So, why do I live in Rio de Janeiro?

There is good and bad everywhere so its all a question of weighing the options.
As an aquaintance of mine who lives between Rio, London and Miami so succintly puts it “There is a lot of shit around everywhere but I kind of like this shit here best”.

Rio de Janeiro the Cidade Maravilhosa

Why Rio? Why not? Its probably the most visually stunning city I have ever been to.

It’s a city and all cities are complicated, some more so than others so there needs to be some clarification.
I live in the comfort bubble of Zona Sul in Botafogo, almost in Humaita, two blocks away from the city´s major cemetry and overlooked by the hillside favela of Dona Marta two blocks in the other direction.
The favelas have the City´s best views and worst services having been totally ignored by the politicians for too many years.
Founded of neccessity and exploitation, their whole history is complex.
It’s not a crime to be poor but many Rio politicians, and also the Police, like those in the USA treat them as if it is.
To their eyes it is better to ignore the problem than resolve it.

Until they built the apartment block across the road I could see Christo from my veranda.
I live in the middle of a city that doesn’t really sleep, yet as my second floor apartment in an old vila is back off the street, tranquility reigns,
until the neighbours have a party or the helicopters of War overfly the area.
This part of Botafogo has everything within ten minutes walking distance, buses, metro, supermarkets, laundry, cinemas and theatres, music clubs, you name it, we have it.
The cross streets are luxouriously treelined and the paraqueets squabble noisily.
Every now and then a toucan puts in an appearance as do Micos, little marmosets, but that is more towards the cemetry and the forest.
The streets are a mix of old and new buildings. The main thoroughfares were the only way from downtown to Lagoa and Copacabana and Ipanema before the tunnels.
Some of the older quasi palaces still survive, especially on Rua São Clemente, set back in their own gardens.
Here on Rua São João Batista there are still buildings dated 1890
Voluntarios de Patria the main artery leading to the Metro is a hive of commerce both formal and informal.
This is part of what I love about the city. I am sure there is an informal regulation of the street commerce in that the street vendor pays off someone for his / her patch.
This can be from coffee and sticky cake to socks and elecrical equipment. In the evening there are popcorn sellors and soup caldrens, hot dogs and acaje.
At weekends the BBQ churrasqueiros pop up by the botecos with Picaña and linguica (steak and sausage).
And then there are the street markets.

The beach, when needed is a 10 minute bus ride away. This has its own rhythm. No need to take anything, its all there, chairs and sumbrellas for hire, drinks, alcoholic and non from wandering vendors or the barraco.
The Rio Beach is not quiet, it is a hive of activity, Açai, Queijo Coalho,
Caipirinha, Maté, beer, fresh sanduiche, pasteis, kangas, sunglasses, suncreams, jewellery, hats, and more all being hawked energetically under the blistering sun
which shimmers off the waves and oiled flesh of trim and the not so trim alike.
The ‘orla’, the seas edge is busily taken up with walkers, incedibly talented players of “altinho” or keep it up, frescobal, or kids digging holes in the sand.
The vibrancy of this city is amazing.
The pavements are frequently full, people wander between the traffic, street people ask for handouts normally unagressively.
Grafitti is the broadcaster in the street, frequently political and often with bitter-sweet humour,
and then there are the murals,
When it all gets too much I can go back to my cat and quiet apartment and listen to samba, because last but not least the Music. It’s everywhere.
Get out of the metro on the way home from work and there might be a good rock n´roll band covering Hendrix.
Wander down the street a bit and you moght find a couple of drummers beating out an infectious rhythm or a saxophanist playing reggae.
From the exquisitely talanted Yamandu Costa to the biggest party in the world – Carnaval the City rocks and sways
I will leave you with some Maracatu and the Bateria of Portela

Light rain, chirping birds and distant gunfire

Light rain, chirping birds and distant gunfire.

In 1967 The Mamas & the Papas sang some wonderful harmonies about the darkest hour just before dawn

On Saturday I awoke in the half light to light rain, chirping birds and distant gunfire. Second day runnung.
The city is at war with itself. The politicians have completely failed at a federal, state and local level.

Corruption is rife. The poor suffer.
The middle class shrinks
The rich get richer and run away.

