Sometimes I despair.
But then I have the proverbial cup of tea and move on.

Brazil has suffered more death in the past 3 months from Plague than in all of last year.
There was supposed to be a moratorium in Rio about police action in favelas during the pandemic.
I say supposed because death by police is on the increase and two days ago 28 people were killed in a Police action in Jacarazinho in the Zona Norte of the city.
There are plenty of videos out there which I am not going to link to. Suffice to say blood and entrail smeared all around a kids room is not pleasant viewing.

The rather lame excuse given by the authorities was that juveniles were being coerced into the drug trade.
As kids the city over act as lookouts and runners for the gangs, this is is nothing new.
More interesting is that Jacarazino is considereed one of the heartlands of the Commando Vermelho.

Ok so this was a city hall / government intervention to sort out this out.
Not quite.

More cynical and perhaps correct observers are pointing out that this is a continuation of gang warfare for territory and thus for power and profit.
There are two major groupings in the city. Milicia and Traficantes, though the line between them is increasingly blurred.
However the milicia is heavily composed of Police, serving and retired, together with ex military and firemen.
The Milicia strongolds are in the Zona Oeste, though the Milicia are now thought to control up to 60% of the city.
Some say the Milicia is no longer a shadow state; but it is the state. This definitely rings true in Rio.
It is common knowledge that milicia associate Fabricio Queiroz an ex military policeman is a very close friend and associate of the Bolsonazi and his family and that he went into hiding in Rio das Piedras in Zona Oeste. It is there in Zona Oeste that the president is registered to vote and family ties are strong. Bolsonaro’s senator son Flavio owned a chocolate shop there which was suspected of being nothing more than a money laundry operation. It is also suspected that the contract to kill Marielle Franco was organized through these Milicias.

One of the main West Zone Milicias is The ‘Escitorio de Crime‘ or crime office whose leader Adriano Nobrega in 2005 received Rio de Janeiro’s highest honour, the Tiradentes Medal, from Bolsonaro’s son, senator Flavio Bolsonaro, while he (Nobrega) was in jail on a homicide conviction.
Nobrega was implicated in the assassination of Marielle Franco and was killed in a Police shootout.

As Benjamin Lessing a political scientist and Carnegie Fellow points out on Twitter police conduct 4 times more operations in areas held by the Commando Vermelho and other prison/drug gangs than in milicia areas. Milícias charge residents for “protection” from drug gangs. Partly that’s just euphemism for extortion; drug trafficking still goes on. But residents of milicia-controlled neighborhoods really are protected from a terrifying form of violence: police operations. The fact that the police rarely invade milícia territory, and frequently invade CV territory, gives the milícias a very real advantage, one that–anecdotally anyway–residents of milícia areas recognize. Deliberately or not, this favors milícia expansion.

It is of course purely coincidental that the President, a Milicia defender, had a meeting with the acting governor (Witzel has been removed for suspected corruption) the day before the Jacarazinho police action and resulting massacre.
The special forces involved lived up to their terrifing and bloodthirsty reputation, executing whom they wished plus a few that got in the way.
In no way do I exonerate the gun toting trafficantes.
At least one person was killed and another injured by stray gunfire whilest innocently travelling in a train passing through the area. What the Americans so quaintly call collateral damage.

So in very simple terms what we seem to have is Gang A, the traficantes protecting their turf where they give largesse to the local populace as well as all the normal extortion, petty and not so petty,, and an invading force acting quite possibly on behalf of, but definitely to the advantage of Gang B the Milicia.
A horrible situation, no justice, innocents caught in crossfire. Trauma and blood. Lots of blood.

Lost in the spray of carnage is the bigger picture of who is gaining the Money and Power.
Rio is rotten to the core. This is not news.
The spiders web of crime and corruption is vast and extremely complex.
The big fish are above it all and anyway within the drugs trade Brazil is now regarded as more of an international supplier than as a domestic market.

The rule of law is a very thin curtain.
Here are some facts not neccessarily connected:

The Police action in the favela resulted in the capture of 6 fuzis (machine guns) and 28 dead

An apprehension of 117 fuzis in the predominantly white area of Barra de Tijuca resulted in zero dead. The suspected owner lived in the same gated community as the Bolsonazi and his family.

39 kg of cocaine apprehended on a supporting presidential flight plane in 2019. Who I wonder got the other 1 kg?

2018 Oct. Election won by Bolsonaro. By June the presidency was reeling from Cocaine, leaks and opposition.

Jan 2017 Teori Zavascki a Brazilian Supreme Court judge handling graft probe killed in an unexplained plane crash.

2016 Temer Presidency after the impeachment of Dilma on a technicality.

2014 Heli-coca 445 kg cocaine apprehended in a heliciopter owned by the family of Senator José Perrella of Espirito Santo the next state to RJ.
Perrella unsucessfully sued google to remove any mention of his name with ‘Helicoca’.

I haven’t even begun to get into the abject racism or the rise of the Evangelical Milicias who rose without hinderance during the term of the last Mayor Marcelo Crivella, an evangelist bishop licensed by his uncle Bishop Edir Macedo whose empire extends to ownership of Brazil’s second largest media corporation Grupo Record.

Removing the criminilization of drugs could help unwind this vicious spiral of death and destruction largely aimed at minorities; but there is no profit in that is there?

Meanwhile I do my part when I can by supporting a Samba School as others support football clubs.
The financing of the Samba schools is interesting to say the least however they do voice a much needed #Resistencia against the creeping fascism and authoritarianism.

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