By Gabriel Stargardter, Pedro Fonseca and Natalia A. Ramos Miranda
RIO DE JANEIRO/SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Last week, a mall in southern Brazil laid out a red carpet and welcomed back a stream of masked customers after the state loosened coronavirus lockdowns for commercial businesses. A saxophone player serenaded clients as they filed in.
The images of the newly packed Neumarkt Shopping mall in the city of Blumenau reverberated across Brazil. Some people applauded the decision and others criticized a potentially lethal move just as the outbreak was gathering steam. One Twitter user even added a tongue-in-cheek soundtrack to the video: music from the movie “Titanic.”
The incident revealed a fragile fault line across Latin America over how and when to re-open the region’s largely shuttered economies – despite the fact that the worst of the…