminal you can't blame the government for his/her actions.

      Even if he was caught using illegal gas by inspection, this would have not prevented the restaurant owner to start using illegal gas again... Government aren't omnipresent nor omniscient.

      I'm not saying that the Brazilian Government (Federal and Local) should do more (they can do much more), and I think the Government is guilty for not doing more on preventing many tragedies (Bondinho, Land slidem floods etc) but to blame Gov. for everything is wrong, IMO

  11. Marcio, thanks for that link to the calcadaportuguesa blog. Some beautiful work is shown there. I suppose it is a sad sign of the times there has been only one post in the past year, and before that a year between posts. The stone work is indeed an art form, unfortunately on the sidewalks of Rio it has turned into a safety hazard. I hope I can help draw some attention to it and help preserve this art form against those who want it removed (the older residents of Copacabana). It truly adds character, and everywhere I have been in Brasil has a unique pattern for their stone sidewalks.

    And, yes, violating a law by using illegal bottled gas which results in an explosion is mostly the fault of the owner of that restaurant. But, nobody figured out for how long that a restaurant had no gas usage on its meter despite using gas? That makes me wonder. But, still, it was a maintenance problem too, private perhaps, but maintaining a safe gas connection requires frequent inspection and testing for leaks.

    And, of course it is presumptuous to assume the building collapse last night was due to a maintenance issue, I did not mean to imply that. Hopefully we will learn more as time passes.

  12. Acho que não me expressei bem no meu primeiro comentário.
    Eu não quis dizer que os brasileiros tem que esperar quietos e não cobrar os governantes.
    O que eu quis dizer, é que mais do que cobrar governantes, os brasileiros tem que mudar a mentalidade de tirar vantagem de tudo.
    Pelo que eu vi no noticiario, os prédios desabaram por causa de uma obra que não havia sido autorizada e os fiscais da prefeitura provavelmente "fecharam os olhos" para a irregularidade.
    Então não adianta só cobrar os governantes, a mentalidade do brasileiro tem que mudar, enquanto houver pessoas pagando suborno haverá corruptos aceitando o dinheiro.
    E uma mudança de mentalidade não acontece em 10 ou 20 anos, provavelmente vamos precisar de muito mais tempo do que isso.

  13. oh god .. I was very sad when I read last night, when will this kind of situation will change? What matters be considered the 6th largest economy in the world, if we have so many problems ...? Sometimes I'm hopeless ...

    Escutem a música "Brasil" de Cazuza, é a mais pura realidade brasileira, e é porque a música foi feita nos anos 80, durante a grande inflação...

  14. Hm. My first post disappeared, trying again...

    Maintenance issues are a problem across the board, not one limited to just the public sector. As a general rule, it seems Brazilians are very good about preventative care when it comes to their appearance and's a shame they can't also apply that same care to their tangible assets as well! If the public sector is bad, the private sector is no better. Whether the issue is major and structural or small and irritating (like termites, dripping faucets and mold, all problems we've had in apartments here), there's rampant apathy on the part of the owner, even though short-term preventative care will save much money and hassles down the road. I only hope that these tragedies serve as a wake-up call to Brazilians, so that accidents such as these can be avoided in the future. Fingers crossed.
    -Jenna, from

  15. Folks,

    This was a horrible tragedy, and in no way is related to a 3rd world country, or Rio being abandoned since the capital was transferred to Brasilia or we are not even sure yet, if it was in fact a matter of lack of maintenance or paying off inspectors to look the other way.
    We still don't know why these buildings collapsed, this is absolutely rare in Brazil or anywhere else for that matter.
    First of all, I never hear of a building collapsing due to lack of maintenance!! What would one do to a building to keep it from collapsing? I never heard of such a if you tell me there was an explosion due to lack of maintenance on a gas line, that is another story...
    The guys who wrote the article is clearly biased against Brazil and Rio.
    This kind of accident is not exclusive of Brazil, has everyone forgotten about the "BRIDGE COLLAPSE IN MINNEAPOLIS"?????? It killed a lot of people!!
    There are CRANES collapsing in New York city all the time, and GAS explosions in Manhattan are somewhat common nowadays.
    Joan Rivers and her daughter nearly got killed by a gas explosion on 49th street in New York city 2 days ago, it almost hit their Town car.
    I don't see anyone calling the US a 3rd world country.
    There is a total double standard when people judge Brazil for things like this, time to wake up people.
    Just like Rachel said, if this happened in London or Tokyo, the conversation would be very different.


