How Ryan Lochte went from victim to suspect in Rio

Will Carless – Global Post, 08/18/2016

You’ve probably heard by now about the robbery scandal in Rio de Janeiro involving the United States’ 12-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte and his swimming friends — and how Brazilian officials accuse them of lying.

 

The details are really fuzzy, but here’s a 25-second synopsis of what’s believed to have happened (if you already know the basics, skip down below the video):

Lochte and three other Team USA swimmers went out drinking in Rio on Saturday night. They left a party in the early hours of Sunday morning, and got back to the athletes’ village just before 7 a.m. Later that day, Lochte claimed that their taxi had been held up by men calling themselves police. The robbers took Lochte’s money but left his cellphone, he told NBC News. Rio police started investigating.

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Video undermines U.S. swimmers’ account of Rio robbery

Rodrigo Viga & Jeb Blount – Reuters, 08/18/2016

Brazil TV aired a video on Thursday that showed four U.S. Olympic swimmers did not tell the whole truth when they said they were robbed at gunpoint in an incident that has marred the image of South America’s first Olympic Games.

The security-camera images broadcast on Globo TV appeared to show the swimmers, including Olympic gold medallists Ryan Lochte and Jimmy Feigen, in a dispute with staff at a Rio gas station, a fact they did not mention to police in their accounts.

“The athletes lied to us about their story,” a top Rio police official told Reuters on Thursday, declining to be identified because the matter was still under investigation.

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The Worst Predictions About Rio Haven’t Come True. That Tells Us a Few Things About Brazil and the Media.

Alex Cuadros – The New York Magazine, 08/11/2016

If you only saw the headlines in the lead-up to the Olympics, Rio de Janeiro sounded like the lawless city from a postapocalyptic movie: “Wave of deadly gunbattles hit Rio as the Olympics get closer”; “Body parts wash ashore next to Rio Olympic venue.” Glib listicles played up the threat of political unrest, terrorist attacks, Zika-carrying mosquitoes, and “super-bacteria” in the sewage-tainted bay. One writer used the term “disastrophe” to describe the situation and claimed that so-called “‘lightning kidnappings’ are nearly as popular in Brazil as feijoada” (a delicious bean stew). Another writer topped him with this analogy: “the global event equivalent of a fire tornado touching down on a killer bee sanctuary.”

It was like the Olympics of hyperbolic Olympics scaremongering. Now that the games are on, the hysteria is already looking misplaced. This would have been clear enough to anyone who simply took a walk around the city. The last time I went, at the end of June, Rio was functioning more or less in its usual way: slightly chaotic but manageably so, albeit with fresh construction for the Olympics marring what is perhaps the world’s most beautiful urban topography. Off of Copacabana Beach, I could see locals hopping waves — which suggested that concerns over the quality of the water might be somewhat inflated, too.

It was like the Olympics of hyperbolic Olympics scare-mongering.

I should disclose here that I myself have taken part in the Rio-bashing. I moved to Brazil in 2010, back when the country seemed on the verge of becoming a world power, and watched as the Olympics became an excuse to funnel public money to rich campaign donors for not always useful projects. Still, even I have to admit that Rio has made dramatic improvements in recent years. Perhaps the most dramatic is that the homicide rate, while still appallingly high, has fallen by two-thirds since the 1990s. Even after a spike in murders this year, it’s now less than half the rate in St. Louis, Missouri. And with 85,000 soldiers and police securing Rio for the Olympics, it’s probably one of the safest places in Latin America at the moment.

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Brazil’s Olympic Greeting: Welcome to Hell

Beth McLoughlin – U.S. News, 07/18/2016

RIO DE JANEIRO — In Brazil’s oldest favela of Providencia, Diego Deus lives with his wife and 6-month-old son. He can walk to work at the Museum of Modern Art, a gleaming new addition to the city’s port zone that has been redeveloped in advance of this summer’s Olympic Games.

Unemployment has been steadily climbing in Brazil, a country in its worst recession since the 1930s, but Deus is one of many Rio residents who has found work directly or indirectly as a result of the Games. Proud of his neighborhood, he resisted being moved when 200 people were evicted to renovate Providencia.

“They wanted to take my house out [to build a cable car], but I resisted,” Deus says. “I don’t see myself living anywhere else. It might seem strange to say it, but I feel safe here, I can go out and leave my door open. People look out for you.”

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Brazil police officer, symbol of corruption crackdown, arrested

Brad Brooks – Reuters, 06/08/2016

He is a symbol of Brazil’s biggest corruption investigation – a ballyhooed battle against impunity for powerful politicians and businessmen.

But on Wednesday, federal police agent Newton Ishii sat in the same jail where he had been photographed and shown on TV escorting countless high-profile politicians and executives linked to a kickback scandal at state-run oil company Petrobras (PETR4.SA).

It is a long fall for Ishii, perhaps the first Brazilian policeman ever to be exalted in a Carnival song, sung by party-goers who wore masks bearing his likeness and dressed in his black police garb.

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Months before Rio Olympics, murder rate rises in Brazil

Kenneth Rapoza – Forbes, 01/29/2016

Brazil just cannot — cannot — get a break. If it’s not their Banana Republic-esque politicians and oligarchs, commodity deflation, inflation and pesky mosquitoes spreading the zica virus to the world, its violent crime. A new report out this month has Brazilian cities dominating a list of the 50 murder capitals of the world.

The report by Mexico City based Center for Public Security And Criminal Justice shows clearly that no country in the Americas has more cities plagued by violent crime than Brazil. It could be because the country is so large. But then again, the U.S. is just as big and has just four cities on the list, including some like St. Louis that are more violent than Rio de Janeiro in terms of homicide rates. Mexico, the second largest country in Latin America, has five cities on the list, down from last year’s 12.

But when it comes to mortal gunshot wounds, Brazil takes the cake. Out of the 50 cities with high per capita homicide rates, the “country of the future”, where God is a registered voter, according to local lore, has a whopping 22 cities on the list. Even clean-and-green Curitiba and homogenous Porto Alegre are on it.

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Big international drug ring dismantled in Brazil

EFE – Fox News Latino, 11/04/2014

Brazil’s Federal Police, in collaboration with security forces of Honduras, Colombia and the United States, dismantled Tuesday an international drug-trafficking and money-laundering ring operating out of Brazil, Venezuela and Honduras, officials said.

The organization was based in Sinop, a municipality in the western Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, where most of the 24 arrest warrants and 25 search-and-capture orders were served, all handed down by the judge investigating the case. The police operation also extended to another three Brazilian states: Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais and Amazonas.

The police, who began investigating the organization in 2011, estimate that close to a ton of cocaine was shipped every month from the Venezuelan region of Apure, on the Colombian border and dominated by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, to Honduras for the purpose of supplying the Mexican drug cartels.

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