A sporting chance of safety

6 months ago Comments Off on A sporting chance of safety

THREE little girls cower, covering their ears. A mother urges calm, as shots ring out. The images were captured by mobile phone on July 4th from a cable car hoisted above Complexo do Alemão, one of Rio de Janeiro’s notorious favelas (shantytowns), and shared on social media. They epitomise worries about lawlessness plaguing a city which, in less than a month, will host South America’s first Olympics.

It was not an isolated incident. The next day a policeman was killed in a shootout with drug gangs, the 56th officer to die this year in Rio de Janeiro state. Muggings are up. In the past week armed thugs carried out four arrastões (mass hold-ups) in the city. Thieves grabbed a lorry full of kit belonging to German TV networks.

In a televised interview with CNN the mayor, Eduardo Paes, slammed the state government—long run by his own centrist Party of the Brazilian Democratic Movement (PMDB)—for doing a “terrible, horrible job” on security (a task which falls to states, not federal authorities). Cops fed up with being paid in arrears greet arrivals at Rio’s international airport with…Continue reading