Brazil: Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea? No, Rio!

Post on December 30, 2010, 1:53 pm by the-victoria-law-group 0 Comments

Elite police units in borrowed navy tanks rumbled through a heavily fortified slum last week in an effort to apprehend drug gang leaders they blame for five days of widespread violence even as scores of armed youths fled the shantytown for a neighboring area.

Sound like Pakistan, Iraq, no, it’s Rio, home of the 2016 Olympic Games.

The slum, Germantown – or Complexo do Alemão – is a sprawling hilltop ghetto very close to Rio’s International Airport.  If it were in the United States, the hills would be dotted with WalMarts, McDonalds, Starbucks, and movie theaters.  In Rio, it’s lined with ramshackle home upon ramshackle home.  If you drive into Rio from the Airport, your route necessarily passes between the Atlantic Ocean on one side, and Germantown on the other.  The sheer size of the slum is mind-blowing, along with the remnants of its former beauty, as one of Rio’s original hilltop neighborhoods.

Brazilian authorities say the gangs had erected roadblocks on major highways to rob motorists en masse, torched more than 40 cars and buses, and shot up police outposts- all to protest against a security program that has been pushing them from slums where they’ve held sway for decades.

The officers arrived under the cover of police helicopters and amid the constant rattle of high-caliber gunfire despite the gang members’ efforts to block access with burning vehicles.

Read Juliana Barbassas’ The Miami Herald article here:

http://ping.fm/i8zMO

 

Filed Under: Brazilian News

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