RE: [Harp-L] Sao Paulo Harp/Blues?

That would be these travel warnings :^) Note also that I was just
reading on lonelyplanet or somewhere that just recently the gangs have
begun actually attacking police stations. Wow. Three of my co-workers
were robbed at gunpoint recently while in Sao Paulo, and that was while
sitting in a taxi at a red light.

Harp Content: Thanks to some help from this EXCELLENT list I may be
getting some local escorts (no, not that kind smo-joe) to the local
clubs. Thanks for the great list of music venues Damien, Madcat, Kenji,
and others! Bed be damned....

Effective immediately
This Travelers Alert is to warn all persons traveling to Brazil that
over the past week the level of criminal acts has escalated. Criminal
gangs, sometimes armed, have stopped transport vans traveling from the
airport and robbed all the travelers of their belongings. Additionally,
there have been increased instances of teenage gang activity in tourist
areas. These gangs typically travel on bicycles and are sometimes armed.
Moreover, the overall level of sometimes violent criminal acts, has
increased over the past ten days.

In light of the information above and effective immediately,all ground
transportation arrangements should be reviewed with your local host and
the  Brazil Security staff. Moreover, the  Brazil Security staff
strongly recommends that while in transit throughout the city,
individuals or groups of employees should avoid the use of vans or small
buses. This is in addition to the security advice for Rio de Janeiro
offered below.

Safety and security: Political and labor strikes and demonstrations
occur sporadically in urban areas and may cause temporary disruption to
public transportation. Naturally, protests anywhere in the world have
the potential to become violent. In addition, criminal organizations,
during 2006, staged several violent campaigns against public
institutions in the Sao Paulo State leading to a large number of deaths.
While it is unlikely that U.S. citizens would be targeted during such
events, U.S. citizens traveling or residing in Brazil are advised to
take common-sense precautions and avoid any large gatherings or any
other event where crowds have congregated to demonstrate or protest.
Individuals with ties to criminal entities operate along the tri-border
area of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. These organizations are
involved in the trafficking of illicit goods; some individuals in the
area are financially supporting designated foreign terrorist
organizations. U.S. citizens crossing into Paraguay or Argentina may
wish to consult the Consular Information Sheets for those countries.

Security guidelines:

Avoid walking alone at all times, Avoid walking at night.

Do not walk on the street with computer bags or other valuables.

Keep laptop computers secured in the trunk of vehicles. Be aware of your
surrounding and people who may be watching you or approaching on

Avoid using ATM machines in public areas.

Keep valuables secured in hotel safes

Avoid public transportation and only use official taxi services or those
recommended by your host or hotel.

Avoid leaving your luggage unattended when you are checking in at the
hotel and/or the airport.

If somebody announces an assault, never try to react; remember that you
have something more valuable, your safety/life.

Crime: Crime throughout Brazil has reached very high levels. The
Brazilian police and the Brazilian press report that the rate of crime
continues to rise, especially in the major urban centers - though it is
also spreading in rural areas. Brazil's murder rate is several times
higher than that of the U.S. Rates for other crimes are similarly high.
The majority of crimes are not solved. There were several reported rapes
against American citizens in 2006. Street crime remains a problem for
visitors and local residents alike, especially in the evenings and late
at night. Foreign tourists are often targets of crime and Americans are
not exempt. 

Caution is advised with regard to nighttime travel through more rural
areas and satellite cities due to reported incidents of roadside
robberies that randomly target passing vehicles. Robbery and
"quicknapping" outside of banks and ATM machines are common. In a
"quicknapping," criminals abduct victims for a short time in order to
receive a quick payoff from the family, business or the victim's ATM
card. Some victims have been beaten and/or raped.

The incidence of crime against tourists is greater in areas surrounding
beaches, hotels, discotheques, bars, nightclubs, and other similar
establishments that cater to visitors. This type of crime is especially
prevalent during Carnaval (Brazilian Mardi Gras), but takes place
throughout the year. While the risk is greater at dusk and during the
evening hours, street crime can occur both day and night, and even safer
areas of cities are not immune. Incidents of theft on city buses are
frequent and visitors should avoid such transportation. Several
Brazilian cities have established specialized tourist police units to
patrol areas frequented by tourists. 

At airports, hotel lobbies, bus stations and other public places,
incidents of pick pocketing, theft of hand carried luggage, and laptop
computers are common. Travelers should "dress down" when outside and
avoid carrying valuables or wearing jewelry or expensive watches. "Good
Samaritan" scams are common. If a tourist looks lost or seems to be
having trouble communicating, a seemingly innocent bystander offering
help may victimize them. Care should be taken at and around banks and
internationally connected automatic teller machines that take U.S.
credit or debit cards. Very poor neighborhoods known as "favelas," such
as those located on steep hillsides in Rio de Janeiro, are found
throughout Brazil. These areas are sites of uncontrolled criminal
activity and are often not patrolled by police. U.S. citizens are
advised to avoid these unsafe areas. Carjacking is on the increase in
Sao Paulo, Recife and other cities.

Travelers using personal ATMs or credit cards sometimes receive billing
statements with non-authorized charges after returning from a visit to
Brazil. The Embassy and Consulates have received numerous reports from
both official Americans and tourists who have had their cards cloned or
duplicated without their knowledge. Those using such payment methods
should carefully monitor their banking online for the duration of their

While the ability of Brazilian police to help recover stolen property is
limited, it is nevertheless strongly advised to obtain a "boletim de
ocorrencia" (police report) at a "delegacia" (police station) whenever
any possessions are lost or stolen. This will facilitate the traveler's
exit from Brazil and insurance claims.

Sao Paulo: While similar incidents may occur elsewhere, all areas of Sao
Paulo have a high rate of armed robbery of pedestrians at stoplights.
There is a particularly high incidence of robberies and pick pocketing
in the Praca da Se section of Sao Paulo and in the eastern part of the
city. As is true of "red light districts" in other cities, the areas of
Sao Paulo on Rua Augusta north of Avenida Paulista and the Estacao de
Luz metro area are especially dangerous. There are regular reports of
young women slipping knockout drops in men's drinks and robbing them of
all their belongings while they are unconscious. Armed holdups of
pedestrians and motorists by young men on motorcycles ("motoboys") are
an increasingly common occurrence in some parts of Sao Paulo. Victims
who resist risk being shot. The number one item of choice by robbers in
Sao Paulo, especially with regards to business travelers, is laptop
computers. Recent efforts of incarcerated drug lords to exert their
power outside of their jail cells have resulted in sporadic disruptions
in the city, violence directed at the authorities, bus burnings and
vandalism at ATM machines. These occurrences have not resulted in any
injuries to U.S. citizens. Visitors and residents should respect police
roadblocks and be aware that some municipal services may be disrupted.

Criminal penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is
subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ
significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the
protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for
breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for
similar offenses. Persons violating Brazilian laws, even unknowingly,
may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use,
or trafficking in illegal drugs in Brazil are severe, and convicted
offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.

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