Military police occupying slums in Rio de Janeiro, in a new wave of terror against poor people.
As thousands took to the streets this weekend to protest the civil and military dictatorship– which left a legacy of some of the most sadistic and brutal repression against political prisoners seen in Latin America – the military police have unleashed a new war on the poor of Brazil, and the State is preparing to enforce new “anti-terrorism” laws which raise legitimate fears that they will bring back the practices of the fascist dictatorship. (Note: On March 22nd, Brazilian fascists called for protests under the slogan “march for family.” They were a failure, much like the white man march in North America. In some places, groups of six or less people participated.) Police have used fabricated reasons to justify repression against poor communities and anti-capitalist social movements, ahead of a powerfully contested Word Cup in Brazil.
A police station was set on fire, and cops came under armed attack, possibly by drug lords they haven’t “pacified” yet. Drug leaders in pacified communities are typically ex-military police, who the capitalist media misrepresent as “community leaders,” in order to forcefully associate them with social movements against capitalist oppression. The mainstream capitalist media have consistently referred to Brazilians living in favelas as “criminals,” in a clear attempt to increase hatred against poor people, who mostly have nothing to do with drug trafficking.
These are the results of police raiding a building occupied by poor people: they forcefully evicted them, at gun point, again.
Residents protested, and unrest spread in some favelas (slums).
This recent act of brutal oppression against poor people came just as the country was enraged by the most sadistic crime committed by Brazilian police in recent memory – which they try to cover up now: they killed a 38 year old mom of 4 kids, threw her in the trunk of their car and later dragged her body on a main boulevard in broad daylight.
A child looks at military police during a demonstration against the police murder of a mother of 4 kids.
The State of Brazil has done this before: during the military dictatorship, prisoners were tortured, bodies were sliced open, and the state police criminalsconfess in cold blood that they would still liketo decapitate “bandits” since “they are still here.”
Over the past decade, 40,000 people have gone missing in Brazil. Most of them have disappeared since the “pacification” of the favelas was unleashed on the poor communities – which are inhabited by a fifth of Rio de Janeiro’s population. Brazilians have given a name for the missing, they call them Amarildo, by the name of a missing person, whose disappearance is one of the few that was actually investigated. After relentless pressure by the community he lived in, investigations found that the 25 UPP (pacification police units) from Rochina tortured and killed the father of 7 children. Amarildo’s body has never been recovered.
Man tortured during a military parade 70 years ago has been just now identified: he was an indigenous.
“Order and ProgreSS”, by Carlos Latuff
Brazil is one of the few countries where crimes of the capitalist junta have been covered up for such a long time. Torture was used regularly by the military and civilian dictatorship against dissidents, who even tortured children. Public pressure is mounting to expose these crimes. After 70 years a man who was tortured in public during a military parade has been identified as indigenous.
Yet, these investigations are an exception in Brazil, where thousands of missing people are never investigated or reported.
As a response, the state may enforce a new law – enforced disappearance by state agents – which is “the most wicked of all barbaric crime,” as JoãoTancredo, a human rights activist from DDH Institute said.
On the same day they killed Claudia Silva Ferreira, cops from the Morro da Congonha in Madureira also executed a 16 year old boy, and wrote in their report that they killed him because ”he resisted the police.” His father filed a complaint against the police, accusing them of putting a gun into his hands to cover up their crime.
The same day 3 military police assassinated a mother of 4 on her way to buy bread, they also killed a 19 year old boy. Illustration by Carlos Latuff
Police violence is endemic in Brazil, and it’s the face of economic racism, social oppression, stigmatization and criminalization of poor people in a country with the gravest inequality in the world. As people get more and more organized to fight economic crimes – As Garis’ have during their strike in maybe the most successfulshow of resistance against capitalist tyranny in a long time – the state has prepared “anti-terrorism” laws, to silenceprotests against FIFA’s World Cup – which is actually a new round of capitalist accumulation, as 120,000 people are to be forcefully evicted so that the state and the capitalist class can turn their land into profit. These laws ultimately will transform any person who protests against FIFA’s World Cup into a “terrorist.” So, for instance, if you live in Brazil, and protest because you don’t want to see children die, in pain, at the door of hospitals, you will be considered a “terrorist” by the Brazilian state. A 19 year old boy died after he was refused help in a hospital, images in this link show his last agonizing moments. (warning – the video is very disturbing.)
