The Darker Side of Paradise
March 28, 2014 5:09 PM   Subscribe

How does Brazil keep the World Cup party going? Send in the army.
The Soldiers' occupation of 'strategic' Rio favelas shows just how far the state will go to prevent embarrassment during the World Cup; where the Slums lack sewers and running water 3 Years After Being 'Rescued' and parts of the city look like a War Zone.
Much is also to blame on Corrupt Police and Militia.
Here is a 3 part History of Rio de Janeiro’s Military Police
Part I: 19th Century Beginnings
Part II: From Dictatorship to Drug War
Part 3: Community Policing .
posted by adamvasco (16 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Looking at the post Olympics events, French Guiana must be a bit nervous...
posted by sammyo at 5:31 PM on March 28, 2014

I always feel weird about meeting people from Brazil. It's a quandary whether I should be asking what moral responsibility they have to people in the favelas. I guess I'm too much of a coward to have that kind of confrontation when American moral failings are still overabundant.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:19 PM on March 28, 2014

BrotherCaine, the situation is too violent in Brazil for individuals to do anything. Do you really want to martyr yourself in a way that may be completely ineffectual? The random violence there is pushing most of the middle class people who can leave, out. I also have heard anecdotes of political organizers advocating for reform ending up dead recently.
posted by Joe Chip at 7:46 PM on March 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's basically like asking a Syrian to feel guilty about the civil war going on in their country.
posted by Joe Chip at 7:48 PM on March 28, 2014 [6 favorites]

I guess this is what the World Cup and Olympics are always going to be like now, to varying degrees depending on the host counties. It makes it really hard to enjoy them. I almost entirely skipped the Winter Olympics this year because of all the evil bullshit surrounding the games, which is sad on a personal level, too, because when I was a kid I freaking loved the Olympics.

And the Qatar World Cup? That's gonna be the Mount Olympus of corruption.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:04 PM on March 28, 2014 [3 favorites]

It's basically like asking a Syrian to feel guilty about the civil war going on in their country

Or an American to feel guilty about our incarceration rate and the death penalty. These are big, systemic problems, not individual failings.
posted by Dip Flash at 10:42 PM on March 28, 2014 [6 favorites]

In the first 55 days of 2014, we had at least 45 deaths during police operations in favelas in Rio de Janeiro, without counting those who were wounded.
Every year Brazil’s police are responsible for at least 2,000 deaths. The victims are generally recorded as having been “killed while resisting arrest”.
posted by adamvasco at 7:34 AM on March 29, 2014 [3 favorites]

Is there an oecd stat for people killed by police (per capita)? It'd be interesting to compare various countries.
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:50 AM on March 29, 2014

Police in Rio de Janeiro killed one suspect for every 229 they arrested last year. In the United States, police killed one suspect for every 31,575 they arrested.
posted by adamvasco at 9:18 AM on March 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

I lived in Rio and love it, and I am not entirely of the opinion that Brazilians don't share some responsibility for the situation in the favelas. It is undeniable that they are caught in the cogs of history and a vast political machine that has only sporadically made the needs of Brazilians a priority, but the middle class is surprisingly casual about their cocaine and marijuana habits. The drugs they use to party with come pretty much exclusively from the warlords who rule(d) the favelas. While the drug economy not a problem unique to Brazil (as an American I feel a deep sense of shame when I think about what my country's drug habit has done to our neighbors in Mexico, and elsewhere. . .), I feel compelled to say that I for one found it shocking how many Brazilians just kind of brush away what buying drugs means.

Having said that I don't really see the use in 'confronting' them; I used to ask people about it out of a sense of curiosity and they didn't even really seem defensive. That's just how it is. Anecdotally, I lived across from one of the favelas that got pacified and I heard the entire operation and it sounded exactly like what I imagine a battle in Iraq sounded like: machine gun fire and explosions (from grenades?) and periods of silence.
posted by TheTingTangTong at 11:02 AM on March 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure what to make of the fact that the "look like a War Zone" link's only pictures of armed persons are police or army.

Is it because it's hard to photograph armed criminals? Is it making a point that the authorities are the dangerous parties here? Something else? It's odd, that's for sure; it really does present a one-sided view of the conflict, even if I can't figure out which side from the context.
posted by ChrisR at 8:56 AM on March 30, 2014

Pacified sounds like too easy a euphemism.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:13 AM on March 30, 2014

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