This morning – Tuesday – there were shootouts in five favelas just in Zona Sul.

The ‘war’ is complicated. The motivation is power and money through control of territory.
Milicias, Traficantes, Police, Army, Politicians.
Life on the “asphalt” in Zona Sul continues as normal but in the favelas and outside of this bubble and in the burbs it gets a little bit grimmer by the day.
The wife of an aquaintance (admittedly a princess who lives in an ivory tower) refuses to go to or from the airport after dark.
Hold ups and shootouts are a daily occurence but have been all the time I have been here, however now the frequency is intensifying.
What are the powers that be doing about it?
Not a lot.
When will it end?
It won’t until very many problems are solved.
In no particular order
Complete reform and training of the Police forces.
Legalization of Marijuana.
Acceptance of Black people as other than 2nd class citizens
Being poor is not a crime.
Investment in infrastructure in the favelas.
A purge of the old guard politicians who treat Rio de Janeiro as a private fiefdom.
Streamlining and reform of the legal system.

An extraordinary story was published in Globo last week suggesting that Marielle was assassinated by an elite murder squad.
This story has not been touched on by any other publication.
The article gave past history of this group and is a frightening read.
Since Marielle’s execution a Journalist aquainatance of mine with good sources into the mechanisms of power here in Rio told me that she is much more circumspect now about what she publishes.
Freedom to write what one thinks is definitely becoming more difficult as more and more journalists self censure.

Below follows translations from a coouple of Globo articles

Paywalled link
“RIO – In the trail of the investigation of the murder of councilwoman Marielle Franco, police discovered the existence of an elite group of killers in Rio.
Formed by police officers and former police officers, among them an active major and a former officer of BOPE,

The group is highly specialized in executions to order, leaving no clues.

The participation of this group, known as the Escritório do Crime, is one of the hypotheses raised by the police to explain the degree of complexity in the
solving of the murders, which are now five months without solution.

The alleged involvement of the Escritório do Crime, in the deaths of Marielle and her driver Anderson Gomes does not negate the main line of investigation so far:
that the executor could be the Orlando de Oliveira Araújo, militiaman, the Orlando de Curicica, who is in the federal prison of Mossoró, in Rio Grande do Norte.
The suspicion is that the group of killers would have assassinated the councilwoman when it was contracted by Curicica, but the police do not rule out the possibility of another principal.
The proliferation of hypotheses involving this crime indicates how much the investigation of these assasinations still struggles to reach a solution.

Police have unconfirmed information that Marielle’s death would have cost about $ 200,000. (approx USD $63,000) ( According to these reports, the gang even asked for more money after the huge repercussion of the case.
The figures are in line with what the murder syndicate would charge: homicide ranges from $ 200,000 to $ 1 million, depending on the profile of the victim and their relevance.

If the involvement of the Escritório do Crime was confirmed, Marielle’s death would be one of their boldest but not their only acts: the gang performs “services” throughout the country and charges a premium
for actions outside Rio. Car journeys, carrying heavy weaponry and ample ammunition, increases its level of exposure.

The main police track to link the Escritório do Crime to Marielle’s execution comes from questioning a member of the gang. Although he denied that he was in Estácio, where the councilwoman was killed, on the
day of the crime, cell phone antennae crossed with a device used by the suspect indicated that he was in place on the day and time of the murder.

Another relevant fact, which reinforces the group’s participation, is that the Cobalt car used by the assassins passed through Itanhangá, before continuing to ambush Marielle.
A local city hall camera spotted the vehicle. On this route lies the Favela of Rio das Pedras, one of the strongholds of the killers.

The professionalism of the Escritório do Crime ends up being their signature, just one of the traces followed by the police. Just as they do not use their personal cell phones (the criminal’s device located by the
police was not in his name), they have the ability to make a prior withdrawal from inside information, such as whether or not security cameras are working.
Because they are police and former PMs, they know the administrative machine well and have a large network of informants.

Even the cloning of the cars is done by members of the gang, who maintain absolute secrecy about the actions. If there is the slightest suspicion that, internally, someone can betray them, the informant is eliminated.

