Stop Shaking, Rio’s Trafficker Tells Foreign Reporter, You’d Be Dead If We Wanted

El Pais The correspondent of Spain's daily El Paí­s, Francho Barón, was attacked and threatened in the favela (shantytown) of Morro dos Macacos, in Rio de Janeiro. The incident took place following violent attacks by drug traffickers on police on October 17.

Morro dos Macacos was taken by the police after a gang of drug traffickers invaded the place trying to take over some drug-selling spots. In the battle that followed the criminals were able to knock down a police helicopter killing three officers.

In his article in El Paí­s the journalist said he was talking to residents of Morro dos Macacos when a number of men carrying pistols and rifles approached and asked him what he was doing in the favela.

They told him, "If you are one of those journalists who write about us . . . you better get ready." They also said, "Journalist, stop shaking, if we wanted you dead you already would be."

After taking his notebook, mobile phone and video recorder, the men hit him on the head and made him leave the area.

El Paí­s has now published another story criticizing the city of Rio. In the most recent news report signed by Bernardo Gutierrez and headlined "Rio de Janeiro city of God and of the devil," the Spanish daily lambastes Brazil for having omitted the favelas in its video presentation for the International Olympic Committee.

Madrid, which was also a candidate to host the games, ended up losing, that competition in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Five pages of the paper's Sunday magazine were dedicated to Rio which is called "a hell of 700 favelas, a battlefield between police, paramilitary and narcotraffickers with almost 20 murders a day."

Gutierrez, tell the story among others of a child who died in April victim of a stray bullet, reminding readers that according to Rio's authorities 56 people died the same way in the city.

"There's nothing new. It's just the tip of the iceberg of a brutal statistics: according to the state's Public Security Secretariat 7,098 people were murdered in the state of Rio last year. This means that's almost 20 daily murders," the journalist writes.

The reporter tries to summarize the situation of crime in the Olympic hosting city: "The equation is almost complete. The North side has been taken by traffickers. The West side is occupied by militias (groups of vigilantes, mostly former policemen). In the South side favelas there are some spots for drug trafficking. All over town, the poor population lives under abuses of one side or another."

The article also reserves harsh criticism to Cariocas, those who live in Rio : "Most of the Cariocas look the other side. They don't want to talk about violence."

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