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A demonstrator holds up a sign that reads in Portuguese "CEDAE belongs to the people," during a protest against a move to privatize the state water and sewage company, CEDAE, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Feb. 20, 2017 (AP photo by Leo Correa).

Cash-Strapped Brazil Moves to Privatize Basic Services, With a High Cost

Thursday, April 6, 2017

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — A resident in Rio de Janeiro’s largest favela, Rocinha, Jose Martins is worried. Earlier this year, Rio’s city council voted to sell the state-owned water and sanitation company, CEDAE, a move that Martins believes puts access to water and sanitation at risk for almost 50,000 residents in Rocinha alone.

“The state has a social obligation, so many of us here pay a symbolic price,” he says. “I don’t imagine that a business will allow people to pay as little. If this happens, people won’t be able to pay. If they can’t pay, the company will cut off their water.” ...

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