Rio rethinks slum tours
RIO DE JANEIRO — As authorities in Brazil tackled crime earlier this decade, opening Rio de Janeiro’s hillside favelas to tourists seemed like a winning idea. The views are breathtaking, the slum residents could cash in, and foreign visitors would see another part of the city — not just Copacabana beach.
Now soaring violence in the hillside communities is rekindling a concern: Are favelas safe to visit?
While tourists have occasionally been shot after accidentally veering into favelas, the recent death of a Spanish tourist at the hands of police put a spotlight on insecurity in Rio and its slums.
For many favela residents though, tourism is a lifeline in neighbourhoods where formal jobs are scarce.
Residents of all ages walk past soldiers with guns patrolling the Rocinha slum in Rio de Janeiro.