In this Rio Times article, the author, Lise Alves addresses a recent altercation between Brazilian police/military, and gangs that occupy the favelas of Rio, specifically the Favela known as Rocinha (ho-see-nya). The news article states that police and military special forces entered the favela named Rocinha to find and arrest rival gang leaders. Firefights and battles over territory between rival gangs within the favela forced police to take action and encouraged non-violent residents to stay inside to avoid confrontation with gang members’ crossfire. The article goes on to state that the nearby metro stations of São Conrado were closed when gunfire was heard coming from Rocinha. On the northern end of the city, skirmishes between rival gangs took place the favela of Juramento.
This article gives readers a stereotypical view of Brazil that embodies the violent slums, and heavy influence of drug trafficking within them. What this article fails to mention is the results of raids by authorities. For years, Rio’s police have been battling gangs as a part of their initiative to pacify the favelas, making them safe for their people as well as visitors. This pacification movement, which was commenced in 2008, has for the most part been a total failure. Other than the success in Rio de Janeiro’s smallest favela, Santa Marta (pop. ~5,000), police have made little to no impact on Rio’s larger favelas like Rocinha (pop. ~70,000). One reason the outcomes of the police raids may have been left out is to avoid projecting a negative image towards the Brazilian Government, assuming police were unsuccessful. In addition, total pacification of Rio’s favela of Rocinha would be nearly impossible, noting the density of both innocent civilians as well as gang members. Furthermore, previous occupation of the favela in 2008 proved widely unsuccessful as police faced danger in trying to eliminate gangs while protecting themselves and the favela’s inhabitants.
This article displays both class themes, predominantly the theme of encounters. This article by The Rio Times is a common example of English news stories from Brazil, which Brazilian government fails to address. For example, in preparation for the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian Government took many provisions to improve outsider’s views of Brazil, by simply hiding the problems rather than fixing them or providing a call to action by tourists attracted by the Olympics. For example, main roads were improved, and tunnels were added through various mountains in the city to block the view of favelas that were previously visible from the road. From my personal accounts, the views of the Brazilian people and residents of Rio seemed to be a general feeling of disappointment and despair in regards to the consistent secrecy and corruption the Brazilian Government displays.