Bullet hole in the window of the UPP in Nova Brasília. Photo credit: Jornal do Brasil
On the night of Monday, July 23rd, residents of the Complexo do Alemão were alarmed to hear gunfire and an explosion near the Itararé gondola station. Police claim that twelve men armed with assault rifles attacked the Nova Brasília Police Pacification Unit (UPP); the subsequent firefight lasted forty minutes and left one resident wounded and one police officer dead. Fabiana Aparecida de Souza was shot while returning to the UPP after her break; a bullet pierced her bulletproof vest. She is the first UPP officer to be killed in the line of duty in a pacified favela.
Officer Fabiana Aparecida de Souza. Photo credit: Veja
On Tuesday the Special Police Operations Battalion and the Canine Unit patrolled Nova Brasília and the surrounding communities. Three suspects were arrested in connection with the attack, and a backpack containing drug paraphernalia and homemade grenade was confiscated.
Posted in Crime, José Mariano Beltrame, News, Rio de Janeiro, Sérgio Cabral, UPP
Tagged BOPE, Complexo do Alemão, Disque-Denúncia, Força de Pacificação, Ignacio Cano, José Mariano Beltrame, Polícia Militar, Sergio Cabral, UPP
Abandoned building on the grounds of São Sebastião hospital occupied by displaced families. Photo credit: O Globo
São Sebastião Institute of Infectious Diseases was inaugurated in 1889 by Dom Pedro II, the last emperor of Brazil, just a few days before the Empire dissolved. It was the only medical facility in the city specializing in contagious diseases, as well as the first in Brazil to separate patients with different diseases. In 2002 the hospital handled a dengue outbreak, treating thousands of patients without a single fatality. It was shut down in 2008, partly due to violent conflicts in the area, and the research institute was moved to a smaller site.
The hospital located in Caju, a neighborhood in Rio’s Port Zone best known for São Francisco Xavier cemetery, the largest in the city. Caju is a peninsula cut off from the mainland by two major freeways, Avenida Brasil and Linha Vermelha. Like the rest of the Port Zone, it has been neglected by the government and is fairly rundown. São Sebastião is near the favelas São Sebastião, Parque Alegria, Parque Ladeira dos Funcionários, and Chatuba, all allegedly controlled by Amigos dos Amigos, one of the largest gangs in Rio. As traffic-related violence increased in the early 2000s, patients and staff alike were frightened to enter the region. Continue reading
Posted in Crime, Investment, News, Rio de Janeiro, Sérgio Cabral
Tagged Amigos dos Amigos, BOPE, Caju, Favela evictions, Polícia Militar, Sergio Cabral, Zona Portuária
Sign reads "Notice: Selling crack is prohibited in the community of Jacarezinho." Photo credit: O Globo/Divulgação/Rio de Paz
Translation of article “Tráfico fixa cartazes no Jacarezinho priobindo vende de crack na favela.” From O Globo, published June 20, 2012.
As of Wednesday, June 20th, the sale of crack is prohibited in the favela Jacarezinho, in Jacaré, a suburb of Rio that is considered the largest cracolândia [gathering of crack addicts] in the city. The order comes from drug traffickers in the area, and is displayed on posters around the community, according to the social justice organization Rio de Paz.
The ban extends to the neighboring communities of Mandela and Manguinhos. According to Rio de Paz president Antônio Carlos Costa, crack addicts were creating serious disturbances in the community, due to the drug’s hallucinogenic and destructive properties.
National Security Force troops in Morro Santo Amaro. Photo credit: Último Segundo.
Police sources say traffickers are also concerned that the crack epidemic will spur an invasion by the National Security Force, as happened in Morro Santo Amaro, in Catete.
Considered the largest crack point of sale in the South Zone, Santo Amaro was invaded on May 18th as a part of the federal initiative “Crack can be defeated” and in preparation for the installation of a Polic Pacifying Unit (UPP).
Colonel Mário Sérgio Duarte and Federal Deputy Benedita da Silva at Rio Para Todos debate. Photo credit: Rio Para Todos.
