Monday, March 4th 2013 - 05:55 UTC

Brazilian special forces take control of Rio ‘favelas’ close to the airport and seaport

Brazilian security forces seized control of two crime-ridden ‘favelas’ slums near Rio do Janeiro’s international airport and seaport Sunday in a new bid to drive out drug traffickers ahead of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 summer Olympics.

The flags of Brazil and Rio flying after the favela were taken back to government control

Governor Cabral said “it's a renaissance of the area” and “it frees communities from the power (of criminals,”

More than 1.500 police and navy commandos backed by armored vehicles made their way into the narrow streets of the Caju complex in a dawn operation that lasted about 25 minutes and went off without a hitch.

Some 200 civilian police officers simultaneously occupied the Barreira do Vasco shantytown, the public security secretariat said. Police said they encountered no resistance and no shots were fired in the two shantytowns which have a combined population of about 20.000.

Twelve people were arrested and quantities of weapons and drugs were seized. Police also said that prior to Sunday's operation, intelligence work led to the arrests of 284 adults and 36 minors in the area.

They urged residents to report criminals as well as drug and arms caches in their communities.

The flags of Brazil and Rio de Janeiro state were hoisted at a special ceremony to symbolize the restoration of government control over the area, which for years had been under the sway of drug traffickers.

“The operation has been a success,” military police Colonel Frederico Caldas told O Globo television. “This very important, strategic area was taken without firing a shot”.

Rio state Governor Sergio Cabral also hailed the successful operation. “It's a renaissance of the area” and ”it frees communities from the power (of criminals),” he said.

Members of Rio's feared military police battalion BOPE are to occupy the zone until a specially-trained police force known as UPP can be deployed.

The operation in Caju was part of a government strategy to combat crime and reassert full control of the Rio de Janeiro metropolis ahead of the foorball World Cup of 2014 and the summer Olympic Games two years later.

In 2008, Rio authorities began cleaning up lawless ‘favelas’, or slums, one by one, hoping to finish the job before the big sporting events that are likely to bring to Rio millions of tourists.

Officials say the next target will be the violence-plagued Mare complex, a major drug trafficking center.

The area, home to 75.000 people and located near the airport, is largely controlled by drug gangs and militia units. It is ringed by freeways, including one that provides access to Galeao international airport.

So far, 30 UPP, or Police Pacification Units, with more than 8.000 officers have been deployed and are protecting more than half of the two million people who live in local slums.

The previous police occupation took place last October in the Jacarezinho and Manguinhos favelas. Authorities said their goal is to have 40 UPPs in place by 2014.

Violence has receded since police launched operations in the slums, including in Rocinha, Brazil's largest shantytown.

10 comments Feed

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1 Escoses Doido (#) Mar 04th, 2013 - 07:43 am Report abuse
All they are doing is forcing them to re-locate, not ending the problem.

Re-locating to nicer places (was nicer) like where I live.

They will be right back to buisness as usual after the olympics.
2 GeoffWard2 (#) Mar 04th, 2013 - 10:20 am Report abuse
So true.
3 yankeeboy (#) Mar 04th, 2013 - 01:14 pm Report abuse
A country that wants to be part of the first world can't have these types of problems. It is embarrassing.
This is why I think Brazil will be a leader in South American but never amount to anything more than a big fish in a small pond.
4 ChrisR (#) Mar 04th, 2013 - 04:35 pm Report abuse
A few months ago I watched the 'City Of God' a film based on real events and widely acclaimed as realistically portraying the situation on the ground in these favelas.

The numbers of people involved are huge and it seems growing by the day.

The real problem (as shown by the film) was the social exclusion of young people from mainline society if they were a resident of these terrible places. Moving them out will not suddenly make them socially respectable or acceptable as they lack basic education and skills needed to obtain and keep even the lowest jobs available to them.

Very, very big problem here and I cannot see it changing anytime soon.
5 GeoffWard2 (#) Mar 04th, 2013 - 05:22 pm Report abuse
Hi Chris,
simply living in a favela doesn't make you bad, unemployed or uneducated. But bad people are more frequently found amongst the thousands of favela families just trying to make it to the end of the week.
They live under the thrall of the criminally bad-boys, but many of the bad-boys are under the protection of the police and politicians.
'City of God' and the two Bope movies are saying through film what it is dangerous to say out loud (especially the second Bope film) ... that vicious people live everywhere in society - from the bottom to the very top.
We have to strip them out from the top first, otherwise it will carry on 'forever'.
6 ChrisR (#) Mar 04th, 2013 - 06:25 pm Report abuse
Hi Geoff,

Perhaps I was inept with my post as I certainly did not want to claim that it was the fault of the young people for their predicament, but as I understand it they have to go out and get money for their family within the criminality prevalent in the favelas.

I am aware of the corruption that exists at all levels in Brasil both within the police and the politicians and I do hope and trust that Dilma, if she gets another election under her belt, can address things at the top.

I am happy to be guided by you: can you see any real change anytime soon?
7 Escoses Doido (#) Mar 05th, 2013 - 03:27 pm Report abuse
@5 &6;
How long have you guys lived in Brasil?
8 ChrisR (#) Mar 05th, 2013 - 06:29 pm Report abuse
I have lived in Uruguay for almost two years but my interest in Brasil is purely from a potential investment point of view.
9 Escoses Doido (#) Mar 05th, 2013 - 09:05 pm Report abuse
Been living, and married with family in Brasil since 2003.

Just live there, work internationally.
10 agent999 (#) Mar 08th, 2013 - 09:41 pm Report abuse

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