    1. Good point- why would a building collapse due to a lack of maintenance????

      Nina mentioned the bridge collapse above, and the gas pipe explosion in Northern California (San Mateo?) that completely decimated 6 homes came to my mind (which was a lack of maintenance.)

      Why do people think bad things only happen in Brazil?

    2. You go Ray!

      It's so true, there is a HUGE double standard when it comes to things happening in Brasil. It frustrates me to no end!

      It comes out of stupidity of 95% of the American public who thinks Brazil is still a primitive country that does not have electricity or towns that consist of more than thatched roofs and huts. Try and tell them some real facts and they'll shrug their shoulders and forget what you said 3 seconds later.

      In any case, this is a very sad case. I hope they get to the bottom of the cause so they can prevent it from happening in the future (which it will probably not...)


    3. And this inspired me so much that I wrote my own rant just seconds ago. It feels good to decompress.

    4. Its not that we see Brazil as a primitive society and their are some 1st world parts of Brazil but if you read the history of Brazil you will understand why it is the way it is. The country has a history of being unstable it was under military rule till 1989 that was not a long time ago. They government did not put money where it was suppose to go to grow the country. The economy is also very unstable with their money losing value and going up and down bad inflation bad interest rates. They also have bad infrastructure because the money was not put there. Their roads are not good nor the health care is not balanced, and education needs money which never makes it their. They need to tighten up to get with 1st world standards.

      Brazil is still considered a emerging economy (developing). It doesn't mean that other countries don't have have problems some worse some less worse but that is not the issue. But lets face it some other countries are run better with better systems and infrastructure in place that is a FACT not a myth. Learn form them.

      Instead of denying what Brazil is and getting offended maybe the intelligent thing to do is for the citizens to ban together and try to correct the parts that are not working.

    5. I am very familiar with Brazil's history. One of the reasons it even developed in this direction is because initially Portugal was using it for its resources, not settling it like England did with the US.

      I am not denying what Brazil is. I personally know about the issue with building codes and such. What I am saying is that the timing was wrong and so is the perception. Yes Brazil/Rio needs to be prepared for the games but it is also a place where people live. People were hurt. People died. People need to contain themselves and at least wait for the bodies to be removed from the rubble before making it about games.

    6. Hi Rachel my comment was not even directed toward you. It was toward the above commenter's, and that is a very good observation by the way I was talking to my husband about that. I and he too believe that it was also because Brazil was not settled a fact a lot of people do not realize.

  16. Great post Rachel...our first priority should definitely be those affected by this tragedy and second how it will effect the games.

  17. I believe the point of this is that the world's priorities, as seen by this reporter, seem to be focused on what will serve the masses and the not issues of the people, which is perhaps why the country has the issues it does.

  18. i just read on the newspaper that the buildings were regularised and legally ok.

  19. The problem isn't just maintenance;'s a mix of maintenance and "jeitinho".

    "Laws" exist her saying what you should do (like fix breaks if you have a contract to run the cable cars or buses or to maintain/upgrade gas and power lines, or to hire an engineering when doing major reforms so you don't take out a load bearing wall). But, enforcement is lax and their are no decent PUNISHMENTS. (What has happened to the gas or bonde companies? Was anyone found guilty? Were they threatened with losing their "concessao?)

