Rio de Janeiro

Rio is like an opera, a stage of mirth and tragedy, with outrageous sets: the splendid, grandiose architecture of the rich is set against a background of favelas, the filthy slums that spill down from the hills where those immersed in poverty can overlook the blue Atlantic and those fortunate enough to live on the flat lands. As I am walking to the ocean, I pass graffiti sprayed in big red letters on a police station wall. It reads, in English, “To Protect the Rich and Persecute the Poor.”

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