Is Brazil ready for the football World Cup with looming security crisis

Thursday, April 24th, 2014 1:40:19 by
football world cup in brazil saftey

Neither the five years that have passed since the beginning of the project pacifier favelas, or the spur which is the celebration of the two biggest sporting events on the planet, the World Cup and the Olympic Games have done much for the decrease violence in Rio de Janeiro. The power of the drug gangs has been weakened considerably in recent years, but, as warned some specialists, the main criminal factions have entrenched themselves in peripheral areas and from them are controlled drug sales in strategic favelas nestled in wealthy neighborhoods. The last eruption of this violence occurred Tuesday in a favela resort located in the heart of Rio.

The weapons of war once again spread through the suburbs while the Pacifying Police Units (UPP) not just materialize in their neighborhoods, who see in them a watered down version of the Military Police, known to be corrupt to the core and provide Unleash and unlimited truculence. Allegations of abuse and deaths of civilians who have nothing to do with drug trafficking groups occur each week while the state government of Rio favelas underpins the most contentious and more effective operations hunt for criminals. The idyllic relaxation period is behind us and the most touristic city of Brazil seems to return to the time of the harassment and demolition narco regardless.

Two factors make this turning point and placed Brazil in a delicate situation: first, the inhabitants of the favelas, which accumulate no little resentment towards a society and rulers that have traditionally been treated as second class citizens, have decided to break silence. Spurred by the protest movements that have spread across Brazil since June last year and amplified by the massive presence of the world media, the residents of the suburbs today are manifesting more anger by throwing stones at police units, burning vehicles, mounting barricades and cutting streets and avenues. The wick has caught hard and on Tuesday night the fire reached a neighborhood whose safety is considered crucial for the local organization of the World Cup.

Here lies the second factor: Copacabana, the Rio tourism, christened the Rio Disney, has entered into a climate of tension generated by the rise in crime, police operations against some latent cells Comando Vermelho (CV), an organization of drug dealers entrenched in the most inaccessible recesses of the Pavao – Pavãozinho favela.

At 50 days away from the start of the World Cup, the Cariocas and Brazilian authorities did not imagine that images like Tuesday would circle the world, casting a new shadow on Brazil’s ability to organize a mega event without incident. Some main streets of Copacabana were cut off to traffic while the traders and bars surrounding the favela closed its doors in mid-afternoon. The barricades burned, the power outage and the shouting and the sound of heavy gunfire and police helicopters spread panic to the point that the two known hotels tourist district asked their guests not to set foot on the street.

By late afternoon the news that a a 30 years old citizen had died from being shot in the head was confirmed. Earlier it was found in Pavao – Pavãozinho the body of a 25 year old dancer. According to his mother, Douglas Rafael Pereira da Silva had marks of having been beaten and tortured by police. The forensic report found that the youth suffered “internal bleeding caused by pulmonary laceration.”

The episode of Copacabana and shootings permanently recorded in the Rocinha favela, nestled between the affluent neighborhoods of Leblon and São Conrado, show that the much-vaunted safety belt in the southern zone of Rio is far from a reality. “It has become a fashion to burn and destroy everything after police kills someone,” says sarcastically Jorge Luis Marconi, haunting Copacabana.

Crime rates have risen in the past year and in the streets of Rio circulates the feeling that you are losing ground fast in recent years. “We are in an election year and we will not make important decisions. It is clear that the UPP are in crisis, that crimes are growing and that advances in recent years are in jeopardy right now, “says the specialist in public safety sociologist Ignacio Cano.

The statistics reported in the last eight years by the Public Safety Institute (PSI) in Rio de Janeiro shed alarming numbers: in the state of Rio there have been 35,879 murders, 285 death row injury, followed by 1,169 theft deaths, 5,677 deaths resulting from police action, 155 killed in action military and civilian police. A total count of 43,165 dead or, seen from another angle, over 500 deaths a month caused by endless violence. The statistics do not consider the more than 38,000 missing and more than 31,000 attempted murders. Explains Colonel Frederico Caldas, General Coordinator of the UPP, “all the major events that have been held in Rio de Janeiro have in common that they have been quiet. It was so in the Rio +20 conference, the Pope’s visit and the Confederations Cup. However, our security policy is not about big events, but rather to ensure the safety of the city. To celebrate the event insurance must start from the basis of a safe city. “

But something is wrong in the plans devised by the Government, perhaps they are too optimistic. The president, Dilma Rousseff, states that time will tell and this world cup in brazil will be remembered as the “Cup of Cups”, a clear reference to the biggest football tournament on the planet returns after 64 years to the country, which has more trophies accumulated under its belt than anyone else: the home of football, sun and fun. Cano, however, warns of a factor which could become the ultimate destabilizing: the Brazilian team is outlawed before the final. “Knowing how the Brazilian population behaves in times of World Cup, we can expect a rise in social unrest if they do not make it. If Brazil ends up winning, collective euphoria stifle any possibility of protest. “

Controlling more than possible demonstrations will be the great challenge of the Brazilian government in the coming months. The groups that protested strongly in June last year spent months quietly. The pledges made at the time by the President to silence the popular clamor were never implemented. Even the public transport price increased , which was the trigger for those inflamed human tides have finished approving and beating a society sickened by a suffocating level of prices. A latent discomfort that can again make life difficult for the rulers and even FIFA itself breathes. Currently it is the cry of the favela which is heard more strongly.

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