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US News: Brazil: in Rio, a test ball to release the favelas of abandonment

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  Brésil: à Rio, un ballon d'essai pour sortir les favelas de l'abandon © AFP / Archives

a near the decades of repeated chess, Rio de Janeiro will try to free her thousand favelas from the yoke Gangs and militias by launching a test ball in only two of them, an initiative that leaves the skeptical experts.

The favelas of Jacarezinho, which has 90,000 inhabitants, and Muzema, will serve as a laboratory of a new program combining security and social projects.

But if the Governor Claudio Castro promised to "change the life of the population" by subtracting it to the yoke of organized crime, specialists remain skeptical, denouncing a "media show" in the election year.

It all started with a demonstration of force.

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Wednesday at dawn, more than 1,200 men were deployed in Jacarezinho, where the more 28 people had found death in May during the sangling police raid in the history of Rio.

The inhabitants have been treated at home, while men in heavily armed lattice patrolled in every alley to dilapidated attic and the forests of electric wires that sometimes hang up to the ground.

This district located in the north of Rio is one of the bastions of the "Commando Vermelho" (Commando Red), gang of narcotrafic which sows terror since the end of the 70s.

Other police officers were sent to Muzema, where the inhabitants live under the tutelage of para-military militia which extort them to provide them with the gas or internet.

In June 2019, 24 people died in this area of ​​the west of Rio, during the collapse of two illegal constructions.

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questions unanswered

This extensive operation of "reconquest", as described by Mr Castro , took everyone from the short, including the mayor of Rio, Eduardo Paes , who said he had to have been warned that "the night before".

Saturday morning, the governor unveiled details of his program, "Cidade Integrada" (integrated city).

Unlike rumors that other large-scale operations would soon be held in other favlaas, Mr. Castro announced that, as a first step, the program would concern only Jacarzinho and Muzema.

"We will not think of implementing the program in other favelas than when it will work fully" in these two favelas-pilot, "he explained.

Apart from maintaining an important police presence, it has planned a real Marshall Plan of Favelas, with 500 million reasons (about € 80 million) of investments in social and infrastructure projects, including water treatment .

Professional training centers will emerge, as well as sports and cultural facilities.

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An allocation of 300 reasons (about 48 euros) per month will be paid to young mothers from 16 to 30 years old.

But for Cecilia Olliveira, director of Fogo Cruzado, digital platform that lists the shootings in Rio, this announcement has brought "more questions than answers".

"What does it mean, 'Fun fully'? If we really want to integrate the whole city, two favelas, it's clearly insufficient. And is it really feasible to expand this program to all favelas?".

Jacarzinho and Muzema are only a drop of water in the ocean of a thousand favelas where more than a quarter of the 6.7 million inhabitants of Rio live.

The Mirage of UPP

for Julita Lemgruber, Coordinator of the Candidian Security and Citizenship Research Center (CEEC) of the Candidian Mendes University, "Cidade Integrada" is only a "media show".

"I do not expect anything from this program because there has been no consultation with the inhabitants," she deplores.

It fears a new failure after that of peaceful police units (UPP), created in 2008 by the former Governor Sergio Cabral, incarcerated since 2016 for corruption.

It cites the example of the complexo do alemao, where a spectacular cable car has been installed until the top of the hill.

"When the announcement was made, the call for tenders had already taken place. But many people said, 'We need so many things here, there is not even anyone 'sewer'. Nobody asked them anything, "she says.

UPPs have initially reduced violence in about forty favelas, but the situation then deteriorated, particularly with the financial crisis that undermined the Rio State after the 2016 Olympic Games.

23 23 / 01/2022 09:53:06 - Rio de Janeiro ( AFP ) - © 2022 AFP

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