I read it in the Folha de S.Paulo. Partial translation: C. Brayton
Every Friday night, two motorcycles with no license plates cruise the streets of Guaratiba in the Western Zone of Rio de Janeiro, demanding money from local business owners.
On the weekends least five different locations inside the community, with its population of 110,000, host funk dances overflowing with drugs and booze.
Electronic slot machines are stashed away in warehouses or the false bathrooms of bars so that residents can play while drinking the one brand of beer that is “authorized.”
Local residents avoid talking about the situation and business owners are afraid.
And yet it it is precisely this area the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro has scheduled to receive 2 million persons during a July 28 visit from the pope. It is here that Francisco will celebrate his first mass in Brazil, marking a high point of World Youth Day.
Guaratiba is dominated by the largest militia group in Rio, which controls another five neighborhoods in the region as well. Militia members, for example, set opening and closing times for local business.
Formerly known as the Justice League, the militia once used the Batman symbol to mark its turf, but has since come to be known as “Toni’s Militia,” a reference to its current chief: former military policeman Toni Souza de Aguiar, 38.
Toni is the subject of 11 open arrest warrants on charges ranging from homicide to criminal conspiracy.
In order to guarantee the safety of pilgrims, a substantial operation is being set up to control the region. Some 2,600 army troops will ocuppy Guaratiba 15 days prior to the event.
Along with 1,200 state and federal police.
The event will serve as a partial dress rehearsal for the World Cup and Olympiad.