Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Communism By Any Other Name: Brazil to Keep Troops in Rio Slum for Another 6 Months


RIO DE JANEIRO – The Brazilian government accepted Tuesday the request of Rio de Janeiro state that the army keep troops stationed until June in Complexo da Mare, a group of shantytowns where authorities wrested control from drug gangs eight months ago.

An accord signed Tuesday by state Gov. Luiz Fernando Pezao and the federal ministers of justice, Jose Eduardo Cardozo, and of defense, Celso Amorim, authorizes the army to keep 2,500 troops in the complex of “favelas” in Rio de Janeiro city for another six months in order to guarantee security.

The military was only supposed to remain in the city’s poor neighborhoods until the end of this month, but the state government requested an extension since the region is still the target of attacks by gunmen and there are not enough police available to substitute the soldiers.

The new agreement calls for police to begin substituting the army on April 2 in a gradual process that will continue until June 30.

This was the third time that the federal government has extended the soldiers’ assignment in Complexo da Mare.

“The (state) government had a problem with the campaign it opened to hire new policemen and lacks sufficient funds to fulfill the original timetable. We established a new transition timetable that is more realistic,” Cardozo told a press conference after his meeting with the governor of Rio de Janeiro.

According to Pezao, when the transition process is completed, between 1,400 and 1,500 police will be responsible for guaranteeing security in Complexo da Mare.

“Only with the cooperation (of the military) can we make progress in fighting crime in Rio de Janeiro. Without security in the shantytowns, we won’t have economic development nor will teachers and doctors come to these slums,” he said.

Complexo da Mare sits astride three important thoroughfares and just a few kilometers from Rio’s international airport.

Four years ago, the Rio de Janeiro state government adopted a pacification policy that calls for establishing a permanent police presence and robust public services in the shantytowns, long dominated by criminal gangs.

The pacification of Complexo da Mare was carried out in April, two months before Brazil hosted the 2015 soccer World Cup.

Despite the presence of the army, Mare was the scene in recent months of several clashes with drug traffickers, and in a shootout last month the first soldier was slain since the occupation began in April.


No comments: