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Brazilian army troops storm Rio favelas to crack crime gangs

Monday, August 7th 2017 - 21:14 UTC
Full article 17 comments

Thousands of Brazilian army troops raided Rio de Janeiro slums in a pre-dawn crackdown on crime gangs over the weekend, leaving parts of the city looking like a war zone on the first anniversary of the opening of the Olympic Games. Five favelas were targeted by around 1,300 police and 3,600 troops in a sweep starting at 4 a.m., the Rio state security service said in a statement. Read full article


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  • :o))

    GREAT title but let's wait for the excuses which we'll hear when the criminals continue to thrive, in spite of the [supposed to be] “Mega-Operation” by the Brazilian Armed Forces.

    Aug 07th, 2017 - 10:28 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    The only way to catch the hundreds of criminals - and find their weapons stash - is for the military to form a blockade around the slums, and for the police to then go in, heavily armed, checking house by house...those who prefer to shoot it out, face getting killed....Might be a good idea for the military, and the police, to keep their plans on the raids to themselves..
    Building a lot more maximum-security prisons would be good, installing cell phone blockers, ending conjugal visits and other amenities which are not exactly in line with the notion that prisons are meant to remove unwanted individuals from society and to punish them.

    Aug 08th, 2017 - 06:26 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • :o))

    Hi, Jack! True - we know THAT but police/armed forces + the politicians don't WANT to know that! Besides, the organized crime is not only much better organized; they “pay well” too!

    Aug 09th, 2017 - 10:46 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    RE Brazil/US free trade agrmnt .

    I wasn't sure what the rules for Mercosur were, I think I heard about Uruguay's agreement with the USA and wondered if that meant the members could sign their own trade deals. But if Uruguay, one of the smallest countries, could get away with breaking the rules, why couldn't Brazil?

    I don't think the US is particularly open to trade deals under Trump, but at least now it seems Mercosur is finally getting somewhere with the EU, that should help right?

    I hadn't realised how different the economic policies of the various left-wing leaders in South America were. Although they were all allied and all had policies to redistribute money to the poor, the Kirchners seem to have been much more protectionist than Lula, and Chavez went a LOT further into actual socialism, nationalising industries and interfering in business arbitrarily. I still don't know much about Morales and Correa, but I guess that is one reason Mercosur wasn't getting much done. Not only couldn't they agree among themselves, but they didn't want to make the compromises necessary for a deal with the US or EU and thought they could avoid the need by building trade with China etc.

    When you say Brazil's regulations don't match the US, is it just that they are different, or looser, or what? Would it really be good for Brazil to adopt the same rules as the US? If it would cost so much to update them it sounds like it wasn't just the PT or Mercosur that was in the way of a trade deal with the US. I wonder what the effect of a trade deal with the EU would be on Brazilian exporters? I'd say the EU has stricter rules than the US if anything.

    I agree with you about Macri. CFK had high taxes on agri-exports which reduced export income, and big duties on imports that increased costs in the country, but Macri seems to have gone too far the other way. He removed the taxes completely and seems mostly interested in increasing commodity exports rather than manufactured goods.

    Aug 09th, 2017 - 01:18 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    Uruguay / US found a way around the Mercosul‘s restrictions...not exactly sure of the implications, but seems the negotiations between Uruguay/US occurred within the sphere of an Investment Protection Agreement, signed by the two countries the year before, and into which they inserted a chapter on trade. Probably a legal loophole.
    While signing new trade deals might not be a US priority at the moment, any agreement will have to be good for the US, not just for the weaker economy. No doubt the Mercosul/EU trade agreement should help Brazil, but the Mercosur, as always, can’t seem to agree on anything..their internal bickering just delays and makes any deal more difficult. The truth is that many South American leaders are not qualified to govern, are too nationalistic and narrow-minded to see the big picture. They were happy to settle on the easiest way out, which was selling commodities to China, instead of sitting down to negotiate seriously, looking towards the future. Besides the technical norms in the US, usually stricter than any South American country’s, a trade agreement demands reciprocity….while the technical side is up to the exporters to comply with, reciprocity depends on the government being willing to make concessions…and that is where the main obstacle lies. If Brazil adopted US standards, a lot of things would have to improve…sure it would be costly, but there comes a time that the issue has to be addressed. The PT didn’t shy away from these challenges, because they represent(ed) a difficult, serious task, but because they were content to let things keep on as they were, as long as revenue kept pouring in…when it started to dwindle, it was too late. Regarding a trade deal with Europe, if not mistaken I think that the obstacles have to do with agricultural and cattle products more than anything else. The government should create favourable conditions and/or export mechanisms and then leave it to the private sector to do the business.