At the head of the group is a former Bope officer. Members of the criminal organization are well-trained and able to spend hours in a car, for example.
That was what happened in the vigilance made while Marielle, on March 14, gave a lecture at the Casa das Pretas, Rua dos Invalides, in Centro, moments before being executed.
To avoid trips to the bathroom, criminals often urinate in bottles in the car itself.
If they are approached by the police, they present the corporation’s portfolio – there is always a PM in the car. If this occurs, abort the mission.

From the Bicho to the militia
The members of the group began acting as bicyclists’ security guards in Rio in the early 2000s, with the mission of securing the power and territories of their bosses.

Shortly thereafter, according to investigations, the former officer of Bope decided to create his team of rental killers, to assassinate the offenders of the offenders.
They would eliminate anyone as long as they paid them well. In the beginning, it was enough to have the description of the car of the victims, time and place, for the execution “service”.

Before long, the pack leader was no longer just a security guard, becoming the owner of his own business, exploiting the Bicho game and the slot machines.
The former officer became a militiaman, expanding his business into the construction sector and even selling gas stolen from Petrobras pipelines in the Baixada Fluminense.
Even so, death by order continued to be the most profitable business. Police assigned to the group dozens of homicides, both in the state and abroad, which remain unresolved.

List of murders without solution.

The murder portfolio assigned by the police to the Office of Crime is extensive.
One of the deaths that would be in the group’s account is that of the president of Portela Samba School, Marcos Vieira de Souza, known as Falcon, 52, in September 2016.
He ran for a seat of councilman for the PP and was executed in his electoral committee, in Oswaldo Cruz, in the North Zone, when his security guards left him alone for a few minutes.
It was long enough for two hooded men to enter the scene and assassinate the candidate with rifle shots to his head.
Neither did the presence of cameras in the place inhibit the action.

Another homicide attributed to the mercenaries is that of the retired PM sergeant Geraldo Antônio Pereira, in the parking lot of a gym in Recreio, in the West Zone, in May 2016.
At the time, the Capital Homicide Office (DH) reported that the main line of investigation was the dispute over the exploitation of slot machines in the region.
Pereira, while on duty, worked as a police officer assigned to the Anti-Sequestering Division (DAS).
In June of last year, the victim was a prostitute and Haylton Carlos Gomes Escafura, 37, the son of the bicheiro José Caruzzo Escafura, the Piruinha.
Once again, the crime was committed by two men who went up to a room on the eighth floor of a hotel in Barra da Tijuca, where the victim and his companion, 27-year-old PM Franciene Soares de Souza, were staying.
All crimes remain unsolved. ”

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
2nd Article

Five months after the deaths of alderwoman Marielle Franco (PSOL) and driver Anderson Gomes, a line of investigation gains strength:
the crimes may be linked to a group of killers known as the “crime office”.

The group is made up of military police officers, former police officers and militiamen.

In June, the Homicide Division took the testimony of an officer of the Military Police and another suspect in the gang.
The survey of telephone antennas searched the cell phone of one of them, in the same area of the crime, nine days before the murders.

On the night of the crime, on March 14, according to police, the antennas record the two phones used by the suspect in Jacarepaguá, in the West Zone of Rio, where he lives.
In a statement, the suspect denied any involvement in the crime.

He said he did not go through the area where Marielle and Anderson were killed, despite the record of the cell phone antenna the week before the crime.
The day after the deaths, the suspect boarded a flight to Fortaleza.

The locations where the killers car spent hours before the killings are another reason for the police to link the group to the crime.
The gang known as “crime office” has a stronghold: a condominium near the radar that caught the Cobalt silver, on March 14 at 17:34 in Itanhangá.
The vehicle ascended the top of Boavista and passed at 18:02 on the corner of Conde de Bonfim and Uruguaio streets in Tijuca, as RJ2 showed last May.

The Homicide Division even made searches for cameras in this condominium, where the group usually meets to plan the killings.
And there are not a few deaths that may be related to the so-called crime office.

Police suspect the group has participated:
The murder of the president of Portela, Marcos Falcon
From the contraventor Aílton Scafura, in a hotel in Barra da Tijuca
From Marcelo Diotti da Mata, in the parking lot of a restaurant in Barra da Tijuca, just over an hour after the murder of Marielle
The Execution of the retired sergeant of PM Geraldo Antônio Pereira.
The participation of the “crime office” in the death of Marielle removes another line of investigation of the Division of Homicide: the one that clears the responsibility of the militiaman Orlando Oliveira de Araújo, known like Orlando Curicica.
Police sources did not believe Orlando would hire the members of the office because he was very close to Geraldo Antônio Pereira.
The sources also say that he would have sworn viguta to the gang that would have killed his friend.

