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« San Francisco's Hidden Treasures: Murals of Expression | Main | Orbitz Mess »

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Samuel Bazaldua

I was thinking of going to Rio this year for my vacation. But no thanks I do not want to be shot at. And the idea of swimming in beautiful beaches filled with raw sewage does not really appeal to me either...

Lee

Thank you to our reader for adding another layer to my blog entry on the violence in Rio. Indeed, approximately 92 favelas have allegedly been taken over my the militias of off-duty police and firemen. In the nearly 600 remaining favelas of Rio drug business-as-usual (and the ensuing conflicts w/police) continues.

This week two off-duty military police and five citizens (sometimes reported as “bandits”) were killed and ten injured in conflicts between militias and drug traffickers in the suburbs of Rio. Reports claim the violence occurred when drug traffickers attempted to re-establish control over the neighborhood.

Colin Brayton

Your editor misinforms you, in that he reports that the conflict is between "police and drug dealers."

The local press here has reported extensively that the drug dealers have been driven out of a number of shantytowns by militias, funded by other aspects of local organized crime -- numbers racketeering and gambling, primarily -- and made up entirely of off-duty military policemen.

These militias, which are executing drug dealers left and right, are now engaging in Mafia-style protection rackets on legal and illegal businesses.

Therefore, what you have is a multilateral conflict involving the drug traffic, other organized crime elements, and corrupt elements of the police and political elite working one or the other side, or a third or fourth angle entirely, of the conflict.

170 police officers were recently busted, for example, after their names were discovered on a USB pen drive owned by the local "king of the one-armed bandits" as receiving payoffs ranging from R$1,000 to $R12,000 per month to protect and operate the illegal gambling business. Elements of the police also run prostitution in the Zona Sul, as is all too well known in the community.

When traveling in a foreign country, it is sometimes best not to leave the Green Zone.

Still, try to learn enough of the local language so that you can read the local newspapers before pretending that your experiences in the Green Zone reflect reality in the Red Zone.

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