Saturday, April 5, 2014

rewriting Brazilian concerns

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - More than 2,000 Brazilian soldiers stormed into a Rio de Janeiro slum complex Saturday with armored personnel carriers in a bid to improve security two months before the start of the World Cup.
Why do I feel this wistful, imaginative sadness to think that I will never in my lifetime read a rewrite of that lead paragraph that goes:
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - More than 2,000 Brazilian soldiers stormed into a wealthy Rio de Janeiro enclave Saturday with armored personnel carriers in a bid to improve security two months before the start of the World Cup.
If drug cartels are the target, wouldn't this be more logical ... in addition to spilling far less innocent blood?


  1. absolutely right the second part of the text, but an utopia, our government tend to blame the poor, the minimum wage workers and the homeless by his defeat in the fight against drug trafficking, and worse, they are in denial of being a left wing government and are demonizing social movements for political and social reforms, at the end of the story, they could not get rid of the doctrines of the times of the dictatorship, and police, military brigade and the military still follow the same book of doctrines of the state of exception times, we are advancing for a republic and a democracy at a slower pace than a turtle with sob.

    Marcelo R. Job

  2. Your rewritten news may seem very "nice" and "politically correct", but "simple-minded" would actually be a better description.

    Slum complexes in Rio (and in most other big cities in Brazil) have been under the control of drug lords for many years, and the local population has to abide by their "laws" or suffer the consequences. Criminals control nearly every aspect of life in the slums, impose restrictions and curfews, and don't hesitate to brutalize and kill anyone who dares to disobey them. So, for instance, if a guy has to work late and only gets home "after (curfew) hours", he may be interrogated at gunpoint, spanked or even shot. Whenever a drug lord gets arrested or killed, which is frequent, they usually impose a "mourning period" on everyone and everything: curfew hours are more strict, all stores must close doors, and even children are sometimes forbidden to leave home for school. And I could go on with many other examples...

    So, for the past few years, the military and the police have been occupying the slums, in an effort to get these communities free from the rule of drug cartels. (Note: Drug lords don't usually move to richer neighborhoods after they get rich -- they stay in the slums, living in big protected houses, so that's why the army has to go there and occupy their "territory".)

    Contrary to what you seem to be thinking, there's usually little (if any) bloodshed in these military actions. Criminals usually flee as soon as they see the troops arriving, so many occupations are accomplished without a single shot being fired. These military operations are done by special troops who are used to dealing with civilians; besides, most soldiers are poor too, so they empathize with the local population. In most army-occupied slums, results have been quite positive, with the local poor population supporting the troops and enjoying a less violent and restrictive community.

    Your wish to see the army storming some "wealthy enclave" to spill "far less blood" is simply brutal, wicked, and frankly disgusting -- though it apparently seems very heroic and Bodhisattva-like under your eyes.

    Finally, it may come as a shock and a revelation to you that many of those who live in "wealthy enclaves" (as is the case of most Brazilian Zennists), whose blood you'd like to be spilled, are actually trying to make things better, by voting with awareness and taking social action. Unfortunatelly, they're nearly always outvoted, as the uneducated masses (the majority by far) usually vote against their own interests, and routinely elect the most populist and inept candidates -- who, in turn, tipically work to keep most of the population poor and uneducated, so they'll always vote for them!

    You may like to see the world in black-or-white, Adam, but real life just doesn't work like that.

  3. Criticism well made, Anonymous #2.

    My naivete is based more in the notion that where there is big money to be made, monied interests tend to be bosom buddies, whether they carry AK-47's or wear Patek Philippe wrist watches.

  4. Adam, you can certainly take criticism with grace, and I'm sure you're right about the watches!

    I'm sorry if I was too harsh.

    As you may or may not know, something like your wish has recently come true in Venezuela, Brazil's neighbor in the North, where there have been nation-wide demonstrations against the government. In response, pro-government militias on foot and motorbikes stormed into middle-class neighborhoods, shooting randomly at people and apartment buildings.

    You can see one of the videos here.

    And why? Because those in power are depicting the protesters as evil elites, reactionary fascists who are trying to bring down the people's government. They're using populist talk and class hate to keep themselves in power.

    Some of the (not so recent) news in English here.

    Be well.

  5. Just to be clear, I do not favor blood-letting as a means of correcting inequities. But the historical record seems replete with evidence that where there is great poverty, great wealth is likely to be nearby and to benefit from those in penury. More, that those with wealth more often than not control the forces of "law and order," and are in a good (media) position to depict the poor as fomenters of 'anti-social' or 'terrorist' activity. Where the battle is joined, no one has clean hands, but that doesn't mean that the issues which lit the fuse (now lost in the din) aren't compelling and don't find their roots in halls that are tastefully designed.

  6. I wonder if you'd feel so self-assured if you were an "evil" middle-class guy living in Venezuela, being shot at for the crime of trying to protest a totalitarian Left-wing government.

  7. Anonymous #2 -- I'd be scared shitless and pissed off as a hornet. As I say, the issues are lost in the din and I am as subject to din as the next fellow.