A police officer in Rio de Janeiro shot dead Spanish tourist in the Rocinha favela. It is not the first such an incident in these poor parts of the Brazil capital.
Rio de Janeiro favelas have a bad reputation for decades, but that place recently became safer and even opened to the tourists. Some of them are extremely curious, sometimes it costs them a life. This week, police shot dead a Spanish tourist after the car she was in failed to stop at a police roadblock in the Rocinha favela, near the city’s famous beaches.
The victim as María Esperanza Ruiz Jiménez (67) was with three other tourists and a guide. The old Spanish woman is the third tourist to have been shot dead in Rio favelas in less than a year. Her killing puts the spotlight back on Rio’s deteriorating crime situation just a month after the Brazilian military troops were sent into the Rocinha favela in an attempt to control violence between warring drug gangs.
Rio’s authority launched a programme to pacify favelas in 2008, these scary districts of the capital were run for decades by drug gangs. Now, the state government is broke and has struggled to pay police salaries. As crime has escalated, drug gangs have recaptured old territory and spread their control to new areas – and tourists have increasingly been caught in the crossfire.
Violence in Rio de Janeiro favela
Last year was very busy for Brazil, the preparation to the Olympic Games made local authorities to pay additional attention to the crime level in the city. Despite the efforts, in 2016, two other tourists have been shot dead in Rio favelas and in August a British tourist, Eloise Dixon, survived being shot near Angra dos Reis, a three-hour drive from Rio de Janeiro. In every case, the shootings were blamed on drug gangs.
In December 2016, an Italian motorcyclist was shot dead in the Prazeres favela in central Rio after he and a friend inadvertently drove into a gang-held area. In this February an Argentinian tourist was shot when the car she was in entered the same favela. She died a month later of her injuries.