The Beast in on the Loose in Brazil’s Backlands

Brazilian powerful firecracker The beast was bored. The very-strong sun was hitting his head and leaving him thirsty. But he wanted some emotion. There was not much to do in the small city in the interior of Brazil. We were surrounded by people without T-shirts, holding glasses of beer, fat women drinking while laughing loudly.

It was mid-day and the beast was getting increasingly bored. And then he had his bright idea. He took the little bomb and threw against the door of the house. The bomb made a huge noise shaking the building. It was a firecracker made for the Saint John’s celebration so it was nothing to destroy a house. But it might leave you deaf.

The babies were eating at home. Mike had two. Aged 2 and 5. They started crying out loud. The bomb left them frightened. Mike went out of the door and started shouting at the group of men outside his house. They answered that they knew nothing. It was somebody else who had fled by bike. They laughed when Mike complained.

Mike called the police. The man on the phone said that it was normal in the Saint John’s feast. Everybody does it. No problem.

But Mike was no man to give up. He called a friend of his. The friend saw the piece  of the bomb all around the door. He could feel the smell of the explosion all around the place. And the fingerprints were on the papers of the bomb left over after the explosion. Mike showed that to the fat men sitting outside drinking beer.

They got frightened. And angry. It was not a joke any more. It was becoming serious stuff. And so one of them came and admitted it was him who threw the bomb. But he denied it had been in bad faith. It is normal during this time of the year. The idea of leaving two kids deaf did not make him any frightened. He just didn’t care.

The beast does not care. The interior of Brazil is like this. You just have to go along with that. Or leave. The beasts are there. There are many of them.

Do not just believe that they will respect you. If you are a foreigner at the beginning they will smile at you. But you got to be aware.

Then there it the case of a web designer called Leonardo from Itabuna, Bahia, in the Brazilian northeast. The guy was hired to do the job for  a local NGO. He did some of it. But then, all of a  sudden he decided he wanted to be paid and soon. He got half of the money and then disappeared.

The NGO sent him dozens of emails and phone calls. They wanted to know what was going on. Why was he not doing his job. When was he going to finish it. Forget about it, man. Leo just did not care about his client.

The beast hid himself. He never answered the emails. He never returned his clients calls. He doesn’t want to know. He doesn’t care about professionalism.

What kind of people live in the interior of Brazil? Wonderful people, but also beasts. Wild beasts, nasty beasts.

Remember that when you go to Brazil civilization hasn’t arrived there. And the beasts are still around. Making loud noises in the middle of the night, not caring about the people who want to sleep.

These are people who don’t give a damn about human rights or any right at all. They just care about themselves. Real beasts. But this is the real Brazil. Not Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo. The interior of Brazil.

Where if you are a foreigner they’ll come after you. Because you do not have protection and are getting in their territory. Be aware of that. If you don’t want to get into serious trouble don’t even go there.

The beast hides himself in his environment. He feels protected. And there he does whatever he wants. He knows nobody is going to find him. The law? It’s difficult. It is cumbersome to activate. And the beast knows it. That is why he feels protected. Be aware of that when you go in the beast’s land.

Max Bono is an investigative journalist traveling in Brazil.  You can contact him at researchinrio@yahoo.com.

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