    Aug 09th, 2017 - 05:11 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    So Uruguay found a loophole; that country seems to do surprisingly better than its neighbours. But Brazil ought to have more influence in Mercosul anyway if they want a deal to happen, like Germany in the EU.

    But how do you know a deal with the US would be more beneficial than selling to China? It would inevitably mean concessions and allowing more US imports. Considering that cattle and agriculture are the big sticking points for a deal with Europe, it sounds like they will be a major part of the exports to the EU if and when a deal is agreed.

    I did read somewhere that Brazil's tariffs on imports and exports make no sense, and actively discourage domestic industry by making imports cheaper. I'll link it if I can find it again. If that's true then just reforming those should help, even without a trade deal, but no government has done it.

    Aug 10th, 2017 - 09:57 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    It’s hard to compare Uruguay and BZL due to different size/population, but relatively speaking, Uruguay has done a better job than Brazil. Brazil’s weight in the Mercosul is the same as of the other members…so being bigger doesn’t mean much. An FTA with the US does not exclude selling to China; Brazil could sell its manufactured products (as it used to), and commodities, to the US, which would help stabilize industry's performance and improve employment by providing hundreds of thousands of jobs, and could carry-on selling commodities to China or anyone else. It’s simple, create a larger, sustainable base. As to having to give reciprocity to the US, what the US has to export is far better than the useless trinkets and other products imported from China, many of which Brazil already manufactures. Competition with US products in our domestic market, besides the obvious benefit to consumers, would force Brazil to lower its taxes and to improve the quality of its own production. Higher taxes on Chinese imports, while making little difference due to their low wages, wouldn’t substitute Brazilian jobs lost to China. Am not talking of banning Chinese stuff, but of creating a system whereby differences are compensated in a rational manner, instead of taxing the hell out of everything. Brazil’s commodity exports to China over the last decade produced welcome revenue, but put all the eggs in one basket. Brazil’s import taxes are ridiculously high…just one example I’m sure you’ll be able to relate to : a bottle of Australian wine in the UK that costs £4, here costs at least £ 25…some other wine in the US might cost US$ 10, here it costs US$ 40… Taxes on local consumption vary from 40 to 60%, and if imported, the import taxes are added on top ; Can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel regarding lowering taxes…but an FTA would help.

    Aug 11th, 2017 - 08:29 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • :o))

    Hi, Jack!

    REF: “Brazil could sell its manufactured products”: YES. Raw Materials, Intermediates: NO [Ores: NO - Metal: YES]
    REF: “Can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel regarding lowering taxes”: Trade-Balance through the related taxation

    Aug 12th, 2017 - 11:12 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    “Brazil’s weight in the Mercosul is the same as of the other members”

    That surprises me; the bigger countries in the EU have always had more influence, although most decisions have to be agreed by all countries. Now Brazil and Argentina have changed governments, things have started happening, so perhaps the two biggest countries do have more sway than the formalities suggest.

    “a bottle of Australian wine in the UK that costs £4, here costs at least £25”

    Seriously? That's crazy. £4 would be distinctly cheap in the UK, since we have alcohol taxes, but still. Such high taxes on consumption must surely slow the growth of the economy. Compare the US where overall taxes are progressive, and Brazil where they sound pretty regressive, and decide which is doing better.

