Murders soar in Brazil World Cup city during police strike

April 18, 2014

Silvio Cascione – Reuters, 4/17/2014

A police strike ended on Thursday after unleashing a surge in violent crime in Brazil‘s third-largest city just two months before it is due to welcome hordes of football fans for the World Cup, authorities said.

At least 39 homicides were committed during the two-day strike in and around the north-eastern city of Salvador that added to fears about Brazil’s ability to ensure public safety during the global football tournament.

Violence swept the city after state police went on strike on Tuesday night to demand better pay and other benefits, prompting the federal government to dispatch troops to restore order in Salvador and nearby towns.

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Brazil: a role model for development?

April 17, 2014

Armando Barrientos & Ed Amann – The Guardian, 4/17/2014

Brazil isn’t getting the best press at the moment, with ongoing problems with the construction of the World Cup stadiums and protests about public services. Recently economic growth in the country has slowed, with some commentators arguing the recent government response sounds “the death knell for Brazil’s economic strategy“.

It’s remarkable how far and fast Brazil has fallen from grace. Only a couple of years ago, the IMF and others were lauding the country for its resilience to the global financial crisis and its sound economic management.

We need to get this into perspective, because behind the hyperbole, there’s much for other developing countries to learn from Brazil’s recent experiences. Countries such as Zambia, which has seen positive growth rates that haven’t translated into poverty reduction, or Nigeria, which has seen inequality dramatically widen over the past 20 years.

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Army tries to win over residents of Rio’s favelas

April 7, 2014

Marco Antonio Martins & Bruno Fanti – Folha de S. Paulo, 4/7/2014

Part of the success or failure of the occupation by the armed forces of the Complexo da Maré, in Rio’s north end, is its ability to win over the community. It’s what the military began trying to do three hours after its occupation of the 15 favelas of Maré.

Yesterday, there was a moment of tension between the military and residents after a young man was beaten by others and the military was accused of doing nothing.

Cláudio Brum dos Reis, 22, a student and resident of Nova Holanda, went to watch a game in Baixa do Sapateiro. The favelas were ruled by different factions. According to relatives, Reis was attacked by a group of teenagers and thrown in the ditch that divides the communities.


Occupying Brazil

April 7, 2014

Al Jazeera - 4/6/2014

In the canyons of Brazil’s largest city there are tens of thousands being left in the wake of the country’s economic riptide.

Sao Paulo has outstripped its capacity for affordable housing and yet there are hundreds of abandoned buildings that stand empty.

Facing the dire prospect of being forced into the streets by rising rents and living in the ever-expanding and hazardous favelas, there is an occupation movement taking responsibility for its own future. They seize abandoned buildings for the low-wage workers who have few options except to forcibly occupy them. They then have to live with the uncertainty that they could be removed either by the state or the building’s owner.


Attitudes on sex in Brazil tested

April 7, 2014

Loretta Chao – Wall Street Journal, 4/4/2014

In Brazil, where women in skimpy bikinis and carnival costumes are a common sight, one image of a half-naked female is drawing rare nationwide attention.

A widely distributed photo of a topless journalist with the words “I don’t deserve to be raped” painted on her body in Portuguese has polarized the country and underscored the contradiction between Brazil’s hyper-sexualized image and its lesser-known conservative underpinnings.

The journalist, 28-year-old Nana Queiroz, took the picture as part of a campaign to raise awareness over violence against women, which began after a government research agency said recently that 65% of respondents to a national survey agreed that women showing too much of their bodies deserve to be attacked.

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Military to investigate human rights crimes

April 4, 2014

Maria Lopez Conde – The Rio Times, 4/1/2014

Brazil’s Armed Forces will investigate human rights violations practiced in military units during the dictatorship that led the country between 1964 and 1985, as announced by the coordinator of the National Truth Commission, Pedro Dallari yesterday, April 1st. The news came on the 50th anniversary of the coup d’état that established a military dictatorship that would rule Brazil for over twenty years.

In a statement, the Commission announced that Defense Minister, Celso Amorim, called Dallari to inform him that Brazilian Armed Forces, comprised of the Navy, Army and Air Force, would create inquiry commissions to investigate the use of military installations for human rights violations, such as torture of political dissidents.

Back in February, Dallari, on behalf of the Commission, which is tasked with promoting national reconciliation after the dictatorship, had asked that the Defense Minister “help identify the structures of the places, the institutions and circumstances related to the practice of human rights violations” so that the “Brazilian society could have access to an extensive and accurate informative framework” of the crimes practiced by the government between 1964 and 1985.

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The flow of drugs and blood in the Amazon tri-border region

April 4, 2014

Charles Parkinson – In Sight Crime, 4/4/2014

Deep in the Amazon, where ColombiaBrazil and Peru meet, the once crime saturated Colombian city of Leticia enjoys relative tranquility, while Brazilian neighbor Tabatinga is rocked by drug trade violence.

The tri-border region’s geographical position leaves it at the heart of a booming drug trade facilitated by porous borders, a fluid population and disparate resources between the three nations.

Across the Amazon River from Leticia, drug traffickers take advantage of Peru’s inadequate state presence to grow and process coca. Drugs flow from the area into regional and international markets, with Brazil’s Amazon capital, Manaus, a key transit point situated a three day riverboat ride from the tri-border area. The drugs also fuel local micro-trafficking, with sales concentrated in poor border communities.

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Brazil jury: 15 police guilty in prison killings

April 4, 2014

Stan Lehman – The Associated Press, 4/3/2014

Fifteen Brazilian police officers were found guilty on Wednesday of killing four inmates during a 1992 riot at Sao Paulo’s Carandiru prison. Each was sentenced to 48 years in prison, although no one can serve more than 30 years under Brazilian law.

It was the fourth and last trial involving what has been dubbed the Carandiru massacre, in which 111 prisoners died at the since-closed prison.

In April of last year, 23 officers were found guilty of killing 13 inmates and sentenced to prison terms of 156 years each.

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