RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – It may be a sign that I’ve been an expatriate too long (or long enough) that the word “football” means soccer to me – as it is internationally known. For better or worse being American comes with a lot of stereotypes, and although I wouldn’t change where I’m from, it strikes me sometimes how unaware we are of (my new catch-phrase) “football-soccer”.
Another American cliche is our love of guns, and last week we had a great article about how many guns are made in Brazil, and sold to the United States. The Brazilian total of almost eight million firearms sold to the U.S. between 1971 and 2011, while the next biggest importers of Brazilian guns: Argentina (215,216), Paraguay (154,711), Yemen (112,272) and Germany (109,273).
Our front page article this week is about a report showing the number of guns with legal licenses in Brazil jumping from 5,161 in 2004 to 31,500 in 2012, around sixty percent were for regular citizens. However it is mostly attributed to a law passed in 2003 made it illegal to own unregistered firearms, and an amnesty period to encourage people to get documented.
What really struck me in the article though was: “The Small Arms Survey estimated that there were some 17.6 million civilians guns in circulation in Brazil in 2010, giving a gun ownership rate of 8 per 100 people. Comparatively, in the U.S., Congressional research indicates there are between 270 million and 310 million guns owned by civilians in the US, giving a rate of gun ownership of 101.5 guns per 100 people.”
God bless America as they (we) say.
Speaking of, soon on the calendar for Rio is the Catholic World Youth Day on July 23rd to 28th. We haven’t covered this too much (yet) but Rio is expecting an estimated two million visitors and the new Argentinian Pope Francis.
Home to the largest population of the world’s estimated 1.2 billion Catholics, there was some speculation that Brazil would produce the next front man. Yet the honor went to the rivals, Argentina, rivals especially in football (soccer).
Now, back to futbol/football/soccer – the FIFA Confederations Cup next month will be a test run for the FIFA 2014 World Cup games. The Cidade Maravilhosa will host three key matches in June, starting with Italy facing Mexico on Sunday, June 16th, and ending with the tournament Finals match on Sunday, June 30th.
I was back in New York a couple weeks ago visiting, and at a dinner with friends an Englishman/South African who was inviting himself down for the World Cup, had no interest in coming for the Confederations Cup. His rational was there are so many other important international tournaments going on that it didn’t really make the radar – who knew?
Yet while the Confederations Cup has less competitive significance than the World Cup (June 12th to July 13th, 2014), the world will be watching to see how Brazil does in terms of hosting large events, and this year has seen record ticket sales, so … we’re excited.
Speaking of excited, last week we held our first Rio MixUp, the Rio DJ MixUp @ Mekong. These are planned to be international arts and cultural events aimed at exposing foreign talent and enthusiasts with Carioca insiders, and vice versa. Somehow, Jimmy Buffet showed up – yes – we hung out with Mr. Margaritaville himself. Looking forward to him coming back soon, thanks again Jimmy!