    If anyone was "punished" for doing something wrong, it would be a slap on the wrist and much less than the gains they earn through their jeitinho (building a little higher on the hill than they should so they can have more space, or in this case, likely paying cheap laborers without an engineer to take out walls, expanding commercial space so they can make more profit because 60m2 right now is renting out at 4X-6X what 30m2 is in this city). When everything does go to hell, at first we blame the city and ask them to clean things up, but after the first three weeks of paying to fix the big things...they give up. And the person to blame is never held accountable. They get to keep their profits and it is average people who lose everything, even their lives, as a result (look at the recent building that fell in Recreio. Built by 18year old immigrants from the N.East, apartments were sold for 100.000 each. Someone made over R$2.000.000 in profit on that and a lot of people lost their life savings, but "justice" will never be found).

    I think the coverage has been harsh, but I feel like in the end this could be in part because of the Olympics and media coverage itself, which has pushed property prices through the roof and led to a lot of "jeitinho" to get a piece of the pie. The government and many residents only seem stirred by international news, so even if it is unfair, Im glad to hear it because it is the only thing that has a chance in provoking some kind of change.

    Cariocas need to stop patting themselves on the back for getting away with doing something legally prohibited and start realizing that these actions have consequences. Only when there are punishments (both from the government and from others who socially condemn the "jeitinho" and "lei de minimo esforco") will things improve. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening anytime soon.

    1. Don't even get me started on people getting like 6 yrs in jail down here for Murder! It's insane!

  20. In related news:

    We can not and should not compare countries, cultures or standards of living. In my eyes, the first story that must be/should have been told is the tragedy, the families, and those who risk their own health in the recovery. We can not and should not throw stones. How and if they impact the games, and an in depth survey of how a society can improve is something that needs to be done "com calma" and over time. Just like politics in the US there will always be a stark contrast in opinions in the manner in which society can and should be "improved". S.

    1. I like the idea of com calma and looking at ways to improve. You can always point fingers. Finding a solution is the difficult part

  21. Yeah, these things happen in 'First World' countries, but they happen less frequently. In Rio - there was the bonde crash; ferryboat incident; exploding manholes; exploding gas canister at the restaurant; leaking sewage (as Rachel mentioned in a previous post); problems with the Supervia; problems with the metro - it's always something. Brazil is now the 6th biggest economy in the world - and the money is there to resolve these issues. But... we all know where this money goes. The other problem is an inept judicial system. Who will be punished for this incident and when?

    1. I don't want to deny that Rio has serious problems and needs to improve many things. And I think that last Anonymous poster makes a good point about the judicial system - when cases are regularly tied up for 5 or even 10 years, you have to say the system is failing in one of its key requirements.

      But I think it's also good to remember that hosting the Olympics and World Cup (WC is national, but still...), means that there is a biased spotlight on Rio. Occurrences that wouldn't be deemed newsworthy if they occurred in other cities, will hit international headlines for the next few years because of this.

      On top of that, many of us have more interest in Rio than, say, Manchester (UK), so we are more aware of Rio's problems. But I bet you someone living in Manchester could reel off a list of failures just as long as of the last anonymous poster. Gun and knife crime, gang violence, crack and heroin addiction, transport problems, unemployment, antisocial behaviour. The point I'm trying to make is that all big cities have problems and many of Rio's are not unique. Nothing personal against Manchester, but I would *far* rather live in Rio.

    2. That's true - Rio is under the spotlight due to the Cup and Olympics. But i don't feel that Rio is being 'persecuted' as such. Any host city will be under scrutiny. However, Rio is unique in that it will be host to now just one, but TWO massive events consecutively - which i believe is a first. So yeah, this whole 'anti-Rio' thing just doesn't fly. On the contrary, the world is quite fond of Brazil.

      But returning to the original point - these kind of incidents just shouldn't happen as often as they are occurring in Rio.

    3. Dude, I am starting to get a little insecure. My readers are smart and opinionated just the right amount. What on Earth are you guys doing reading my blog?? ;)

  22. Replies
    1. I'm sure we'd hear Satan's screams from hell if she wasn't ;)

  23. This was a renovation project that went bad that was not authorized by the city as most projects aren't. They don't enforce building codes which is a huge problem.

