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The past decade of galloping economic growth, fueled largely by China's appetite for Brazilian natural resources, was kind to the Cavalcantes

by Krystyna Crow (2019-08-09)

IRAJA, Brazil On paper, the Cavalcantes are a Brazilian success story, a solidly middle class Rio de Janeiro family with a car, a four-bedroom, four-bath house and a full schedule of extra-curriculars for the kids.

【영양출장마사지】Ø7Øx7575xØØ77But like millions of others who have taken to the streets over the past weeks to protest woeful government services and rampant corruption here, the Cavalcantes say they're struggling to keep their heads above water.

There are months when the generous family income can't be stretched to cover their basic expenses, which include not only the ever-rising cost of food, transport and electricity, but also expensive private alternatives to Brazil's poor public schools and health services.

"We're among the fortunate ones and we're suffering," said 49-year-old Paulo Cavalcante, a public servant with Rio's City Hall. "We've been completely abandoned by our government."

The family lives far from the glitz and glamour of Rio's showcase beachfront neighborhoods in the distant suburb of Iraja, where festering piles of uncollected trash dot the uneven sidewalks and the staccato of gunfire from nearby "favela" slums is so familiar the children can identify the weapons.

Here, Paulo and Adela, his wife of 16 years, their 15-year-old daughter Maria and 10-year-old son Antonio live all but cloistered in their cozy but spartan 3,700 square foot house. With the specter of stray bullets ever-present, the children aren't allowed to ride bikes in the neighborhood, and because there's little policing, the family avoids leaving home after dark.

They can't drink the tap water, must elbow their way onto packed public transit every morning and drill the children on how to react in case of a carjacking or armed robbery because, Paulo figures, "it's only a matter of time before the violence that's all around us comes knocking on our door."

The protests began several weeks ago over a 10-cent hike in metro and subway fares in the economic capital, Sao Paulo, and mushroomed into a massive, nationwide movement unlike anything seen in Brazil since mass demonstrations helped lead to the 1992 impeachment of then-President Fernando Collor. Though protesters continue to hit the streets in record numbers to push for a broad swath of demands, their core complaint boils down to the disconnect between the high taxes people pay and the poor services they receive in return.

"We're killing ourselves to provide our kids with what the government doesn't," said Paulo, who campaigned for President Dilma Rousseff but now says he's disillusioned with the governing leftist Workers' Party.

The past decade of galloping economic growth, fueled largely by China's appetite for Brazilian natural resources, was kind to the Cavalcantes. They are among the estimated 40 million Brazilians lifted out of poverty during the boom and now watching many of their hard-earned gains wither away under the weight of inept government and a cripplingly high cost of living.

The family moved out of Vigario Geral, the slum where Paulo and 의왕출장업소 Adela were raised and which gained nationwide notoriety after a 1993 massacre. They moved into a cramped apartment in Iraja, and then traded up for their current home, a two-story cinder-block house protected by a towering wrought-iron fence.