Lots of anger and questions about that fire in Rio

As you may have heard, there was a huge museum fire down in Rio.  Apparently, there were many important historical artifacts lost in the blaze.

At first, everyone was shocked at the news.

Then everyone blamed the bureaucracy, as we see in this report:

In the months and years before Brazil's National Museum was consumed by fire on Sunday, federal prosecutors, researchers and even the museum's own administration warned that neglect had turned the 200-year-old institution into a tinderbox.

On Tuesday, evidence of this disregard came to light even as workers sifted through what little is left of the 20-million-item collection. 

The devastation has come to symbolize what many Brazilians see as a nation in disrepair because of widespread corruption and a wholesale decline in government services.

"We knew that the fire one day was bound to happen," said Marcelo Weksler, a curator of the mammals exhibit.  "Everybody here knew that.  It was our worst nightmare."

A citizen's complaint, filed with the federal prosecutor's office in Rio de Janeiro by an architect on July 27, included photos and pointed to specific hazards like the use of flammable plastic on the roof, uncovered wires and other evidence of jury-rigged wiring.

So what really happened?

Let me share a couple of reactions from two Brazilian friends who live in Dallas.  One is here working legally, and the other is on a student visa.

The first one told me it was an inside job.  He said that they came in and stole all of the valuable stuff, moved it out, and then set the place on fire.

Arson?  Yes, my friend called it Brazilian arson.  First you steal, and then you say everything of value was burned up.

So what happens when someone tries to sell the stolen goods in the market?  It's a black market, and these artifacts will show up in some cartel leader's home, or so my friend explained.

Wow.  My friend is very cynical, isn't he?

Then I asked my other friend. 

First, he used every four-letter word on the planet, in Portuguese and broken English, to describe the integrity of the political class.  Then he said no one in his family believes that it was an accident.

Will anyone be held accountable for the fire?  My friends don't think so.

Well, I am convinced after talking to my Brazilian friends that someone dropped the ball in Rio.  I am further convinced that Brazil's political class has lost the respect of most citizens.

How much longer can Brazil go on like this?  Not much!  The upcoming presidential election may answer that question.

PS: You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

As you may have heard, there was a huge museum fire down in Rio.  Apparently, there were many important historical artifacts lost in the blaze.

At first, everyone was shocked at the news.

Then everyone blamed the bureaucracy, as we see in this report:

In the months and years before Brazil's National Museum was consumed by fire on Sunday, federal prosecutors, researchers and even the museum's own administration warned that neglect had turned the 200-year-old institution into a tinderbox.

On Tuesday, evidence of this disregard came to light even as workers sifted through what little is left of the 20-million-item collection. 

The devastation has come to symbolize what many Brazilians see as a nation in disrepair because of widespread corruption and a wholesale decline in government services.

"We knew that the fire one day was bound to happen," said Marcelo Weksler, a curator of the mammals exhibit.  "Everybody here knew that.  It was our worst nightmare."

A citizen's complaint, filed with the federal prosecutor's office in Rio de Janeiro by an architect on July 27, included photos and pointed to specific hazards like the use of flammable plastic on the roof, uncovered wires and other evidence of jury-rigged wiring.

So what really happened?

Let me share a couple of reactions from two Brazilian friends who live in Dallas.  One is here working legally, and the other is on a student visa.

The first one told me it was an inside job.  He said that they came in and stole all of the valuable stuff, moved it out, and then set the place on fire.

Arson?  Yes, my friend called it Brazilian arson.  First you steal, and then you say everything of value was burned up.

So what happens when someone tries to sell the stolen goods in the market?  It's a black market, and these artifacts will show up in some cartel leader's home, or so my friend explained.

Wow.  My friend is very cynical, isn't he?

Then I asked my other friend. 

First, he used every four-letter word on the planet, in Portuguese and broken English, to describe the integrity of the political class.  Then he said no one in his family believes that it was an accident.

Will anyone be held accountable for the fire?  My friends don't think so.

Well, I am convinced after talking to my Brazilian friends that someone dropped the ball in Rio.  I am further convinced that Brazil's political class has lost the respect of most citizens.

How much longer can Brazil go on like this?  Not much!  The upcoming presidential election may answer that question.

PS: You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.