Marielle – Sempre Presente

Fuck off you uncouth orange haired shitgibbon

Its not often I’m proud to be British.

But this week I am, as the people of Great Britain came out in their droves to tell the Orange haired shitgibbon to fuck off. Something the chicken shits of politicians on both sides of the atlantic won´t do. I watched on social media the handwringing of those who said a visiting dignitary should be awarded a certain amount of decorum.
This is a man who perpetually lies, advocates and is proud of groping, overseas an agency which locks up children …I could go on for a long time.
That this person then cliams a special relationship with the British and procedes to try and interfere in their own highly convuluted political manoeveres is beyond the pale.
The British sense of humour firmly told him to piss off.
And if that wasn´t enough here is The Scotsman, unprecedented in 193 years of daily publishing:
A denunciation of Donald Trump: The 45th US President is an appalling human being

This would all be doubly hilarious except that the facts keep being ignored by those who can do something about it.
A long article in the NYMag asks: Will Trump Be Meeting With His Counterpart — Or His Handler?
A plausible theory of mind-boggling collusion.
For those wanting more user onceuponatime over at metafilter has a huge curated site of evidence of malfeasance.
The Independent long read says Trump’s visit will help buoy the already boisterous British right.
It goes further than Twitter gaffes and rogue councillors, and further than Boris Johnson and Donald Trump’s mutual adoration, or Theresa May’s desperate deference to the president
Finally just to finish this post off the ever excellent Fintan O’Toole writing in the Irish Times points out that Trial runs for Fascism are in full flow.

sign

Aprés Futebal

Football isn´t coming home. Not to this part of the world.

The Alternative shirt

The Brazilian Team and its world class diva are on the plane back to S. America and their disgruntled millions of fans who are now as acclimatized to being let down by their team as they are to being let down by their politicians.
Speaking of whom…
Whilest the country was in football fever the Brazilian congress completely beholden to the agro industries is poised to approve legislation to now use more agritoxic products that ever.
This is in a country which since 2008 has topped world pesticide use including those banned in other nations .

In Rio de Janeiro last week full time Bishop and part time mayor Crivela met in secret in the dark of night at the governor’s palace to promise his evangelical henchmen that they and their flocks could jump to the front of the queue for medical and dental treatment in the collapsing health system.

On a passing note The Inter-American Court of Human Rights condemned Brazil for its negligence in investigating, prosecuting, and punishing those guilty of torture and murder of journalist Vladimir Herzog in 1975, in the context of the country’s military dictatorship.
This of course was nearly completely ignored by local main stream media.

Footy gurl

Another bad day in the history of Brazil.

The extraordinary persecution of Lula da Silva is only slowly being recognized in the world outside Brazil

Leading UK human rights barrister Geoffrey Robertson QC has taken Lula’s case to the UN Human Rights Commission.
There is ‘no evidence’ that Lula is corrupt.

The same utterly corrupt parties that brought about the downfall of another ex president , Dilma Rousseff have lobbied hard for his conviction and imprisonment,
as have a portion of the armed forces and of couse the nebulous ”news” organisation O’Globo whose TV arm presently reaches 99.5% of potential viewers, practically the entire Brazilian population.

The speed of Lula’s conviction, which the right desperately want in order to prevent him standing in the forth coming elections can only be political ase polls have Lula leading the field at the moment, and many South American leaders have decried Lula’s Condemnation as a blow to Brazilian Democracy.

Geoffrey Robertson said earlier this year that the ‘extraordinarily aggressive measures’ to put Lula in jail and stop him running for president were being used ‘by the judiciary, by the media, by the great sinews of wealth and power in Brazil’, and in january A group of 12 congressmen from the Democratic Party in the United States published a public letter in defense of former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in which they accuse Judge Sergio Moro of persecuting him through the issuance of “arbitrary” decisions.