    But if import taxes are so high, don't they also apply to Chinese products? That's why I don't understand you wanting them taxed even more. And am I right in thinking you want free trade with the US rather than China because you can sell more manufactured products to the US?

    Cheap Chinese manufacturing is a bit of a double edged sword for all the richer countries. It makes people better off because they can get more for their money. But it makes them worse off because some lose their jobs as they can't compete. Do you think the same wouldn't happen with US-made products because they generally cost more than Brazilian ones, even if the tariffs were removed?

    At any rate, NAFTA is generally supposed to have benefited Mexico (and Canada), but Americans don't seem so happy with it. A deal with Brazil would be a tough sell right now.

    Aug 12th, 2017 - 03:56 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    Regardless of the same weight vote, power can influence voting, but Bzl has seldom bothered to take a tougher stance, preferring a paternalistic approach to issues with other Mercosul members.
    Re wine, I'm friendly with an Italian couple who spend half their time in Brazil, and they can't believe what their € 3 bottle of wine goes for here...Taxes in Brazil, direct & indirect, chew up 38-40 % of an average citizen's income. And considering that we have to pay extra for things which in other countries people usually don't have to - basic education, healthcare, public security - at the end of the day, there ain’t much left.

    “That's why I don't understand …”.. Labour costs in China are a mere fraction of that in western countries, therefore taxes have little effect towards levelling the playing field for local manufacturers...not to mention China’s exchange rate policy, manipulated to favor low export prices. Many western economies face this problem, but ‘dumping’ accusations have done little to correct it. Yes, I prefer trading with the US, to with the US is more balanced, instead of just swapping raw material for cheap finished products. When in the US, it’s surprising how a full supermarket cart is cheaper than the same stuff in Brazil…despite the unfavorable exchange rate. The US has outsourced quite a bit of their production, and Brazil could fit in comfortably if it got its house in order. With normal import taxes, such as those practiced by the US, Bzln imports from the US would be cheaper, besides usually better quality, ex: cars. Take the Ford F-150 Raptor pickup…“retail” price in the US, US$ 52,000 (between Ford/Ford would be less)…In Brazil, R$ 500,000. Convert US$ 52,000 to R$, add 10% import tax = R$ 180,000. Ever heard of Lands' End clothing ? even with a 95% import tax, their top quality products are cheaper than similar, and not as high-quality, products in Brazil.
    Re NAFTA, that’s why Trump wants to renegotiate.

    Aug 13th, 2017 - 05:54 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • :o))

    I hope that the Elite SPECIAL Forces are enjoying their Fun-Filled Vacation in the Marvelous City [@ Taxpayers' Expenses] and get a lot of publicity while making a few FEEBLE attempts to TRY catching some Petty-Thieves; [just for the namesake at least] if it doesn't spoil their Holidays!

    Aug 13th, 2017 - 09:14 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Wine is cheaper in Italy, but the poor old Brazilians have the worst of both worlds: high taxes like in developed countries, but crap public services like in developing ones (I think we all know exactly where the money goes). Many complicated laws but terrible enforcement. It sucks. Not everything can be dearer than in the US though, right? The minimum wage in Brazil is so low, people would starve.

    So basically Chinese products are already taxed, but because they are made so cheaply they still undercut the Brazilian version? It's difficult; according to older people I asked, consumer goods are much cheaper now they are all made in China, so ordinary people in Britain can afford a better standard of living. Although people complain, I think we would not like to go back.

    Trade with the US may be better for Brazil, but the US outsourcing its production is exactly what people there are complaining about. How would a deal with Brazil be any different to the despised NAFTA?

    With all Brazil's problems, d'you ever wish your parents had picked a different country to emigrate to?

