Friday, October 23, 2009


"Helicopter downed as 12 killed in Rio violence". I learned about this story earlier this week and overheard someone on the subway say "Rio is full of criminals". She was right, however I was thinking more along the lines of blue collar rather than oppressed poor. Since last weekend 33 people have been killed in Rio due to a rival gang turf war and several police crack downs. A helicopter was shot down over the "Hill of Monkeys" near the Morro dos Macacos favela, and three of six police officers were killed, three severely wounded. Apparently this is the first time a helicopter has been taken down in Rio. The violence errupted two weeks after it was decided that Rio would host the 2016 Olympics, and what makes this so incredibly disturbing is that the president has now offered $60 million in federal money to help Rio de Janeiro police combat drug gangs. Translation...there will be a slaughter. For every gang member killed there is easily another three innocent residents that get caught in the crossfire. Brasils socio-economic reality is twisted and complicated and often oppressive and elitist. Rio getting the Olympics is probably the worst thing that could ever happen to the residents of Rio's roughly 1000 favelas. The situation is far more complex than most care to imagine, and the police are far more brutal and savage than most outside of the favela reality care to accept. Straight up and down - I pray for all those caught in the crossfire, and all of the poor born into circumstances beyond their control who are at the mercy of desperate gang members and corrupt police. Shout out to Villa Curzeiro, I heard you guys have been affected as well. Power to the poor, and a middle finger to the corrupt. Life is complicated. -Mr.-

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