In recent years, Brazil's wealthy along with its highly-educated University graduates, doctors, lawyers, even TV and film stars, have been fleeing the South American country to places such as Portugal, Miami and Orlando (in United States) in search of stability as the poor continue to bear the brunt of the ongoing political and economic crisis.
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“I'm totally freaked out by what's happening, especially here in Rio,” said 40-year-old soap opera star and father of three, Thiago Lacerda. Considering relocating to Europe for the sake of his children, he said: “in several years, they're not going to want to go out, to start dating, without worrying about getting shot.”
This option hasn't been the case for working-class or low-income families who've been the victims of violence, in some cases perpetrated by the state security forces. Such has been the case for the families of slain Black activist and Rio de Janeiro city councilwoman, Marielle Franco, and 14-year-old student Marcos Vinicius da Silva, both raised in the Complexo da Mare favela complex in Rio de Janeiro, a city under federal military occupation.
“Murder has become a normal part of life,” a New York Times feature reported last year, stressing that impunity has been a driving factor in the number of homicides.
“People kill because they can get away with it. They kill to gain territorial control, to traffic drugs, to settle political disputes,” the article said. One out of 10 homicide victims around the world each year is a Brazilian, the country is the fourth-largest firearms manufacturer in the world, and a deep recession has left unemployment at over 12 percent, according to News.com.au.
Brazil's Foreign Ministry notes that over three million citizens have migrated, mostly to the United States, however, Portugal is quickly becoming a destination for migrants.
As the elites and well-educated and skilled pack up their bags in search of stability and opportunities, the Senate-imposed government of Michel Temer has announced a 2019 budget proposal, which may bring an end the country's educational program offering grants to graduate students in the scientific fields.
The warning was made by Abilio Baeta, president of the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Level Personnel (Capes). He stressed that the budget control “gravely” affects the program and that the proposal may affect “93,000 students and researchers, interrupting the graduate incentive programs throughout the country.”
The Temer government faces historically low approval ratings and has already sparked heated controversy with the approval of a 20-year freeze on public spending that will affect the country's budgets for education, health, culture and social programs, as well as approved a labor reform program, stripping away workers' rights.