Lula’s persecution represents a narrowing of Brazilian democracy with far-reaching consequences. For a growing number of Brazilians — both from the Left and from the Right — the political system lacks any legitimacy. A year ago the NYT commented on Brazil’s broken Political leadership.

At the centre of the present maelstrom is Brazil’s Judge Moro described as a crusader against corruption… or politics? and who is and no newcomer to controversy.

Let us return to 2006
Before he took office in 2002 the banks viewed the former trade unionist as a communist Beelzebub, now they praise him as a role model. His promotion to the darling of the financial markets is an irony of history: It was Lula of all people, the one-time bogey man of the International Monetary Fund, who paid back Brazil’s debts.

Brazil based journalist Glenn Greenwald talks about the ‘military coup’ in process which he expands upon in this twitter thread.

A link heavy post where those far better informed and more erudite than myself amply set out part of the ongoing chaos that is Brazil.

No tanks on my street….. yet.

Sabres are rattling, and the military is becoming restless.

Brazil totters a step closer to the edge.

 


In an unprecidented act of interferance and intimidation General Eduardo Villas Bôas hinted at Military intervention if the ex President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, or known more commonly as Lula, was acquitted today by the Supreme Court.
This message was immediately parroted by William Bonner, anchorman for Globo TV.
Earlier yesterday, Army General Luiz Schroeder Lessa also made a widely circulated public statement, stating that if Lula was elected as president in October then there would be a military takeover of the country.
So South America reverts to form.

It is only 54 years, practically to the day that the last Military Coup happened in Brazil.

A responsible civilian government would have reprimanded the errant gereral immediately and sent him back to baracks indefinitely. However the usurper Temer and his clique are anything but responsible, being solely interested in their own welfare and staying out of jail.

Equally worrying was that General Villas Bôas’ tweet was immediately taken up and congratulaed by General Freitas, comandante militar do oeste; and General Pinto Sampaio.
The Military are getting restless and want a voice in Politics. (Courtesy of Google translate).
At the start of the Military intervention in Rio de Janeiro just over a month ago Temer announced that this could be a trial for other cities. Maybe he meant the whole country in which case he has done a deal to get a Keep out of Jail card.
Just under two years ago in May 2016 Romero Juca, close to Temer, who when forced to resign because of a leaked tape about closing down the Petrobras investigation said I am talking to the generals, the military commanders. They are fine with this, they say they will guarantee it.

Brazilian government is totally venal and corrupt, as shown by a list from last May which named all except the ring master.

In fact over 100 serving politicians were under investigation.
Rio de Janeiro alone has two ex governors in jail so that’s a start but there is a long way to go.
Meanwhile the country takes another step closer to the edge.

Marielle Presente !

Every now and then you get gut punched.

Marielle Franco: Brazil’s favelas mourn the death of a champion
[this post was started a week ago and has since been updated as more information comes out and many insighteful articles are written – some linked here]
City Councellor, activist, gay and inspiration for thousands of disadvantaged black kids, Marielle Franco, was executed together with her driver Anderson Pedro Gomes.
(For once some of the comments in the above link are worth reading)

I am so proud of my two young friends who helped decorate this wall

Belíssima homenagem à amada Marielle Franco no Estácio. Mari, você é semente, você é força, você é raça. Marielle vive! Anderson vive! <3

Posted by Marcelo Freixo on Saturday, March 17, 2018

This political assassination has caused great consternation, not only throughout the country, with spontaneous demonstrations in all major cities but also abroad. (Pt.)

The execution has been described as an attack on Democracy, which is a bit rich considering that since the dictatorship the favela communities have been excluded
and ignored. Indeed very few white middle class Brazilians have ever entered into one, preferring to pretend that that they are just areas where poor people and bandits live. As in America it is a social crime to be poor and black.

Marielle Franco’s death has helped galvanise the left into a showing of solidarity not seen since the demonstations before the world cup.

The far right either did´t repond to this atrocity, (Jair Bolsonario’s son deleted his tweet of semi condolence) or invented slander in an attempt to smear the
reputation of this remarkable and courageous woman. She was a marijuana smoker – who cares; she had a child at 16 , she was actually 19, she was married to a known gangster and drug traffiker – false. This rumor was being spread by Marilia Castro Neves, a Rio judge who is being sued (Pt)
Pictured in the article Marila is seen seated in first class or a private jet so many worlds away from the person she is slandering.
Marila in case anyone forgets is the magistrate that freed the infamous Raymond Whelan
Meanwhile the rabidly right wing MBL is trying to persuade people that the assassination of an activist politician is not a political event. Go figure.

