[Really-OT] Rio is at a state of war

stephen barncard stephenREVOLUTION2 at barncard.com
Fri Nov 26 12:52:18 EST 2010

Andre -

thanks for sharing that. That was a well--written report. This is a bit of
OT that we should know.

I have read about the slums and the gangs but I had no idea it was that bad.
Obviously you are in Rio now -  I thought you said you were in Sao Paulo -
that must be your home town.

You are being very stoic - of course this should not be normal. We in the US
complain about everything all the time - but we don't have anything like
what's happening in your country.

This is a serious time and I wish the people of Brazil and your new
President a lot of luck.


On 26 November 2010 09:00, Andre Garzia <andre at andregarzia.com> wrote:

> Folks,
> This is just a heads up plus me needing to vent it out. Rio de Janeiro is
> in
> a state of un-assumed war for a week now. Criminal factions are trying to
> spread terror by burning car, buses and whatever they can on the street,
> sometimes without giving any warning to those inside. We're living with
> this
> crap for so long that we're not impressed anymore. As many here don't know
> we have really big slums, complexo do alemão slum is home to 400 thousand
> people alone and it is not the biggest one. Yesterday, the Rio de Janeiro
> Special Police Forces allied with Everyone-Carrying-A-Badge took Vila do
> Cruzeiro slum from the criminals and they are retaliating. There are tanks
> on the street here and criminals are trying to shoot down the police
> armored
> helicopter. Police is using clanfs (Amphibious Armored light tanks from our
> marines) to break down barricades on the slums.
> Brazil is a strange place, we have many police forces. There is the Civil
> Police (Investigation), the Military Police (Pursuit criminals, maintain
> order), Federal Police, National Force, All the different special ops but
> no
> matter how many forces we have, in Rio there is one called BOPE (Batalhão
> de
> Operações Especiais, special ops battalion) which is the best police in the
> country but it is really not there to take criminals to justice but to wage
> war against organized crime, they dress in black and their symbol is the
> loved/hated skull with a knife and two pistols. Yesterday I saw them with
> their black armored tanks invading a slum while the foot troops shouted:
> "We're going to collect your souls!!!". And believe it or not, 350 BOPE
> troppers are all the barrier there is between the common city dweller and
> crime. Here in Rio a 14 years old robber will be carrying a AK-47, believe
> me, I've seen it and been robbed by it.
> What is happening now is a reaction from organized crime to the UPP
> (Peace/Pacifying Police Units) which are a mixture of barracks, police
> station, goverment presence that is being installed into each slum as we
> retake them from crime. Basically after BOPE + Civil Police retake a slum,
> they install this huge UPP where there is a permanent presence and
> occupation by officers and goverment officials thus making crime somewhat
> hard. As BOPE invaded Vila do Cruzeiro yesterday, at least 200 criminals
> carrying AK-47 and other nasties fled to the neighbour slum Complexo do
> Alemão. There are at least 40 deaths (official deaths which means the true
> number is probably 3 or 4 times that) and 50 vehicles burned and more. This
> situation is expected to last probably until next year and an things are
> expected to aggravate soon as the police advance. Never in this country,
> the
> common people sided with the police like we're seeing now, usually common
> poor people would host and hide criminals. Now they are all asking and
> tipping the cops, which is good, never seen that in here.
> Heck as I am writing this email a black police helicopter just passed by my
> window, it is circling a slum near my place, some of the heads behind the
> terror wave are supposed to live in there...
> Yesterday, on my city block alone there were 4 robberies and what we call
> "Arrastão" which is when a huge number of criminals will band together and
> run thru the streets robbing everyone on sight. Heck, when you see such
> thing, you just run.
> So, if you know anyone coming to Rio now or in the next month, tell them
> not
> to come. If they do, make sure they stay safe and by safe I mean make sure
> they know someone local to keep them out of the terror zones and make sure
> they understand that Rio is under what we can call siege.
> If anyone here wants to know what it is to live here because I think most
> on
> this list have no clue, please watch a movie called "Elite Troop" (Tropa de
> Elite) and "Elite Troop 2" (Tropa de Elite 2) which are the biggest box
> office ever here. They are fictional but they are as close to the truth as
> it is possible to go. They are about a real BOPE commander and his quest to
> find his replacement in Rio under siege. This happened, he is real and I
> just saw him on TV yesterday. The film is a drama/action movie and might
> help people here see a side of Rio that the goverment and tourism agents
> don't want to let you know.
> Hiding behind 30cm of concrete and driving fast
> Andre Alves Garzia
> PS: I grew up here so I think this is all somewhat normal but it should not
> be.
> --
> http://www.andregarzia.com All We Do Is Code.
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Stephen Barncard
San Francisco Ca. USA

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