The Mangueira favela (slum), with a population of around 20,000, became the latest out-of-control area to receive a Police Pacification Unit (“UPP”) in the Rio de Janeiro metropolitan region.
The so-called Complexo da Mangueira consists of the slums of Morro do Telégrafo, Candelária, Vila Miséria and Bartolomeu Gusmão, along with Morro do Tuiuti, Marechal Jardim and Parque Mineiros.
Mangueira, like other Rio hillside slums, was controlled by drug gangs. In June it was invaded by a heavily armed force. Since then, order has been established, the state now provides basic services and has communication channels with the population.
The heavily armed force has now left. The Mangueira UPP consists of 435 policemen permanently stationed in the slum. With the incorporation of the Mangueira slum under UPP control, city authorities have now secured the vicinity around the Maracanã soccer stadium where the 2014 World Soccer Cup final will be played.
That is to say, the state has wrested control of all the slums around the country’s showcase soccer stadium.
Rio de Janeiro authorities say they intend to set up 40 UPPs by the year 2014. The Mangueira UPP is the 18th to be established. There are slightly more than 1,000 hillsides slums in Rio and a UPP normally encompasses a number of them..
According to colonel Rogerio Seabra, who coordinates the UPPs, the principles of citizenship have been rescued for the inhabitants.
“The policemen who are members of UPPs are carefully selected. They must have a sense of the local culture, know something about the music people in the slums like, for example. That is important. Dialogue is essential in these communities,” explained colonel Seabra.
Meanwhile, work on the new National Stadium in Brazilian capital Brasília is well underway and yesterday, a holiday in Brazil, two hotels built more than 30 years ago were imploded in the central part of the city to make way for a modern 500-room hotel complex.
The implosion took less than 5 seconds, but the preparations have been underway for weeks. In fact, the two hotels have been empty for three months as they were carefully prepared for the implosion that cost an estimated US$ 750,000.
Two square kilometers right in the very center of the nation’s capital were isolated and everyone evacuated, including one of Brasilia’s biggest shopping malls.