Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria's Presidential polls

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential adviser resigns over "shoe-shine scandal"

Read more

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

FASHION

Jean-Marc Loubier, bags and shoes.

Read more

ENCORE!

Hip-hop musician Beat Assailant on mixing the sounds of the city

Read more

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 8.40 pm Paris time.

REPORTERS

REPORTERS

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

Comments

COMMENT(S)

 
 
Archives

2014-04-18 Mahatma Gandhi

Indian election: Votes for sale

On April 7th, India’s marathon general election kicked off. Until May 12th, some 814 million Indians are eligible to cast their ballots. Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi,...

Read more

2014-04-11 Algerian presidential elections

Is Algeria’s civil society mobilising?

Algeria goes to the polls on April 17th with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika vying for a fourth term. Yet the ailing 77-year-old president, who spent most of past year in hospital...

Read more

2014-04-04 United Nations

Rwanda: The last genocide of the 20th century

On April 6 1994, the Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana’s plane was shot down by a missile. Within a day, the country was gripped by a murderous wave of violence. Between...

Read more

2014-03-28 World Cup

Worked to death in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup

Every day Nepalese workers venture to the Gulf States in search of a better life. Some of these workers will not survive. Those who do receive little or no wages and are given...

Read more

2014-03-21 Sahara

Mali's peace caravan

In Mali, thousands of civilians are still displaced in neighbouring countries. In an effort to encourage their return, musicians have organised a huge caravan crossing the Sahara...

Read more