Following the Olympics play out in Rio and watching how Brazil was being mocked by foreigners, I'm sure that many Brazilians felt sick to their stomachs. I certainly did.
That's why I decided to write this letter to people who love to come here to enjoy the beaches and stare at women in bikinis, but disrespect the country that hosts them. Maybe they can learn something.
Yes, we live in a country full of problems, and we'll be the first to admit it.
We have hundreds of things to improve upon, from education to security.
It is true that some Brazilians have booed foreign athletes as they collected their medals, but they do not represent the majority.
Okay, we have many challenges; our politicians are corrupt, and we are living with deep social and racial inequality.
But we are like mothers who criticize their own children, but are furious the moment someone speaks ill of them.
You American swimmers must have thought: Of course it would be very possible for four foreign, white, tall, Olympians to be assaulted in Rio de Janeiro. Who would not believe it? This underdeveloped country can't even clean a pool the right way. They would never be able to find the truth. So we'll just go back to the American dream with our medals.
But we do not accept that these athletes wasted the time and energy of our police force to investigate a crime that did not exist, just to disguise a mess they made. We hope that they have learned their lesson.
We are like mothers who criticize their own children, but are furious the moment someone speaks ill of them.
We were not amused when your newspapers decided to ridicule our security. In Brazil, justice may be slow. Many people are still assaulted on the street, and far too many die because of drug trafficking. Many people are still assaulted on the street, unfortunately. But the victims are real people, mothers who lose their children, workers who lose everything they have. It's very painful and it should be taken very seriously.
We are sorry if we gave you the impression that women here are easy, and that they exist only to satisfy men's sexual desires. This is not true. If we go to the beach with smaller bikinis, this is our business, not an invitation. (By the way, the men here also have trouble understanding this.)
And when you cross the line, and commit acts of rape, we will acknowledge and denounce it, whether or not you're an Olympic athlete.
We don't like to hear that athletes from your country are alarmed at the risk of catching zika here. It is a sad disease that affects the lives of thousands of our babies. Sponsored by major brands and with access to medical resources, you would surely be in less danger than pregnant women that live in the northeast part of Brazil.
There is plenty of racism and prejudice in Brazil, and some people are even dying because of it. But we're still a diverse society that brings together people from different races, sexes and religions.
To claim that we are a "bizarre country" or that we are using magic to win is ridiculous. Would it hurt you to imagine that someone other than you might have talent?
Despite all this, we will continue to receive you with open arms, because we are Brazilians.
But we need to spell it out for you, so that you don't forget: BRAZIL IS NOT MESS!
This post first appeared on HuffPost Brazil. It has been translated into English and edited for clarity.
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