February 5, 2014
Loretta Chao & John Lyons – The Wall Street Journal, 2/4/2014
A wave of headline-grabbing violence in Brazil’s two biggest cities, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, is reviving concerns about security during soccer’s World Cup, which begins here in June.
Among the incidents, that came to light on Tuesday: Police are investigating an armed attack Sunday on the son of São Paulo state’s law-and-order governor. Some suspect it was an assassination attempt by a criminal gang.
Elsewhere in São Paulo, which will host the cup’s opening game, at least one public bus was burned by vandals on Monday night, bringing the total number of buses burned to 30 so far this year, officials say. Social scientists say the practice is a form of protest by youth in the city’s poor slums against heavy-handed police tactics and other societal ills.
February 4, 2014
Latin American Herald Tribunal, 2/4/2014
The increase in violence in the Brazilian city of Campinas prompted a court order for police to escort letter carriers.
With 3.5 million inhabitants, Campinas is the second-largest city in Sao Paulo state, where 4,439 people were slain last year.
Though murders are relatively common in the richest, most populated state in the country, Campinas stands out for its unequaled violence, a recent example being the killing of 12 people on the same night of Jan. 12.
February 4, 2014
The Pan-American Post, 1/27/2014
After years of São Paulo officials employing forced treatment and other heavy-handed tactics to fight the city’s crack epidemic, Mayor Fernando Haddad is trying a new approach. But his attempts to implement a health-based, humane line of attack against crack abuse are being challenged by state police, who favor more orthodox law enforcement practices.
Earlier this month, Haddad announced a strategic shift in the city’s battle with rampant crack cocaine use
in the central slum popularly known as Cracolândia. He unveiled “Operation Open Arms
,” a new program which provides housing, food and work opportunities to those living on the streets in the neighborhood. Inspired by the success of similar programs in the Netherlands and Canada
, participants will receive roughly $6.50 USD a day in exchange for cleaning parks and other public places. They will also be given meals, medical care and group housing in local motels, according to G1.
Giving up drug use is not a condition for participating in the program, though participants will be encouraged to do so and will have greater access to addiction treatment programs. Some 300 people have been enrolled in the program thus far, and were moved into motels after their improvised shelters were demolished on January 14 and 15.
While Haddad has touted the program as a bold embrace of harm reduction-based treatment, some are skeptical of the program. As the Christian Science Monitor
notes, many view it simply as an attempt to temporarily clean up the city’s streets in time for the World Cup. Several drug treatment experts who work in Cracolândia told the CSM they are doubtful that the program can offer a long-term solution to crack addicts.
January 27, 2014
Damien McElroy – The Telegraph, 1/26/2014
Demonstrations against the World Cup descended into street riots in Sao Paulo on Sunday as a Brazilian anti-inequality protest movement started a campaign against public spending on sports extravaganzas.
Cars were burnt in the streets, shop fronts were vandalised and bank windows were smashed as Brazilian chapters of the worldwide radical activists Anonymous called for support for “Operation Stop the World Cup”.
Police clashed with the crowd of up to 2,500 in running battles that at one point forced bystanders to seek refuge from the fighting. The protest forced the Sao Paulo authorities to call off an event to mark the city’s 460th anniversary.
January 27, 2014
Police in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo say they have detained 128 people during clashes that followed a demonstration against this year’s football World Cup.
A car was damaged by fire. Shops, banks and a police vehicle were also damaged.
The violence forced the authorities to cancel some of the festivities planned for the city’s 460th anniversary.
Earlier, some 2,500 people took to the street to complain about the costs of staging the World Cup in Brazil.
December 2, 2013
Simon Romero – The New York Times, 11/26/2013
There were the boxes of Cuban cigars, which cost about $500 each at a shop in Vila Nova Conceição, one of the most exclusive districts of São Paulo, and the $2,260 bottles of Vega Sicilia Único, a legendary Spanish red. Throw in a Porsche Cayenne, speedboat jaunts to tropical islands and all-night soirees with high-end escorts, and what do you get?
The unlikely lifestyle of a Brazilian tax inspector.
In one of the most salacious corruption scandals to captivate Brazil in years, the municipal government of São Paulo, the nation’s largest city, is reeling from revelations of a scheme in which investigators claim that a group of tax inspectors allowed construction companies to evade more than $200 million in taxes in exchange for bribes.
November 7, 2013
Christopher Looft – In Sight Crime, 11/06/2013
Sao Paulo’s state government is rolling out new measures to combat Brazil‘s PCC prison gang, but there are reasons to doubt the group can be thwarted.
In October, a Sao Paulo court ordered the transfer of First Capital Command (PCC) lieutenant Paulo Cezar Souza Nascimento Junior, alias “Paulinho Neblina,” to the Special Disciplinary System (RDD), a form of solitary confinement, according to a report by Estadoa de Sao Paulo. The transfer of other PCC leaders is expected in the coming days, according to a more recent report by Estadoa.
The move wasn’t the first signal that Sao Paulo’s government has sought to crack down on the PCC, which dominates much of the state’s drug trade and other criminal activities. In a speech given on October 14, Governor Geraldo Alckmin announced the creation of a new task force to identify corrupt police officers working with the group. Alckmin also touted efforts to limit the group’s communications; he said cell phone jamming systems would be put in place in 23 high-security prisons across Sao Paulo state. He also expressed support for the transfer of the group’s leadership to solitary confinement in RDDs.
October 10, 2013
Rodrigo Tavares- Foreign Affairs, 10/09/2013
Last week, the United Kingdom made a new friend. Hugo Swire, the British Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, came to Brazil to sign an agreement establishing “formal bilateral relations” with São Paulo, Latin America’s wealthiest state. In late March, the United States signed an identical agreement — the first time that the U.S. State Department forged “direct relations” with a subnational government in the southern hemisphere. Canada, France, Germany, and a handful of other countries in Europe and Asia will soon sign their own agreements with São Paulo. Why are national governments making formal relations with cities and states, and what does it mean for the future of diplomacy?
It’s about time that diplomacy adapted to modern times. Information is no longer privy only to embassies. Today, many private intelligence firms, think tanks, and NGOs have better access to quality sources than experienced diplomats do. And the idea that diplomats should exclusively represent their governments in other countries is now obsolete. Government leaders regularly dispatch their trusted aides on strategic missions instead of relying on career diplomats whom they may not know personally. These new emissaries often eschew choreographed, ceremonial diplomacy for immediate results; they favor foreign investment instead of foie gras. Taxpayers around the world raise their eyebrows at the costs of certain trappings of diplomacy, and they demand more restraint than is evidenced in many traditional diplomatic rituals — such as those in Japan and Sweden in which ceremonial horse-drawn carriages still transport newly appointed foreign ambassadors to meet Emperor Akihito and King Carl XVI Gustaf, respectively.
August 14, 2013
Brazil’s São Paulo state will sue German engineering giant Siemens to recoup public funds its governor said it lost to a cartel that fixed prices for public transit construction, equipment and upkeep.
“We are going to open a case against Siemens for damages to public coffers and the state of São Paulo and to demand total reimbursement,” Governor Geraldo Alckmin told reporters on Tuesday.
The lawsuit will be based on information in a complaint against Siemens filed with Brazil’s anti-trust agency by Brazil’s National Subway Operators Association, he said.