This pic is real, the comment of the police on their page is also real: these are kids they killed in the favelas, their comment is “We don’t go into favelas to die. We go in there to kill.”
This was posted by the police on their Facebook page where they bragged about their “successful” work. They say: “We don’t go into favelas to die. We go in there to kill.”
“Pacification”: replacing the drug lords with ex-cop drug kings
The city of Rio decided to demolish more houses, without notifying the people living in them first. They plan to destroy even more houses in the slums for the Olympic Park.
Over the past weeks a new round of police terror was unleashed against the favelas, after cops evicted poor people who were occupying a building, injuring several of them.
Military police threatening residents in favelas.
Residents took it to the streets in Manguinhos, Arará, Camarista Meier – one cop and two people were wounded in the street fights. People erected barricades in Cidade de Deus, near the Maranata Church, and skirmishes took place in Lins and Macacos. The worst attacks took were launched by police in Manguinhos, Madureira, and in Vivente de Carvalho police opened fire using live ammunition against people.
Residents explained that the military police took a building behind the Park Library of Manguinhos to evict some 100 families that had occupied the site by force. As residents resisted the police assault, military police started firing gas bombs on the population. Residents then responded with a hail of rocks and bottles. At that moment, the military police started to fire live ammunition against residents. Several people were injured, and four young people were shot. One of them is hospitalized in serious condition in Hospital Salgado Filho.
This is the harsh reality in Brazil: cops have used lethal ammunition against people yet again. What is the capitalist mainstream media in Brazil reporting about this? They say it was ”an attack against the police, orchestrated by the drug lords,” (who, mind you did not live in that building occupied by poor people). Mainstream media are the accomplice of the military police in their attempt to justify another occupationand further gentrification as the World Cup approaches.
The lies of the mainstream media were a perfect cover for the Governor of Rio, Sérgio Cabral, to request the intervention of the army. He later distributed racist T-shirts for the inhabitants of the ”pacified favelas.” When asked about the genocidal onslaught of police forces and civilian vigilantes against blacks of Rio de Janeiro, the Mayor Eduardo Paes responded: “Avoid being black.”
Military police are allowed to use “total force” against residents in favelas.
As police brutality increased, and some cops were injured, UPP attacked the favelas Arara, Lins, Mandela, Manguinhos and Alemao. In the Morro dos Macacos they imposed a curfew.
However, police need to lay the blame on the people they attack, so they try to misrepresent their repression against the social uprising in the favelas as “a war on drugs.” If police can claim they were “attacked,” they can also claim they acted in “self-defense” – even though people living in the slums repeatedly report that many times cops just shoot people randomly in the streets. In fact the police wars against the favelas are a cover up for forced capitalist gentrification – which makes political sponsors quite rich from public money. Not to mention that after the BOPE or UPU brutally occupy the favelas at gun point and “pacify” them, many times it turns out that the favelas end up being indeed ruled by drug lords, who are in fact ex-military police.
Cops in favela. Photo by Katja Schilirò
“A recent report came to light last December stating that of the estimated 1,001 favela communities in Rio, nearly half are being controlled by illegal militia gangs – organized crime rings typically composed of current or ex-police.” Source
Now, after some cops were attacked and their station was set on fire in Manguinhos, a favela they don’t control, the racist governor of Rio discussed with the country’s president the need to let police use “total force” against the slums. Reality on the ground proves that that is code-word for indiscriminate killing by the police.
Cops claim they discovered that the attacks against some police were the result of a conspiracy by the drug lords. While this could be true, the claim works in the interests of the state and the police, not the communities affected. Mainstream media calls these drugs lords “community leaders,” to insinuate that the communities are run by drug lords, and to cover up that their protests are about social justice.
Why? Because the police need to delegitimize social protests, which they do by claiming they are organized by drug lords. One cop, Colonel Frederico Caldas even said that ”there are reports that protests are being orchestrated by (drug) traffickers.” Of course he did not elaborate. His words were meant to smear social protests – which have risen as a result of economic crimes and injustice inflicted by the state of Brazil, especially against the poor and vulnerable.
Claiming that ”drug lords” are in anyway connected to the social protests is the easiest way for the state to crush real, self-organized, vibrant social resistance of the communities against capitalist attacks. There are intense and powerful protests against the raising cost of living, the forced impoverishment of poor people, and against the World Cup which drowned huge resources from public wealth to enrich some capitalists over night.
