For the São Paulo, Brazil, Military Police chief, Colonel Eliseu Eclair Teixeira Borges, this Monday, May 15, was the best day the city had seen since Friday night when a drug gang started a violence wave killing 94 people, dozens of them policemen, and leaving the largest South American city (close to 11 million inhabitants) in a state of terror and chaos.
According to Borges, the situation would have improved more if it weren’t for a series of rumors spread through the Internet mainly in the Google’s social network Orkut. The Colonel said that several items circulated on the Net brought a state of chaos and panic to the population.
The Military Police chief blamed the net and some traditional media vehicles for a "deep touch of sensationalism" and accused them of lacking a sense of responsibility when divulging the news.
According to him, even though dozens of buses were set on fire, there was not even one call to the emergency number 181. Borges added that there was no reason besides the lack of public transportation for the schools to cancel classes of for stores to close their doors. In the early afternoon, the whole of São Paulo went into a spontaneous and informal curfew.
Borges also let it be known that São Paulo didn’t want and didn’t need the military force offered by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. More than that, the colonel called the 4,000 men from the Força Nacional de Segurança (National Security Force) promised by Lula a ghost entity.
"This is a non-existent force," he said. They are, according to him, a group formed by policemen from several states. This force is not ready to get into action, but has to be drafted by the federal government.
The Military Police chief told reporters that chiefs from other states’ police forces had called him to tell that they have no men or technical expertise available to help the São Paulo police, which they consider a model force.
For him, São Paulo can also do without the Brazilian Army but is already using the services of the Federal Police. "They have the best listening system available and are giving us all the information we need."
Apparently, the governor of São Paulo, Cláudio Lembo, who is from the opposition party PSDB, doesn’t want to have thousands of federal troops marching on the strets of São Paulo and being shown on TV sets around the country.
After all, presidential elections are scheduled for October and the PSDB wants to make the next president, Geraldo Alckmin.