• Categories
  • Archives

Brazil: Rocinha Shantytown Goes to War

 Brazil: Rocinha Shantytown Goes 
  to War

In Rocinha, Rio de
Janeiro, the largest favela in South America,
teachers at local schools are advising pupils to stay indoors.

Traffickers have imposed a 10 pm curfew on the area, and all
vehicles arriving in Rocinha after this time are searched.
Tinted car windows have been banned by a drug lord.
by: Tom
Phillips

In the week that City of God—a film depicting wars
between rival drug gangs in Rio de Janeiro—received four
Oscar nominations, a real life drama is being acted out in the
city’s largest favela.

This time, it’s not Zé
Pequeno or Mané Galinha—Cidade de Deus’ semi-fictional
traffickers—but Lulu and Dudu—rivals from the Comando Vermelho criminal
faction, battling for control of Rocinha’s drug trade.

Rumours of an imminent
turf-war have been circulating in Rocinha since one of the area’s old controllers
escaped from prison two weeks ago. It’s thought that Eduíno Eustáquio
de Araújo—also known as Dudu – plans to reclaim his patch from
Rocinha’s current boss, 23-year-old Luciano Barbosa da Silva, or Lulu.

Locals say Dudu, the leader
of a breakaway group within the Comando Vermelho, has put together an army
of up to 1,000 men.

According to the police
anti-drugs squad, Lulu has 200 men waiting for the attack armed with around
150 rifles. Young men can be seen patrolling Rocinha’s alleys, carrying automatic
rifles.

Today, police now occupying
the favela, confirmed the rumours. "It’s precisely because of
the possibility of an invasion that we have gone into the favela as
part of our operations. We hope to be able to avoid this war, through our
presence," said Gláucio Santos of the Civil Police’s special operations
unit (CORE).

"It is a peaceful
community and we are doing all we can to avoid bloodshed. The police will
stay there for as long as is necessary," police chief Alvaro Lins told
local television.

Fearful of violence, teachers
at local schools are advising pupils to stay indoors when possible. Traffickers
have imposed a 10 pm curfew on the area, and all vehicles arriving in Rocinha
after this time are searched. Tinted car windows have been banned by Lulu,
wary of his rival’s attack.

"The old guy wants
to come back," confirmed one local. "So it’s a bit complicated at
the moment, but it will pass."

Whilst some residents
are reported to have fled the area in fear of bloodshed, others are playing
down such a scenario. Some suggest that the police presence will deter any
invasion.

Rocinha is the largest
favela in South America, with some 127,000 residents. Though the area
was once one of the most dangerous parts of the city, it has enjoyed a relatively
peaceful recent history. Thousands of tourists now visit each year, as part
of so-called `exotic’ tours.

Yet Rocinha remains one
of the principal points of drug trafficking in Rio, generating an estimated
R$10 million (US$ 3.3 million) each year, according to police.

On January 29, 30 police
special agents—with helicopter backup—entered the area, searching
for Lulu’s arsenal, which they believe is hidden in the surrounding forest.
An AR-15 rifle, with a thousand bullets, and 1,300 wraps of cocaine, were
found. Police also recovered a T-shirt, emblazoned with a single phrase: "The
blue berets don’t die, they go to hell, if they regroup and come back to fight
the enemy."


Tom Phillips is a British journalist living in Rio de Janeiro. He writes
for a variety of publications on politics and current affairs, as well as
various aspects of the cultura brasileira. Tom can be reached on:
tominrio@yahoo.co.uk and
his articles can also be found at: www.leedsstudent.org.uk

  • Show Comments (0)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Ads

You May Also Like

US Decries Torture, Child Labor and Political Murder by Police in Brazil

The US issued earlier this month its reports of human rights practices for 2007 ...

Time for Brazil to Be More Than Just the World’s Farm

According to Celso Grisi, director at the Foundation Institute for Administration (FIA), Brazil has ...

Lula Wants Spain to Join Brazil in Helping Poor Nations

The Prince of Astúrias, Don Filipe de Borbón y Grecia, and his wife, Princess ...

What Was Brazil’s Role in Operation Condor? It Created and Led the Murderous Plan

The head of Brazil’s Justice and Human Rights Movement, Jair Krischke stated before the ...

Brazilians Are Well Educated… When They Have Money

The Brazilian population is becoming better educated. According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography ...

Petrobras Vows OIl Self Sufficiency for Brazil and First Surplus Ever in 2006

Brazilian state-owned oil company Petrobras’s director of Supply and Refining, Paulo Roberto Costa, had ...

Brazil Puts Desktops in Every One of Its 5,560 Cities. Over 350.000 of Them

Brazil is installing 356,800 virtualized desktops in schools in all of Brazil's 5,560 municipalities. ...

World’s Best Player Is Brazilian Ronaldinho, Again

Brazilian soccer ace Ronaldinho Gaúcho won his second straight FIFA World Player of the ...

Repossession of Indian Land in Brazil Comes with Death

One indigenous person from Brazil was killed and five were injured after ranchers reacted ...

Despite Low Dollar Brazil Expects US$ 197 Billion in Exports This Year

Numbers disclosed by the AEB (Brazilian Foreign Trade Association) show that the Brazilian trade ...