    In this day and age the year 2012 with the Internet and all the knowledge everyone has access to I think Brazil should shape up and start tightening up their government and doing the right thing. Start getting with it as far as how to run a city or country. They are in the spotlight. Doesn't make me want to go buy any real estate down there.

    1. They should. The problem is lack of checks and balances. There is no system that really works when it comes to this kind of thing. Plus these buildings were at least 50 yrs old...

  24. I think one of the reasons things like this happen is that Brazil (Rio) is not a litigious culture. This is both a blessing and curse. We don't have a lot of problems similar to Brazil in the US because of the threat of lawsuits. In the US, anytime a building collapses, plane/car crashes or even a hot coffee spills on someone, there is going to be a lawsuit. Unfortunately, the liability issue in the US has caused a lot of freedoms formally enjoyed to disappear or be outlawed in modern US society.

    I feel that Brazil (at least in Rio), undoubtedly, has more personal freedoms than the US but there is a greater risk of injury due to a lack of incentive to keep things safe or to code.

    So the question is, would you rather live in a litigious culture with minimal risks and less liberties or would you rather have more liberties with greater risk?

    I don't believe that a "balance" can realistically be achieved nor maintained due to inherent corrupt politics and human nature that would cause such a pivotal change to continue down the slippery slope. Remember, we are talking about government and attorneys here.

  25. Annon,

    I refuse to argue the stupidity that stuff like this happens more in 3rd world countries and not in the US or Europe or whatever. If you think this way, you either have no memory or have never stepped foot in the US or other countries where this kind of crap happens just the same.

    Plus the term 3rd world is really out dated, and no longer used. Countries like Brazil and China are no longer refered to as 3rd world, but developing countries. You couldn't possibly classify Brazil and China with Haiti, Uganda in the same category for example, or what purpose would classifications according to level of development have if you threw apples and oranges in the same basket.


  26. Greg,

    I wish I could agree with your theory, and I used to think like that before I moved to the US. My conclusion is that living in a litigious society doesn't really make a bit of a difference when it comes to being safe or safer.

    I remember when a subway station in London caught on fire in the 90's and a lot of people died, 100 year old wooden escalators caught on fire and trapped hundreds of commuters in a smoke and fire hell and trains kept passing by the station and wouldn't stop to rescue people. So, was that corruption and lack of government oversight? Lax laws, rules and regulations? Is the UK a 3rd world country? Think about it!

    The recent gas explosion in a suburb of San Diego destroyed many homes and killed a lot of people

    , California 3rd World? I don't think so, it's the highest regulated place on earth!!!

    Bridge collapse in Minnesota a few years ago, government corruption? Lack of inspections? Lack of money to repair the bridge? 3rd World Minnesota! Nope!

    Cranes have actually been falling out of the sky in New York city for the past decade or so, killing people, destroying property. Is Manhattan laxed about construction laws? Think again! You won't be able to do any renovation without city's approvals. Corruption? Lack of proper inspection? Corrupted inspectors? Greed? Try all the above!!! 3rd World Manhattan? I don't think so!


    1. California, Minnesota, New York State are "financially bankrupt", none of the major banks accept their IOU's...does that also makes them 3rd world?