The State propaganda is aimed at justifying the deployment of BOPE – the dreadful armed police force – and more military police (UPU) in the slums “to pacify” them. It’s not war on drugs, it’s a war on poor people.
“The UPP even turns a blind eye to the drug dealers who push their wares in the back alleys behind the boca. After dark every evening, dozens of tourists and residents of the wealthier quarters of Rio stand in line to buy cocaine or crack — all of whom, the people that Robson and his men are supposed to be protecting. The most successful dealers can earn the equivalent of €200,000 in a good month. Peterson is one of them. Just like every evening, he is standing in front of his stone hut, dancing from one leg to the other. Ever since Robson’s UPP drove the former drug bosses out of the district, Peterson and a friend have controlled the market. A lookout is perched on the roof, where he can see the police officers “aimlessly standing around and staring at their cell phones.” Source
“Pacification Police” unit in favela. Photo by Katja Schilirò
“This offensive against brutal gangs has been followed by a significant expansion of the state’s own capacity for coercion and violence, and brought with it many worrying consequences. Frequent reports and high profile cases of abuse imply that this security policy is not so much a community-based reconciliation of the state with these communities as an undemocratic, authoritarian and militarized occupation, aimed at controlling the population and selling the city during the upcoming mega-events.” Source
“Viviane Ribeiro, member of the Board of Directors of the association of residents of Complexo do Alemão, explains: “95% of the population didn’t have anything to do with the drugs-traffic and the violence. The kids went to school and the adults worked in order to be able to sustain their families. Lawlessness? No way. There were leaders who ruled the neighborhood and imposed laws, such as ‘Do not mess with innocent residents’ and ‘Do not touch another’s property, nor another one’s wife’. We slept with our doors open. Depending on which fraction ruled, some leaders even took care of community services such as garbage collection and the construction of football fields for youngsters.”
The disappearance of these ‘favela laws’ is one reason why some residents are nostalgic about the time prior to pacification. Last week, a young woman was raped and killed in a bar in Rocinha.
Residents were extremely shocked, as this never happened before. A lot of people argued: “This wouldn’t have happened a few years ago. Since pacification, there are no more rules in the favela and no more authority, hence bad people feel free to do what they want to do.””Source
Pacification turns favelas into occupied dominions by the capitalist thugs. Social and economic injustices in fact worsen. People in the unoccupied favelas are still protesting economic and social injustices which the upcoming World Cup just exposed even more to the world.
In the slums, the abuses they commit are absurd: ”Houses are invaded without a court order, residents are humiliated, rights are not observed. This all raises a departure from society towards the police, and it doesn’t matter if it’s the “King of the Hill” or the new Commander of the UPP; a rifle pointing at citizen’s face has the same effect and are equally offensive to the dignity….More than that, the UPP police proved to be just a makeup mechanism in the vicinity of the methods that will be used in the World Cup and the Olympics, which do not follow the logic of socialization, but rather of the capital. The military police burst in the favelas, then shortly after the “market” enters. After all, the UPP is sponsored by the private power. The logic adopted by UPPs, which differ from his theory of acting, is doomed to failure. There is no social peace while there is no social justice, no peace with rifle. And it doesn’t matter if the rifle is the dealer or the new “King in uniform” of the Hill. … The politics of reaction will only increase the militarization of these areas.” Source
Is there terrorism in Brazil? Yes: It’s State Terrorism
“No justice, no peace” translates in Brazil now as ”There Will Be No Cup” and this is the cry which gathered millions in Brazil and around the world against the economic, social and politicalwar on working people living there. There will be protests organized during the World Cup, but the State plans to preventively silence them, by enforcing totalitarian so-called ”anti-terrorism” laws, which are “almost a repeat of the civil-military dictatorship era,” as João Tancredo, a human rights activist from DDH Institute explains. He argues that behind the proposed anti-terrorism law, which the National Congress, are the economic interests linked to the World Cup.
JoãoTancredo: ”The issue is that they want tougher legislation on behalf of the World Cup. There are powerful economic groups who want to turn people off the streets, in any manifestation. To call a manifestation terrorism is huge nonsense. By this law against terrorism, they will somehow try to criminalize any movement which is working against the tide: accusing the high cost of the Cup, and instead requesting more health or more education. The aim is to criminalize any person…. Institutional acts are written by the military junta, who are elected members of the legislature.” Source
Nao Vai Ter Copa. There will be no cup.
Find this article useful? Like us on Facebook. We post stories like this all the time: