Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

President Park Impeached, Ghana's High Stakes Election (part 1)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Aleppo Offensive, Renzi Resigns, Trump's Cards (part 2)

Read more

ENCORE!

South Korea: An inside look at the K-pop wave

Read more

#THE 51%

Diving back in: Offering support for French mothers returning to work

Read more

REPORTERS

Chaotic post-hurricane relief efforts in Haiti

Read more

PEOPLE & PROFIT

Cash crunch casualties: India's wedding industry suffers from currency changes

Read more

FOCUS

Ivory Coast faces uphill battle against counterfeit medicine

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

The fight for transparency: Democracy put to the test

Read more

ENCORE!

Choreographer Akram Khan: 'The body speaks the truth'

Read more

REPORTERS

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 9.10 pm Paris time. And you can watch it online as early as Friday.

Latest update : 2011-08-19

Reclaiming Brazil’s Favelas

Mangueira, Rocinha, Providencia, Cidade de deus, Jacarezinho… There are nearly 1000 in the town; favelas are part of the landscape. They all have their own football teams, residents’ associations, and also their drug trafficking gangs. There are three main factions fighting turf wars: the Vermelho Comando, Amigos dos Amigos (the Friends of Friends) and the 3rd Commando.

These armed groups control everything, or near enough, within the favela, from managing a parallel cable television network, to deciding the buses timetables. Those who don’t toe the line find themselves being punished by the ‘traffickers’ court’. The punishments range from being kicked out of the favela to the ‘microwave’ death sentence: being burnt alive in rubber tyres.

The state government of Rio de Janeiro has been trying to take control of these wastelands since 2009. Developing the favelas is a priority after years of attempting to tackle the drug traffickers have failed. The process is to be accelerated in the run-up to the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics approach.

Sergio Cabral, state governor of Rio de Janeiro, has developed a permanent favela programme based on the ‘zero tolerance’ approach of ex-New York Mayor Rudolph Giulliani which cleaned up the Big Apple. This new policing policy can be summed up in three letters: PPU, Police Pacification Unit.

A version of Military Police outposts have been set up in strategically important locations in hundreds of favelas in the town. The first priority of these units is to get rid of the criminal organizations.

The aim is to prevent them from returning by building up trust between the military police and the local population, holding courses in the PPU, and bringing public and private facilities into these communities. The 17th PPU has just been established in Sao Carlos. But the target is to set up forty units in Rio before 2014.

The transition from the tactics of the elite police units to the launch of the PPU will take time and money. The number of military police is to rise from 32,000 officers to 64,000. But in Rio de Janeiro the economic consequences of the ‘pacification’ are immediate: in the neighbourhoods which have the PPU, house prices have soared. Beyond the security reasons for the peacekeeping programme, there are economics at play. The thousand favelas in the town, with nearly 1 million inhabitants, represent a giant consumer market, just waiting to be exploited.
 

By Nicolas RANSOM

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2016-12-09 Americas

Chaotic post-hurricane relief efforts in Haiti

Haiti is still waiting for the final results of the November 20 presidential election, but time is running out. For more than a year, an electoral crisis has paralyzed the...

Read more

2016-12-01 Asia-pacific

Uzbekistan reinforces its tight grip on election and country

Uzbekistan is holding a presidential election on Sunday that is going largely unnoticed abroad. The successor to the late president, Islam Karimov, who held power for more than a...

Read more

2016-11-25 Americas

Video: Venezuela close to breaking point

As Venezuela sinks deeper into political crisis, its economy is close to collapse. With hyperinflation, food shortages, malnutrition and extreme poverty, daily life for...

Read more

2016-11-18 paedophilia

Tracking a Church paedophilia case from Dakar to Quebec

Following a series of paedophilia scandals in the Catholic Church in recent years, FRANCE 24 reporters investigated the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, a Catholic religious...

Read more

2016-11-11 Iraq

Video: The journalists on the frontline in Iraq

Journalists embedded with the Iraqi army on the frontline battling the Islamic State group risk their lives every day to report on this must-crucial of wars. FRANCE 24’s team on...

Read more