The Intercept has a good round up of the frothing and bile (Pt).
It should be noted that Glenn Greenwald and David Miranda were both close friends of Marielle, and David had the sad duty of helping carry the casket of his friend and political companion.
Hopefully Greenwald and his team will continue to shine light on this murkey underworld that is corruption and crime not just in Rio but the rest of Brazil.
A country ranking 154 out of 190 with women in parliamentary positions.
1 in 6 of all human rights activists murdered globally are from Brazil and more than 20 leftist leaders have been assassinated in the last two years, black, white and indigenous. The Assassination of Human Rights Activist Marielle Franco Was a Huge Loss for Brazil — and the World.
As human rights watch states: The climate of near total impunity in Rio de Janeiro needs to end once and for all

Meanwhile the Elephant in the Room
Marielle’s Assasination and Military Death Squad Tactics
There is little I can find written in Eglish about the penetration of the Militias into Rio de Janeiro which has more power than the drug traffickers (Pt)
Known Militia associates were seen (Pt) in the parlimentary building the same day as the execution. The Intercept seem to be one of the few publications running with this story because the militia political influences run deep and the repercussions tend to be terminal. Approximately 2 million people live in areas controlled by milícias.
The other is El Pais and a translated page follows:
Appointed as suspects for Marielle’s execution, militias operate in Rio without being disturbed.
So this is the real challenge that faces General Walter Braga Netto, head of the Military intervention force in Rio. Whilest there are consumers there will always be drug trafficking but the parallel criminal state that is arising due to militias also needs to be ruthlessly quelled. It is an election year but many have openly called for the experiment now taking place in Rio de janeiro to be extended nationwide.

Left, Right, Left, Right, Left, Right

So just what the fuck is going on here right now?
As usual it is complicated.

The usurper Temer, unelected president of Brazil, hates Rio big time after a Carnaval where the Samba school Tuiuti depicted him as a corrupt vampire,
Temer Vampiro

And this year’s Sambodromo winners, Beija Flor was heavily against corruption

The Evangelist Mayor Crivella who abhors and loaths Carnaval decided to go to Europe ostensibly to look for means to assist the citizanery; since shown to be a huge fib.
Crivella by the way has avoided both Carnavals during his tenure. as well as slashing funding.

Law and order, the favorite of the Coxinas, shown to be puppets, is breaking down, with violence marring the biggest party in the world, not only in the suburbs as usual but also in the predominantly white, monied touristic Zona Sul.

So Temer sends in the military to take over. Not just as in the past during the Olympics but puts the army in charge of the City’s police force, the first time Brazil has taken such a decision since it introduced a new constitution in 1988 following two decades of military dictatorship.
This may or may not be a good thing seeing as the police are definitely part of the problem.

One thing certain is that this cosmetic band aid will bring Temer lots of approval from the mainly white middle class in an election year where there are as yet no candidates.
Yes that is correct. Six months from election day. No Candidates.
Another certainty is that violence in the favelas will increase. There is also the risk of Mexicanization as poorly paid armed forces get involved in organized crime,

Many of the long suffering people who live in the favelas are already having a pretty grim time with constant gun battles between armed factions and the police.
Not all are innocent as is shown by this recent video of Bate-bola “Bad bois” shooting in the air with their fuzis. – How did they get those you may ask.

So yes there is a huge problem, but military intervention is probably not the answer just a wet dream for the ultra right who are also very vocal.

Meanwhile the Cariocas Let out their inner Chicken

I've got mine

Here is hoping it doesn’t happen.
Temer nazi

The Darker side of Paradise

The helicopter woke me about 0500 hrs. Thats not so unusual these days.

Helicopters passing overhead mean trouble.
But you live in a major city you may say. Aren’t helicopters normal?
Correct but for the last 7 weeks the low intensity war in Rio de janeiro is not quuite so low intensity anymore.

