“Just because you have nice teeth doesn’t make us friends –Haitian proverb” | Cartoon by Latuff.
G1 | Globo reports: A framework for military-civilian cooperation has been signed, enabling joint operations by the Army and state judicial police in Rio’s largest shantytown complex.
According to Minister of Defense Nelson Jobim, the occupation by soldiers of the region will be mounted on different legal basis than in 1994, when soldiers were sued for acting with police powers. “This operation refutes a longstanding criticism against government action. Security and human rights can, and will, go hand in hand,“ Jobim said..
Jobim, a former Senator and Supreme Court Justice, has his critics — such as Rio underground cartoonist Latuff, above — but it is interesting to see how useful it has been to have a politically mined jurist — or judicially minded politician — in the position, hashing out a constitutional framework for domestic military operations.
This a sensitive issue, as you may imagine, in a country run by generalíssmos for 20 years.
Legal authority during the occupation will be exercised by police, who will work with the military, but the military will lead the operation and initiate requests for police action. “Now, that soldier on duty knows he has a commitment from the state government and the minister of defense backing up his actions.If someone goes wrong, we will be the ones telling them what to do,” Jobim explained.
The Estado de S. Paulo adds, and I translate:
Of the 800 soldiers occupying the Vila Cruzeiro region, 60% where part of the UN’s MINUSTAH mission in Haiti. … In 1994, in one of the largest operations of its kind in Rio, Army troops and marines occupied the shantyrowns during Operation Rio. Some 20,000 troops occupied the area between November 1994 and May 1995. Some soldiers who took part in the operation still face charges today over alleged abuses.
The minister said the operation has no expiration date.“I will get a monthly report and reevaluate our strategies,” he said. The state high court (TJ-RJ) and the public prosecutor’s office will provide legal backing for the operation.
Governor Sérgio Cabral has said the occupation will last six months or more, after which the UPPs, or police pacification units, will be installed. “During the occupation by the Army, a police station installed on the military base will legitimate the work. After the transition, we will have the UPP,” said Cabral, without specifying any time frame.
“Lula inaugurates a public works project on Mars!” | Cartoon by Angelí. The outgoing president inaugurated social and economic development projects in Rio shantytowns this week — a big media splash.
“The War Between Terrors”
The rector of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro extension program, José Cláudio Souza Alves, provides a skeptical view of the operation in a guest column for Carta Capital, clipped by Brasilianas. I translate some more.
The geopolitical reconfiguration of Rio organized crime has been going on for five years now..
On one hand, you have the militias, allied with one or another criminal faction, and on the other, the opposing faction, reacting to its loss of hegemony.
I will give you an example..In Vigário Geral, the police have operated by killing off members of the dominant criminal faction, enabling an opposing faction from Parada de Lucas to move in. Four years ago, we saw this same thing .
Once unified in this way, the two communities were at peace, just as they are seeing now. Later, the faction leader was assassinated by militia. Now, the militia rents the two communities to the criminal faction.
Militia tend to consist of moonlighting police, firemen and soldiers, recall.
Similar processes have occurred in other shantytowns. We know that militias have not halted the flow of drugs, but have simply added drug retailing to their laundry list of black-market enterprises, such as pirate cable TV, pirate public transport, real estate arbitration, cooking gas sales, vote-selling and protection racketeering. .
We also know that the UPPs have not stopped the drug trade, but only the conflicts associated with it. The traffic is now operated by one of two groups: either the militia or the dominant criminal faction, or sometimes even by a faction in decline, trying to avoid being driven out, depending on the deals made.
These deals depend on many variables: the dominant political tendency in the community, agreements with residents’ associations, the vote, the sum of money to be earned by the paramilitary occupiers, and so on..
For this reason, instead of imitating the Americans, who supported the troops invading Iraq to topple Saddam, only to discover the farcical nature of the reasons Bush gave for committing this atrocity, we need to ask ourself, where is the real war being waged?
The real war is being waged for domination of the Rio de Janeiro underworld.
The present operations are taking place between the Central do Brasil and Leopoldina railway lines, where the drug trade has been confined since being driven out of the Zona Sul — the picture postcard beachfront that is being cleaned up, cosmetically at least, for the Olympics.
To justify the sorts of massacres that occurred in 2007, however, on the eve of the Pan American games, in the Alemão complex – when a forensic report by federal human rights officials proved numerous cases of summary executions — is nothing more than a phony War on Terro concealing an even more terrifying War Between Terrors — more terrifying because the warring factions are hidden and hegemonic
I took some liberties with that translation. .
I managed to get some of the crime scene photographs — they were all over YouTube as part of underground “funk” videos celebrating police death-dealing — and saw what the CSI was talking about. The entrance wounds to the back of the head, downward, into a kneeling human body.
The burning of buses and cars, with very few casualties, was nothing more than a symbolic protest by a faction faced with loss of dominance that now wants to negotiate a deal that enables it to survive.
After all, these people are not looking to destroy the market that keeps them in business.
This farce of a military operation, and the deaths that will surely result from it — most of whom will have nothing whatever to do with the organized crime wars — gives us the illusion that peace is the same thing as law and order.
We neverr realize that criminal gangs — many with direct ties to the police force, as the 2008 legislative commission proved — are simply perpetuating our eternal disgrace: the disgrace of believing that it is other people who are the evildoers.
We love Rio.
We like to visit in the off season, when tourism slacks off but there are still really good shows on at the clubs. The beaches can be rainy but the waters of Guanabara Bay are still warm.
We hope we will find it in better shape when we return this — Southern Hemisphere — winter. You may know it as Endless Summer.
I really hope these policies do work.
Expect to see federal police taking simultaneous action against police — and, if reports are correct, military — involvement in these pizzo-style mafia schemes.
I predict you will see high profile busts of this kind, involving senior police, politicians, and judges. I bet you Maierovitch agrees with me, too.