Last Thursday, May 31st, Military Police Commander Mário Sérgio Duarte participated in a debate hosted by Rio Para Todos alongside former governor and current Federal Deputy Benedita da Silva and filmmaker Rodrigo Felha. The debate’s open-ended theme “Favela or Community? Inequalities and Opportunities” generated lively discussions of favela urbanization, the changing perception of favelas in the media, and the failures and successes of the UPP program.
Col. Duarte, who resigned last September after a Military Police battalion commander was implicated in the murder of Judge Patrícia Acioli, fielded questions on all aspects of UPP policy, from the desperate need for more policing in Nova Iguaçu to the lack of recreation facilities for young people in pacified communities. He was careful to emphasize the difference between UPP and UPP Social, though he acknowledged the importance of both: “The police are no longer so naive as to think that their presence in the community is enough; it must be accompanied by social programs.”
At one point, Col. Duarte admitted that the police invaded the Complexo do Alemão before they were fully prepared, and were forced to lean heavily on the Army. The invasion was made possible by reinforcements sent from other states, and the Army remained in the area much longer than expected. Duarte stated that pacification must take place during a “window of opportunity”, and that the police seized such an opportunity in Alemão.
The UPP program’s dependence on the Army to secure the favelas in the North Zone drew closer to an end last week, as the Pacification Force in the Complexo da Penha ceded control of the area to BOPE and the Shock Battalion. Military Police officers replaced soldiers in the communities Morro da Fé, Chatuba, Caixa d’Água and Morro do Sereno. Vila Cruzeiro, the largest community in Penha, will remain under Army control until the second stage of the police operation.
Posted in News, Rio de Janeiro, UPP
Tagged Batalhão do Choque, BOPE, Colonel Mário Sérgio Duarte, Comando Vermelho, Complexo da Maré, Complexo da Penha, Complexo do Alemão, Força de Pacificação, Polícia Militar, Rocinha
Nem da Rocinha, former chief of the gang Amigos dos Amigos, being arrested a few days before the invasion of the favela in November 2011. Photo credit: Terra.
By Zoë Roller, Contributing Editor
One of the principal critiques of the UPP program is that its objective is not to dismantle organized crime or address the causes of the drug trade, but to force gang activity out of pacified communities. This strategy has driven drug traffickers from the center of Rio to surrounding areas, including Niterói and the Baixada Fluminense, raising concerns that Rio’s increasing public safety comes at the expense of its suburbs. In other areas, gangs have simply returned to their own communities after the initial shock of pacification, either going underground or paying off UPP officers. A recent string of murders in Rocinha suggests that favela invasions can leave the community vulnerable to attacks from rival factions. It appears that another gang is taking advantage of the power vacuum left by the arrest of ex-chief trafficker Nem to recover lost territory.
Nem’s arrest, and the invasion of Rocinha a few days later, disrupted an internal power structure that had been in place for six years. Rocinha, along with neighboring favela Vidigal, was under the control of the trafficking gang Amigos dos Amigos (“Friends of Friends,” or ADA) since 2004; both were previously run by Comando Vermelho (“Red Command,” or CV). According to the Brazilian website Procurados, which provides information on wanted criminals, allegiance in Rocinha and Vidigal shifted to ADA after a conflict between two CV traffickers erupted in a week-long firefight that left more than ten dead. No other gang has challenged ADA’s control of Rocinha since 2004, sparing residents the turf wars and police shootouts that plague disputed territories like the Complexo da Maré.
Vanderlan Barros de Oliveira, aka Feijão, Rocinha community leader. Photo credit: Correio do Brasil
Rocinha, one of the largest favelas in Rio, was invaded without a shot fired in November 2011, in preparation for the installation of a Police Pacification Unit (UPP). The newly pacified community remained nearly incident-free until recently, despite having been a major drug trafficking stronghold. The deaths of two known traffickers in February and three in March suggest that the remaining traffickers are struggling for control of Rocinha. Yesterday a sixth drug-related murder occurred: Vanderlan Barros de Oliveira, aka Feijão (“Bean”), the president of one of Rocinha’s residents’ associations, was shot and killed yesterday morning on one of the favela’s main streets.
