Militias, corruption and Covid: Rio de Janeiro’s deepening crisis

In a country that has barely grown for a decade, Brazil’s most famous city is mired in heavy debt and violent crime

07 March 2021 - 19:19 By Bryan Harris

Alice Pamplona da Silva celebrated her fifth birthday last year the way a child should. Her parents presented her with cake and muffins, each bedecked in luminous icing and cut-out images of the Little Mermaid. Her hair tied in long braids, Alice beams at the family photographer.

By the first minutes of the new year, Alice would be dead, hit in the neck by a stray bullet as she watched the fireworks over Rio de Janeiro from her home in a poor hillside community close to the city centre. Locals say Alice was in her mother’s lap when the bullet pierced her body...

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