From the front steps of Rio de Janeiro’s Municipal Theater, the ballet company danced, and opera singers belted out the strident “Carmina Burana.”
It was last month, and the show was an artistic public protest. The performers, all state employees, haven’t been paid for weeks and won’t be getting paychecks until Dec. 5.
The same day, outside a state-run hospital in Rio’s Tijuca neighborhood, a doctor shrugged when asked about the long lines of people waiting to be treated. “It’s total chaos in there,” he says.
And in Rocinha, Brazil’s largest favela, or marginalized neighborhood, 10-year-old Railene de los Santos frowns and gives a faraway look when asked about the threat of her local library closing, to save money.
“If anyone closes my library I’ll kill them,” she says. “I love my library.”
Three months since the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics, the “marvelous city,” as it’s known, is unraveling.
The state of Rio is broke. It hasn’t been able to pay its bills since long before the games. A federal bailout kept police on the streets and hospitals open while Olympics tourists were in town. But now the money has dried up, and public employees aren’t being paid.
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SOURCE: USA Today; PRI.org, Will Carless