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© Antonio De Azevedo Negrão

We’re always on the look-out for new piracy hotspots, and it appears the vast inland waterway that is the Amazon river, and its multitude of tributaries, could be one. It has always been a lawless place, of course, but this absorbing account in The New York Times describes how a surging riverine population, emboldened drug trafficking gangs and an under-resourced police force, shows that things have got significantly worse in recent times, with murder and rape not uncommon. “’Every riverboat captain knows they’re at the mercy of these bastards,’ said Captain Paiva, 41, who has been plying the rivers of Brazil’s rain forests since he was a teenager.”

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