Adding more worries vexing the Summer Olympics coming up soon in Rio de Janeiro, the struggling South American city has had to call in the military to put down an exploding crime wave just ahead of the games this August.
The Washington Post paints a troubling picture of crime in Rio only two months before the Olympic torch is supposed to be set aflame there.
“The number of homicides in Rio state was up 15 percent in the first four months of 2016 compared with last year, although the figure dipped in May,” the paper wrote this week. “Street robbery climbed 24 percent this year, according to the latest statistics, which run through April. And last month, the gang rape of a 16-year-old girl in a Rio favela made headlines in Brazil and around the world.”
Rio’s Olympic officials insist the games will be perfectly safe for competitors and visitors alike, but that news didn’t help Brazilian Olympic competitive shooter Anna Pauyla Cotta, 27, who on Friday was shot in the head in Rio and is now fighting for her life.
It is reported that the young Olympian was shot during an attempted robbery in Rio, her hometown.
While more dire, Cotto isn’t the only athlete recently victimized by Rio’s crime wave. In May two members of the Spanish sailing team were victims of an armed robbery.
The newest problem just adds to the bad omens that have vexed the Rio Summer Olympic Games from the start. First, the country was questioned over its shaky financial situation with critics saying the country couldn’t afford to put the money into infrastructure needed to hold the games, then came the troubling reports of dangerous pollution in the rivers and ocean waters in which Olympians would have to compete, next the Zika virus spreading through Central and South America caused fears, and now the country has been forced to bring in the military to stop a crime wave that has hit the city.
Yet at each stage of these reports over the problems battering the games, officials in Rio assured the world that everything has been handled. But worries persist and, with the current crime wave, for many it may be the last straw.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com