Sao Paulo, Brazil’s biggest metropolis, was shocked by the crime report for April 25. It was on that day that Cinthia Magaly Mourinho, 46, was assaulted by a trio of thieves who came to her clinic to demand money. Mourinho, a dentist, gave the thieves her credit card who were then able to retrieve only the equivalent of $15 from her account. 
The thieves returned to her clinic to demand more money, and Mourinho assured them she had no more. In a rage, the thieves set the woman on fire, burning her alive. According to a police spokesman, “When the Military Police arrived, she was already dead.” 
 
Sao Paulo police said that witnesses saw the assailants escape in a black car. One of them was successfully identified in images secured from a surveillance camera. Police have now interrogated a teenager, and the mother of one of the suspects.
 
The murder rate in Sao Paulo, the South American nation’s largest hub, grew by 18 percent during the first trimester of 2013 as compared to the same period in 2012. This number was released in an official statistical report published by the regional government. 
 
 
Brazil continues to address crime and narcotrafficking, especially in slums that are largely controlled by powerful and armed criminal organizations. Army units and heavily-armed police are frequently engaged in firefights, especially Rio de Janeiro – the site of the forthcoming 2016 Summer Olympics – that have yielded numerous deaths and accusations of severe human rights violations.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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