Police surround Feijão's body after shooting in Rocinha. Photo credit: O Globo
According to O Globo and Correio do Brasil, the murder was likely related to the rivalry between drug trafficking factions in Rocinha. Feijão was under investigation by the Federal Police for involvement with a money laundering ring controlled by Nem, the former chief trafficker in Rocinha. He was also accused of belonging to the gang that controlled Rocinha before it was pacified, Amigos dos Amigos.
Translation of article “Rocinha Residents’ Association President Murdered” below the jump. From O Dia, published March 26, 2012.
Posted in Crime, News, Rio de Janeiro, UPP
Tagged Amigos dos Amigos, Batalhão do Choque, Divisão de Homicídios, Nem, Polícia Civil, Polícia Federal, Polícia Militar, Rocinha, UPP
Translation of article “Rocinha revive pesadelo.” From O Dia, published March 19, 2012.
Arms and drugs confiscated during police operation, photo credit: O Dia
RIO – Three people were killed and one injured in a shootout between traffickers in Rocinha early yesterday morning. The community has been occupied by the Military Police for the past four months in preparation for the installation of a Police Pacification Unit (UPP). For many residents, the skirmish recalled similar moments of fear and apprehension in Rocinha’s past. Yesterday the police presence in the area was reinforced, and the atmosphere returned to normal.
The shootout may have been a conflict between remaining members of the gang run by Antônio Francisco Bonfim Lopes, aka Nem, the former chief of drug traffic in the community, who was arrested in November; or with rival traffickers attempting to gain control of the territory.
On February 27th, WikiLeaks began publishing the Global Intelligence Files, a collection of more than five million emails from Stratfor, a self-described “global intelligence” company. According to WikiLeaks’ press release, Stratfor “provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, such as Bhopal’s Dow Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defense Intelligence Agency.” As a private sector business employing intelligence strategies normally used by governments, the company is often referred to as a “shadow CIA.”
One of the first documents WikiLeaks released was an email regarding Stratfor’s partnership with a major Brazilian newspaper. According to the email, the newspaper will connect Stratfor with reporters who can answer questions about four broad categories: Brazil’s economy, infrastructure, defense, and national politics. Subcategories include port modernization projects, preparations for the World Cup, and anti-trafficking border defense strategies.
A recent article in Correio do Brasil suggests that the unnamed newspaper in question is O Globo, which is owned by Brazil’s largest media conglomerate. Suspicions were raised by a column published on February 16th by columnist Merval Pereira, in which the columnist writes Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s poor health in detail, and predicts his death before the next election. A Stratfor email published on February 27th discusses Chávez’s health and lifespan in similar terms. As WikiLeaks continues to post emails, the identity of the newspaper and the nature of the partnership may become clearer.
Another Stratfor email casts suspicion on President Lula’s military defense spending at the end of his final term.
Posted in News
Tagged O Globo, WikiLeaks
Morro de São Carlos
Translation of article “Beltrame via reforçar UPP no Morro de São Carlos.” From Repórter de Crime, O Globo, published February 21, 2012.
This morning Rio de Janeiro’s Security Secretary, José Mariano Beltrame, told the blog Repórter de Crime that he plans to send troops from the Military Police’s Shock Battalion and Special Operations Battalion (BOPE) to provide support to some Police Pacification Units (UPPs). Beltrame stated that UPPs in areas that have seen conflicts between police and residents, as well as armed clashes with drug traffickers, may receive reinforcements.
“This Thursday we will discuss the possibility of sending additional troops to support UPPs, to distribute pamphlets, and to encourage favela residents to turn in traffickers,” Beltrame stated. He acknowledged that there are obstacles to pacification in the favela Morro de São Carlos, in Estació, where the chief drug trafficker was arrested yesterday morning after a shootout between police and traffickers. Wendel Timóteo Rodrigues Nunes, 14, was shot in the back during the skirmish, and a Military Police car was burned by traffickers. The shootout took place during the Carnaval street party “Boi sem chifre,” leaving almost a hundred people caught in the crossfire. Continue reading