    Aug 14th, 2017 - 10:29 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • :o))

    @DT: REF: “Wine is cheaper in Italy”:
    - TRUE!
    - Even the adulterated, duplicitous, & counterfeit wines are NOT CHEAP in Brazil!

    Aug 15th, 2017 - 07:25 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    You’re starting to get the hang of it…
    Regarding manufactured products, despite the exchange rate, many things are cheaper in the US…starting with cars, fuel, general household products, clothing, perfume, alcoholic beverages, pharmaceutical goods, vitamins, electronic goods, groceries, etc…and more expensive : in sectors where an individual’s contribution is valued, such as the cost of general ‘services’ (building contractors, plumbers & electricians, or other such services. A US$ 10,000 /month salary, gets you further in the US than in Brazil…after reasonably good public services and essential expenses, there’s more left over. That’s my impression after travelling frequently to the US, since 1980. Next year, the minimum wage in Brazil will be around USD 300 / month.
    Chinese consumer goods ARE cheaper than their Bzln counterpart, that’s why local industry got screwed - buying Chinese has had negative long term effects. In the late 70’s, amongst other products, I sold Brazilian bikes to Nigeria, as they were cheaper than English ones (Philips, Raleigh), but we too, soon lost out to the Chinese…people refused to see it was better to buy a quality product, that lasted longer, for just a bit more. Short-sighted, but that’s the market. Today Brazil’s bike industry has shrunk like hell…90% are imported (China), and pay high taxes (considered a luxury product !!!)
    An FTA with Brazil would NOT be similar to NAFTA…compared to Mexican industry before NAFTA, 'n despite not being on the US border, Brazil once had and has the potential to reconstruct its industrial park and be competitive.
    At times I wonder what life would be like had my parents gone elsewhere, or even if we had left Brazil in the mid-50’s, or in the early 60’s…but never having lived for any length of time outside Brazil - except in Africa, which would be a ‘no-no’ - I reckon I’ve gotten used to Brazil, despite its problems…the fact it could be better, and is’nt, is what pisses me off.

    Aug 15th, 2017 - 07:36 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • :o))


    Aug 16th, 2017 - 10:25 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    what d'you think of the “Fundo Partidário” ? only US$ 1.15 billion for the 2018 elections...plenty of money to spend on the campaign, and a lot left over for everyone to take a bit home. Especially the small parties, which only exist to sell their votes to the highest bidder and to get their share of the election fund...
    Also, what about rthe 'recreation' of the “contribuição sindical” ? now the unions want to reinstate it, under a different name, twice the value it was before, and make it obligatory, whether the worker is unionized or not....more than half the unions that are supposed to represent workers in the private sector, do absolutely nothing for those they claim to represent, reason why they refuse to accept the end of the contribution, which used to bring them in over US$ 1 billion per year. Thousands of parasites will need to actually start working...

    Aug 16th, 2017 - 03:09 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    So you saying, basically, that goods cost more in Brazil, but labour is cheaper? Not many people earn US10,000 per month, but that suggests the Brazilian system doesn't benefit better off people either. Maybe those at the very top?

    US$300 is very low, that's less than £3000 per year. For comparison students in the UK get £8,200 in loans if living away from home outside London. Max jobseekers allowance is £3800 if you're over 25, and people could get housing benefit in addition if they were renting. I always supposed the cost of living would be lower in places like Brazil, but it sounds like it's mainly the standard of living that is different. :(

    Is Brazilian industry really more competitive than Mexico's was? I guess at least it would be harder for firms to outsource, since Brazil is further away. But there might be problems with farming competition, as the US heavily subsidises its agricultural sector. Do many people still live off small scale farming?

    “the fact it could be better, and isn't, is what pisses me off.”

    That's totally understandable, and I bet most Brazilians would agree. 'Eternal country of the future”, and all that.

    And what was that about the contribuição sindical? Temer just abolished it and now the unions are trying to bring it back?

    Aug 16th, 2017 - 10:03 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

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