When the Olympics were announced to be set in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil a lot of people thought it was a bad idea. A really bad idea. It’s absolutely no secret that Brazil is a dangerous country; there are 60,000 murders a year. The presence of the Olympics have not stopped the crimes that are on-going in Brazil. Homicides are still occurring daily. Brazil also has an ongoing economic crisis, many people felt as though funds should have been allocated to other things other than the Olympics when many Brazilian citizens live in slums. So when USA Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte and two other swimmers got robbed at gun point, many people didn’t question it. Lochte alleges that after a night out with his teammates, a group of people with guns and knives confronted them. In an interview with the Today Show, Lochte said,
“We got pulled over in our taxi and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge. No lights, no nothing, just a police badge. They pulled us over, they pulled out their guns.”
“The guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and said ‘get down.’ I was like (puts hands up) I put my hands up. I was like ‘whatever.’ He took our money, he took my wallet.”
Lochte’s story seemed suspicious from the beginning, how could someone react so nonchalantly to being held at gunpoint? Later on video footage appeared of the three laughing. Lochte changed his story again, telling Today Show’s Matt Lauer the taxi he was in was not forced off the road, that the incident actually occurred at a gas station.
There is a big issue with this whole debacle. Ryan perpetuated the notion that Rio is wild and lawless. A country with no boundaries. What he doesn’t realize is that this will put a very big dent in Brazil’s much needed tourism industry. In actuality, Rio is safer than a lot of American cities like Compton, Detroit and St. Louis.
After further investigation Rio authorities declared that Lochte and the team were all lying; what actually happened was the swimmers were on their way back to the Olympic village, when they stopped at a gas station to use the bathroom. While there the door was vandalized. Soon the manager and security began a discussion with the swimmers. Someone called the police and by the time the police arrived the swimmers were gone.
So Lochte lied and so did his teammates. In a bizarre twist of events, Lochte was smart enough to leave before he was approached for questioning.
They lied to paint a radical picture of Rio, a picture that has been continuously over exaggerated in the media when it comes to Latin American countries. The image that the countries are poor, lawless and ran by crime. Where Americans can go and break the laws and simply get away with it when confronted by police.
They made up a story to coverup a fight they had at the gas station. Crimes occur in America too, crimes such as robbery but the fact that Lochte fabricated this story that sounded straight out of a movie displays American nationalism at it’s finest. Brazil has it’s own set of problems, and this will add to it. This incident will deter many people from visiting due to the fear of it happening to them. It’s no secret that other counties have an issue with Americans coming to their country and treating it with no respect which is what Lochte did. Instead of taking the consequence for what him and his teammates did, they blamed Brazil for their crime problem.
Lochte should be locked up for his fabricated story, but he will not be. Under Brazilian law, it is a criminal offense to file a false report. But Lochte will not be shipped back to Brazil to face the consequences due to a clause in the Brazil and U.S. Extradition treaty. The Extradition treaty states that one country will surrender an alleged criminal to the other country. The crimes that one could get extradited for include; murder, larceny, sexual assault, arson and embezzlement. Filing a false report isn’t included. Lucky Lochte, this event will just be a memorable moment in his already airy mind while Brazil will have to recover from this circus.