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Organisations that are able to carry out such flagrant acts must be getting help from somewhere.
Corruption is back in the news in Brazil. As happens every few months, allegations have surfaced against a prominent figure in public life. This time it is Romero Jucá, the social security minister, accused of falsely obtaining subsidised loans and misappropriation of public funds. He is unruffled. "This doesn't bother me. I'm sleeping easy," he told reporters this week.
Nothing has been proved against Mr Jucá and his relaxed attitude may well reflect his innocence. But innocent or guilty, such allegations against Brazil's rich or powerful rarely cause them much concern. Corruption is a fact of daily life and the chances of being punished for it are close to zero.
In the early 1990s, Brazil was mainly a transit point for illicit drugs produced elsewhere in South America. Now it's the world's second-largest consumer of coc aine after the United States, and that trade is overseen by coc aine "commands" that have grown in wealth, power and sophistication. Today, they are equipped with automatic rifles, grenades and rocket launchers ‐ arms sometimes newer and better than those of some Latin American armies.
Gangs that were once confined to steep, hillside slums are extending their reach into Brazil's middle- and upper-class neighborhoods. People here talk of the "Colombianization"
of Brazilian cities.
"We should not have waited for them to come down from the [slums]. We should have gone in there before and stopped them before they became stronger," said Marcelo Z. Nogueira Itagiba, chief of the Federal Police in Rio de Janeiro State. "But there has been a lack of will to cooperate and really confront this issue. Now we are seeing the result."
Former police ombudsman Professor Julita Lemgruber has told BBC World Service's Assignment programme that, in the state of Rio alone, the police killed 983 people last year. The figure is similar for Sao Paulo.
In the past five years, the number of fatal police shootings has more than doubled. Based on her experience as a government official, Professor Lemgruber says she believes the police are free to act with impunity.
But executions by death squads appear to be a traditional feature of Rio policing. While the authorities no longer give them official backing, evidence from the city morgues suggests they continue.
Corruption. As a matter of government policy, Brazil does not condone, encourage, or facilitate production, shipment, or distribution of illicit drugs or laundering of drug money. The Federal Police have carried out a number of high profile investigations of public officials and state police involved in money laundering and/or narcotics trafficking. The fight against corruption remains a high priority for Brazilian law enforcement.
US counternarcotics policy in Brazil is concerned mainly with preventing the country from being used increasingly as a drug transit zone. State Department (INL) funding for counternarcotics law enforcement assistance during FY 2001 and 2002 was about $6 million each year. For FY 2003 the Bush Administration is seeking to double that amount to $12 million. This increase in aid is largely for Operation Cobra, an ambitious surveillance/interdiction effort along the 1000 mile Colombia-Brazil Amazon border.
SENASP (National Secretariat of Public Security within the Ministry of Justice)—this body is staffed by by police from the Brazilian Federal Police as well as the state civilian and military police. In September 2001, the US signed a letter of agreement with the government of Brazil that included SENASP as a direct recipient of US counternarcotics funds.
The United States defines "international terrorism" as activities that:
1: involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or any State;
2: appear to be intended:
- to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
- to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
- to affect the conduct of a government by assassination or kidnapping; and
3: occur totally outside the United States, or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to coerce or intimidate, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum. (50 U.S.C. § 1801(c))
www.bangkokpost.com..." target="_blank" class="postlink">Bangkok Post
At least 52 people were killed over the weekend in the largest organized attack yet by drug gangs against Brazilian police and security forces.
The apparent apparent offensive of violence by organized crime groups was launched Friday night and continued through Sunday in Brazil's commercial capital, Sao Paulo, and outlying regions of Sao Paulo state.
The drug gangs were also blamed Sunday for ongoing uprisings by prisoners in at least 64 correctional facilities. Hundreds of prison visitors were being held hostage by an estimated 30,000 inmates in the penitentiary system.
It (First Command of the Capital) was formed in Sao Paulo by prisoners who survived one of Brazil's worst jail massacre in the early 1990s, when the police killed 111 inmates to put down a riot.
BBC regional correspondent Tom Gibb says that during the military dictatorship that ruled Brazil until 1985, criminals learned the language and organising methods of left-wing revolutionaries with whom they shared prison cells.
The same merging of criminal and political activities has been observed in other Latin American countries.
Originally posted by DYepes
There is a Brazilian movie called City of God which depicts the lives of two boys growing up in the slums of Rio de Janiero.
Originally posted by jraI'll be in Sao Paulo for a few months starting in mid July. I'm excited and nervous at the same time
Could it be possible for such happenings to fuel a call for a return to military-style rule in Brazil, if it is perceived that law and order is breaking down?
Sao Paulo's state government denied holding talks with leaders of the gang, who allegedly gave the order by cell phone to gang members in Sao Paulo to halt attacks, Folha said, citing people familiar with the negotiations. Prison rioting ended late yesterday, the newspaper said.
Sao Paulo's state government refused an offer from the federal government to deploy 4,000 national guardsmen to Sao Paulo, as well as army troops, Eliseu Eclair Borges, chief of Sao Paulo's military police, said in a news conference in Sao Paulo last night.
``This doesn't change the vision investors have had of Brazil for the past 20 years or so that it is a relatively violent country,'' said Raphael Kassin, head of emerging markets fixed income at ABN Amro Asset Management in London, which manages about $3.5 billion in emerging-market debt. ``We need a good reaction from police and for them to calm the situation down to give investors a better impression.''