Brazil Extends Armed Forces Presence in Rio Favelas until 2012

Brazil Extends Armed Forces Presence in Rio Favelas until 2012

By Dialogo
October 26, 2011

Brazil has extended Armed Forces operations until June 2012 in the favelas (shantytowns) of Rio de Janeiro, occupied by the Military almost a year ago with the aim of guaranteeing security in those areas before the 2014 Soccer World Cup, the government announced on October 24.

“We know that the work of pacifying the communities is not among the fundamental tasks of the Armed Forces, but it’s something that should be done in support of the security of the state” of Rio, Defense Minister Celso Amorim said.

In November 2010, the Police and Army recovered control of the favelas in Complexo do Alemão, in the northern part of the city, which were ruled by armed gangs of drug traffickers for 30 years. The actions left 37 dead.

Still, new clashes between the authorities and criminals took place in September, giving rise to doubts about security in the favelas before the 2014 Soccer World Cup.

The “pacification force,” as it is called, is made up of 2,285 police officers and military personnel. Combined operations have made it possible to noticeably reduce the rates of homicide and theft in the shantytowns, according to official figures.

The authorities of Rio de Janeiro state, one of the country’s most violent, began a counter campaign in 2008 to restore security in the area where the World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games will be held.

More than 300,000 people live in the areas occupied by Government forces.

The military presence was initially supposed to last ten months and be replaced by a community police force specially trained to co-exist with residents of the favelas.