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.
Thousands of protesters gather in front Rio's City Hall, February 7, photo credit: O Dia
Rio de Janeiro’s firefighters and civil and military police declared a general strike on February 9th. The police announced their intention to strike in late January, threatening to leave the city vulnerable to crime during Carnaval if their demands were not met. Rio police are among the lowest-paid in the country, making between R$1,277 and R$1,471 (730 and 850 USD) per month; their demands included a minimum monthly salary of R$3,500 (approximately 2,000 USD), a forty-hour work week, and transportation stipends. On Thursday Rio’s state legislature approved a pay increase of 38.9% to law enforcement workers, to be completed by 2013; however, this will only bring police salaries up to R$1,600.
According to an article in O Globo, 2,000 firefighters and police voted on the strike during a protest in Cinelândia on February 7th. Strike leaders stated that only 30% of firefighters and Civil Police forces would be on duty, and only to respond to emergency calls. Only the Homicide Division would function at full force. O Globo quotes Military Police Corporal Wellington Machado: ”From now on, public security is in the hands of the National Guard or the Army.” Carlos Gadelha, a Civil Police union leader, told O Dia: “Until the government agrees to renegotiate our salaries, we will have our arms crossed.”
According to an anonymous Rio resident, many citizens are uneasy about the coming weeks:
“They’re reporting on television that everything is normal, but in the North Zone the situation is tense. Many events related to Carnaval have been cancelled. Businesses are closing early and sending everyone home.”
Residents watch police activity in Maré
The death of Altair Bento de Oliveira, who was killed by a stray bullet during police operations in Maré, is under investigation by the Homicide Division. Given that 92% of murders in Brazil remain unsolved
(and that there are over 800 police murders a year), it seems unlikely that the investigation will be successful. However, it is being overseen by the city’s Human Rights Defense commission, perhaps in response to accusations of police brutality
in Maré. According to a representative, the commission is increasing its presence in pacified favelas like Rocinha
and the Complexo do Alemão. Agents make sure residents know their rights and urge them to use Disque Denuncia
, an anonymous tip hotline, to report police abuses.
Armored vehicle in Maré
Translation of article “Investigação de morte na Maré está sob vigilância.” Published in O Dia on November 24, 2011.
RIO – “It’s just me and you now! Will you help me raise your brother?” Clesiane Silva Ferreira, crying, asked her daughter Keyliane, 13, at the burial of her husband, shopkeeper Altair Bento de Oliveira, 46. The funeral was held this Wednesday afternoon at the Cemitério da Ordem Terceira do Carmo, Caju, in Rio’s Port Zone.
While media attention was focused on Rocinha, police were carrying out major operations in the Complexo da Maré, in Rio’s North Zone. “Operation Thunder” was intended to combat a gang that operates in Maré, and to clear the area for the installation of the Special Operations Center (Centro de Operações Especiais, or COE). The COE, which will open in the next few weeks, will house the Military’s elite squad, BOPE, replacing the current headquarters in Catete.
BOPE caveirão (armored vehicle) in Maré
BOPE has been present in Maré on and off for the past two months. In late October a group of organizations within the community released a statement accusing BOPE of human rights violations and requesting a suspension of police operations until the issue was addressed. The statement also requested a meeting with Security Secretary José Mariano Beltrame and the commander of BOPE. Operations in Maré continued, and this week a resident was killed by a stray bullet.
Translation of article “Homem morreu baleado durante operação da policia na Maré.” From O Dia, published November 22, 2011.
RIO – A man identified as Altair Bento de Oliveira, 26, was shot and killed this Tuesday morning during a Civil Police operation in the Maré favela complex, in Rio’sNorth Zone. He was killed in front of his house at 51 Rua Ari Leão. Operação Trovão (“Operation Thunder”), which is being carried out in the Parque União and Nova Holanda communities, is driven by four arrest warrants and six search warrants against a gang accused of kidnapping, car theft, and housebreaking in Ilha do Governador and its surroundings. Three people have already been detained.
MPs search for the body of Juan Mora in the Baixada Fluminense, photo credit: O Globo
English translation of article: “Rio soma 60 mil homicídios a esclarecer em 10 anos.” From O Estado de São Paulo, published July 10, 2011. By Pedro Dantas. Originally viewed on the blog Arma Branca by Cecília Olliveira.
The Number of Unsolved Homicides in Rio in the Last 10 Years Exceeds 60,000
A survey of the Public Ministry also shows that the victims were not identified in 24,000 of these cases
The Rio Police have an accumulated debt of at least 60,000 unsolved murders, most within the last ten years. Among the victims, 24,000 were not even identified. The figures were acculumated by the Public Ministry of Rio to meet the goal set by the National Strategy of Justice and Public Security (Enasp), a project of the Ministry of Justice, which aims to elucidate or archive all homicides commited since December 31, 2007.
Information taken from the Homicide Division (DH) shows that in the state capital, where most of the homicides occurred, little has changed in terms of investigations. The division, established in January 2010, solved 14%  of the 1,425 murders that occurred in its first year of operation