Since the attempted take over by one criminal faction of another in the Rocinha favela, which is probably the most lucrative in terms of drug trade in the city, there has been daily police and military action.

How the police and armed forces allowed 200 – 300 armed followers of one of the factions to escape through the forested mountains is something the local media won’t discuss. No big surprise there. The local media is only really interested in discussing futeball and telenovelas.
If the Brazilian army isn’t trained for warfare in a forested environment what is it trained for?
Or is the theory correct that by leaving the bandits to fight another day the factions will wipe each other out, or at least seriously reduce their manpower.
Which leads to another problem: how are all the arms getting to the criminals and if you said via police and army you would be correct.

The resulting fall out has led to shootings in a further 15 or more favelas throughout the city.

Then there is the increasingly militant evangelicism, where some gang leaders state they are waging a holy war; in particular with attacks on afro-brazilian places of worship.
This is not being condemned by the church leaders, amongst them the present mayor of the city an evangelical Bishop.

Meanwhile the culture wars are also spreading with hysteria, homophobia and censorship of art, attacks on galleries and museums, and more generally on the creative and intellectual classes from a proto-fascist hate mob which although a small minority is gaining strength and visibility.

But hey the weather is warming up for summer and the girls are sashaying down the street so life can’t be all that bad in the Cidade Maravilhosa.

A letter from Rio

Another Year; More Craziness. A letter from Rio

A year and bit since the corrupt circus called the Olympic games left town.
Athletes exploited for nationalism made a fortune for a corrupt few.
The legacy: –
Rio de Janeiro city bankrupt.
The ex Governor and several of his henchmen are in jail. This is new. Corruption and theft of public monies is now a punishable crime; sometimes.
Rotting, wasting white elephant olympic infrastructure sites.
Crime level escalating. There is an App for that!
Full blown civil war beween rival gangs and Milicia and Police and Army with much overlapping rages throughout the suburbs of Zona Norte, Zona Oeste and Nieroi and São Gonzalo. The armyhas been drafted in again to try and keep it all under control. Tanks in Complexo de Maré.
Guanabara bay, to the shame of the international sailing community who did zilch, is still a stinking fetid mass. Priscila Pereira, an investigative journalist was murdered; the case unsolved, forgotten, ignored.
Is there light at the end of this recession? maybe. It’s been long and hard slog. Numerous small business have closed and the larger corporations all “downsized” with sickening brutality and insensitivity. I notice small construction is beginning again in sites that have been boarded up for the last couple of years.
Mind you this is in the cosseted Zona Sul.
What happens in Zona Norte, I don´t know and seldom venture there, I don’t like it. The vibe is hostile, I feel insecure. At least here in Botafogo I can walk the 10 minutes home at 2200 hours without feeling fear.
Our present Evangelical bishop and mayor Marcelo Crivella hates the gays and carnaval but says he has an empathy with African religions; he went there as a missioary for fucks sake. He has publically claimed that Evolution is still a theory.
There has recently been an outbreak of vandalism and terror and wanton destruction (link in Portuguese) of Umbanda and Candomble temples, with practicants being expelled from favelas by evangelical Militia leaders. Yes you read that correctly. Where are the Police in all this?. Well several are in the Milicias.
So why might you very well ask do I live here?
To which I answer that for all it’s faults, and they are legion, that this is the most vibrant place I have ever lived, and I wish to continue to do so. The People especially the young are getting more educated and interconnected with one of the worlds deepest penetrations of social media. Alternative news is drawing thousands away from the monopolies who lie, distort or just plainly ignore what happens, while portraying their very white bubble view of middle class and privilege.
South America´s largest popular music festival Rock in Rio kicked off on Friday night with Gisele Bündchen and Ivete Sangalo with the crowd cheering her with loud cries of FORA TEMER as she called for the Amazon to stay a wilderness.
Just in case you might have forgotten Brazilian President Michel Temer was charged with taking multimillion-dollar bribesand then tried to buy off the legislature by abolishing a huge Amazon reserve in the ‘biggest attack’ in 50 years. This was later rescinded in court but only after the corruption charges were dropped. So he is still President for now.
There are the joys of Elections in 2018 to come and at present Rio’s most popular candidate by a large margin is the fascist Jair Bolsonario.
We certainly live in interesting times.


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