Brazil launches Amazon anti-crime operation

BBC, 05/03/2012

The Brazilian armed forces have begun an operation in a vast area of the Amazon to tackle drug trafficking, logging and illegal mining.

More than 8,500 troops are taking part in Operation Agata 4.

They will be patrolling an area that stretches some 5,000km (3,100 miles) along Brazil’s northern border.

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Alleged Brazilian drug lord arrested in Paraguay

AP/Las Vegas Sun, 10/19/2011

Rio de Janeiro state authorities say one of Brazil’s most-wanted drug lords has been arrested in neighboring Paraguay.

State public safety spokesman Daniel Pereira says Alexander Mendes da Silva was arrested Wednesday in the Paraguayan city of Pedro Juan Caballero.

He says Paraguay will deport Silva, who is expected to arrive in Brazil by Thursday.

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Uphill battle against drug crime in Brazil

Claire de Oliveira – AFP, 09/09/2011

Authorities in Rio have been in a race to impose security in the city since 2008 (AFP, Antonio Scorza)

Ridding Rio de Janeiro’s infamous favelas of drug traffickers in time for the upcoming football World Cup and Olympic games is proving an uphill fight for Brazil.

Brazilian police and soldiers late last year swept drug gangs out of some Rio slums in a high-profile and bloody operation, as the city prepares to host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.

Preparations generally are proceeding on schedule ahead of the famous sporting events, as Brazil builds new stadiums and modernizes its infrastructure.

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Women in favelas broadcast peace

Fabiana Frayssinet – Inter Press Service, 07/12/2011

Local women’s voices have begun to be heard over a community radio station now broadcasting in Complexo do Alemao, a clump of favelas or shantytowns on the north side of this Brazilian city that were ruled until recently by armed drug gangs.

Gender issues, social and health matters, local environmental problems, employment and women’s rights are the focus of Radio Mulher, or women’s radio station, which began to broadcast this month.

Before going on the air, the participants received a year of training about the workings of a radio station, including general courses for all as well as specific training in different areas depending on each woman’s role in the station, as determined by each individual’s strengths and talents.

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Israel prohibits Brazil to sell anti-drug aircrafts to Venezuela

El Universal, 07/06/2011

Brazil will start manufacturing unmanned aircrafts with the help from Israel, thus allowing the South American country to control drug trafficking on its border areas. However, the Brazilian authorities may not sell them neither to Bolivia nor to Venezuela, as instructed by the Israeli government.

Miki Bar, a representative of state-run company IAI, which manufactures the unmanned aerial vehicles Vants, said that Tel Aviv authorized the manufacturing and export of the aircrafts to Brazil, provided that they are not sold to its South American neighbors, Bolivian newspaper Página Siete reported.

The relations between the two South American countries and Israel have deteriorated. In the case of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez expelled Israel’s Ambassador Shlomo Cohen in 2009, in solidarity with the Palestinian cause. Israel also expelled the head of the Venezuelan embassy. Therefore, the diplomatic relations between both countries have been broken since January 2009.

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Brazil, Paraguay agree to join forces against organized crime

Ronan Graham – InSight, 06/30/2011

Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota and his Paraguayan counterpart, Jorge Lara Castro, signed a number of bilateral agreements yesterday at the first day of a Mercosur summit held in the Paraguayan capital, Asuncion.

The two countries agreed to improve their methods of exchanging information, and committed to share and co-ordinate research and technology related to drug trafficking.

The agreement also focuses on improving “public safety,” with the two countries committing to coordinating their efforts on preventing drug abuse and dealing with crimes connected to drug trade.

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Brazil drug gangs have offices in Paraguay: Police

Jen Sokatch – InSight Crime, 05/19/2011

Brazilian police warned that Paraguay has become a base of operations for Brazil’s criminal organizations, which are seeking to cut middlemen out of the drug trade that goes through the neighboring country, particularly the flow of marijuana.

The Brazilian Federal Police’s representative in Paraguay, Antonio Celso dos Santos, told newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo that Paraguay is increasingly becoming an outpost for Brazilian drug trafficking organizations. He named the First Capital Command (Primer Comando Capital – PCC), Red Command (Comando Vermelho) and a faction of the so-called Friends of Friends (Amigos dos Amigos).

He said that the groups are relocating to Brazil’s much poorer neighbor Paraguay in order to avoid capture and go about their business more easily. “If I were a criminal and looking for a place that had few police, where the chances of me going to prison were small, which has great mobility and is close to my consumer market, it would be Paraguay,” he said.

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Peru’s Humala eyes social programs on Brazil visit

Raymond Colitt and Brian Winter – Reuters, 06/10/2011

Peru’s Ollanta Humala praised Brazil on Thursday as a successful economic model and sought to learn more about his neighbor’s social welfare programs while on his first trip abroad as president-elect.

His stop in Brasilia, the first on a South American tour, was to showcase his transformation from an ally of Venezuela’s socialist leader Hugo Chavez into a more moderate, market-friendly leftist.

“Brazil is a successful model that combined economic growth and social mobility,” Humala said following a meeting with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

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Arrests of Brazilian police spur drive against graft

Alexei Barrionuevo – The New York Times, 02/14/2011

After the federal police arrested 30 police officers in Rio de Janeiro on Friday who were suspected of working with drug traffickers, José Mariano Beltrame, the state’s senior police official, said that rooting out corrupt officers would be a priority this year.

Mr. Beltrame said that federal officers involved in a major corruption investigation called Operation Guillotine had arrested 38 people, including 20 officers from Rio’s military police and an additional 10 officers from the city’s civil police.

“In no part of the world do police turn the page with this type of people,” said Mr. Beltrame, who is the security chief for the state of Rio de Janeiro.

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Rio de Janeiro’s pacification program

Adam Isacson – Just the Facts, 01/05/2011

A view of Rio's Complexo de Alemão favela. Photo: Just the Facts

Just before the holidays I accompanied WOLA colleagues on a week-long research trip to Brazil. While In Rio de Janeiro, I saw a scenario that’s starting to look very familiar around Latin America, and that may recur elsewhere in 2011.

It goes something like this:

  1. Decades of government neglect effectively cede a piece of territory, and its population, to violent groups. This neglected territory could be a discrete urban neighborhood; it could be a vast rural region. The violent groups – whether insurgents, pro-government militias, mafias or gangs – recruit unoccupied youth and fund themselves by drug trafficking, extortion and kidnapping. The illegal groups corrupt and penetrate the very government institutions that are supposed to confront them: the security forces, the judicial system, local and sometimes national government.

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