  27. Rachel,

    The building was actually built 71 years ago, and according to reporters, over the years, different companies that own different floors did all kinds of alterations with little supervision. New windows were built a a side of the building that had no windows, columns were removed to built more open office spaces, load bearing walls were removed and altered without engineers approval. Long story short, there was chaos and complacency when it came to alterations in the building's 71 years history. Keep in mind, this didn't happen overnight. Witness describe HUGE cracks on the walls all over the buildings, inside and outside.
    My parents have lived in the same high rise apartment building in Sao Paulo for the last 34 years. You can't remove a TILE without previous authorization and oversight by the building's "SINDICO", who is the responsible to enforce the rules and regulations of every and each building in every city in Brazil.
    The "SINDICO" demands to see a "Blueprint" of each renovation which is done by a "Civil Engineer" and or an "Architect", both have to follow the building's strict construction code, watching closely walls that can and cannot be removed or touched.
    Checks and balances have to come from every citizen, the government alone would never be able to prevent such abuses. We ( the citizens) have to participate in the process of "Checks and balances".
    I have always seen this process followed strictly at my parent's condominium, but clearly the owners and "Sindico" at this commercial building in Rio were very laid back and laxed, culminating in the ultimate tragedy for all of them.
    We can only hope that "Sindicos" all over Rio and other places where they don't take the basic rules seriously will wake up and do the right thing.


  28. Greg,

    Please don't get me wrong, I know you didn't mention anything about 3rd world country. I was still under the influence of my previous comments. I hope you got my point. By the way, I like the way you think and often agree with your points of view.



  29. Many complaints here about Brazil being dealt a double standard. Is this true though? I think certain events have a stronger association to certain places because of frequency, not prejudice. Although it does not surprise me that people are more prone to believe specific things about specific places, I don't believe this is what brings Brazil bad press over all.

    Take crime for instance. Brazil's murder rate is 24 per 100,000, while the United States comes in at 4 using the same measure.
    This means that you are 6 times more likely to be murdered in Brazil than in the US. Now that is quite something, isn't it?

    One of the reasons stats are collected is to 'get a grip' over the meaning of what happens around us. This way it is possible to better understand what's going on, and not get skewed by emotion. For instance: the brutality of a criminal act, when occurring in multiple locations - let's say Brazil and the United States - could be misleading, one could conclude that both places are brutal in equal measure; but that is false.
    This is why it's best to turn to stats as often as possible when discussing issues like crime, infrastructure, ect. After all it's only with proper use of data that you can arrive at this

    Btw any follow up news concerning Joan Rivers? I know Rachel and Alex are huge fans. Hang in there guys, the Joanster is a survivor if there ever was one.

  30. As a so called westerner, whatever that is, from a developed nation (Holland, though we're broke, but we're developed because we have welfare and access to facebook and twitter) I can honestly tell you that the media in the so called west, whatever that is, has an agenda of lying to it's people who don't have the time to think for themself and believe everything they read, and also enjoy bringing down nations, like Brazil. How? simple, you hit them on their self esteem, pump up the news with out dated info, mix it and the news looks so bad and create a Divide and conquer situation. They do it with deforestation numbers of the past and add it with the numbers of today so it looks bad, similar with murder numbers, or this one is a great example..building collapsed and that is a problem for holding the olympics. You get the picture? It is as old like the so called british empire who invented it. Now for some people it sounds like a conspiracy, but that's how they work. That's the problem of corporate news, they are there to spin news if it's a must to Bring down the self esteem of the emerging nations who don't like to play with the neo-liberal games, and hit them as much as you can and all you need a big group of chumps who will follow you and continue with the job. Sometimes it's succesful and sometimes not at all. In Brazil, they are as divided with the so called left vs right paradigm, "oh no it's the toucans, oh no it's the pt, etc etc (exactly the same in the US, though it' slowly changing to: It's you vs corporations). The longer Brazilians act like that, rather of focusing on the LOCAL people who are really responsible for what happened, nothing will change.

    The gritty poet, there is one problem with the Statistics from the US and why your comparison is flawed is because it has been proven over and over that the US government manipulates the numbers of crime. God knows they also do that in Brazil, because you can't trust government numbers 100%, but I'm not sure since I don't live there. the number is rising but not mentioned because Federal Government ordered so to make the "economic recovery" look good. The Fast and Furios scandal is a great example and not mentioned by main stream media. Crime rate at US-Mexican border is even worse than what they explain on mainstream media. If you're a member of shadowstats by John Williams, you can find more info...also about the rising and real unemployed numbers.