Former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso's party, the PSDB (Party of the Brazilian Social Democracy), Brazil's main opposition party, is demanding that Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva take the lead in combating the wave of violence rocking Rio de Janeiro, which has left at least 35 killed in shootings with the drugs' gangs that even downed a police helicopter, killing three policemen.
"The government's security policy is a joke; what's the use of sending another helicopter." which was shot down last Saturday in Rio's shantytowns (favelas) said José Anibal, head of the powerful Social-democrats block in the Lower House.
The helicopter was gunned and crash landed, killing three police sharp shooters, only two kilometers (a little over one mile) away from the Maracanã stadium where the main competitions of the 2016 Olympics are scheduled to take place.
President Lula promised funds and a new armored helicopter so the Rio police can continue with its deployments in the high risk areas of the city.
Anibal argued that the role of the federal government is not supplying arms and funds but rather taking the lead on combating drug related crime, which is rampant and apparently out of control in Brazil's most famous city for its beaches and Carnaval festivities.
Justice Minister Tarso Genro has been summoned to Congress to inform what is happening in Rio do Janeiro and the government's plans to address the situation.
Meantime the president of the Federal Supreme Tribunal Gilmar Mendez reiterated that it was imperative to send the Armed Forces to help combat crime and lawlessness.
"The Federal Police and eventually the Armed Forces must articulate and act" against the organized gangs of drug dealers that dominate Rio communities and terrorize the good law abiding citizens, said the country's top judge.
The participation of the Armed Forces in internal security affairs is specifically banned under Brazilian legislation, however under "exceptional circumstances" they can be ordered to take action.
Thousands of police and special forces have been sent to the favelas where the gang shootings took place over the weekend. Police are determined to find those responsible for shooting down the helicopter and recovering the weapons used in the attack.
Most high caliber guns and short range rockets are smuggled into Brazil from neighboring Paraguay and Bolivia.
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