This is not a psychopathic Brazilian criminal who wants to eat your NGO. This is a corrupt Brazilian policeman in his spare time, increasing his earnings by a factor of ten by immolating his enemies in “the microwave.”
Three French NGO workers were stabbed to death Tuesday at their group’s headquarters in Rio’s Copacabana neighborhood. Christian Pierre Doupes, his wife Delphine Douyere, and Jerome Faure ran Terr’Ativa, which helped children in poor communities. They were allegedly murdered by three men, one of whom was Tarsio Ramirez, an accountant for Terr’Ativa who had been accused of embezzling 80,000 Reais from the group (roughly $38,000). According to O Globo newspaper, Ramirez was a homeless child who was rescued from the streets of Rio ten years ago by the agency. The murders were especially violent and Jerome’s body showed signs of torture.
This provokes a familiar diatribe:
The grisly slayings of Christian, Delphine and Jerome reflect a disturbing trend in Brazil, which has one of the highest murder rates in the world. Not only is violence out of control, but torture is becoming commonplace as an accompaniment to killing. Criminals, especially members of gangs, often see cruelty as a mark of machismo. They take pride in being indifferent to the suffering of their victims …
Actually, that applies both to criminals and police. And especially to criminals who are police, from law enforcement agencies with a long and unchecked institutional culture of of torture and extrajudicial executions going back to OBAN and DOI-CODI in the 1970s.
It is somewhat surprising to me to see a Huffington blogger parroting the same hysteria that has characterized the media coverage here in Brazil on the latest poster child for the crusade to exterminate the brutes.
Perhaps it should not be; the political blogging industry, after all, whether Red State or Blue, seems to shares the same commitment to apocalyptic rhetoric and the appeal to atavistic emotions.
These incidents are, in fact, sad to say, actually a matter of routine here, first of all, and secondly are showing hopeful signs of an incipient reversal as new policy initiatives kick in.
The implication, as always, is that the latest case only proves that violence is quickly streamrolling out of control and attaining apocalyptic levels.
Violence is slightly less awful than it has ever been, and getting slightly and steadily better. But there may be a long slog ahead before its gets markedly better. Some fundamental governance change need to be consolidated first.
- World in Crisis: Reuters on the Virtually Naked Cidade Maravilha
- World in Crisis, II: Carnival of Flackery
- Brazil: Hysteria Industry Consolidation in the Air
- Sampa: Churning the Fuss Over Burning The Bus?
- Free Overseas-Market Media Clipping for the Marketers of Manda Bala
- Reuters: “Lula Is Soft on Crime”
Brazilians who operate this noise machine tend to be fighting to preserve the hog heaven of the hard men, as the government brings law enforcement back under civilian control, along with other aspects of the state, such as domestic aviation. See Rio: Cabral Backs Off On Bogotá and Look, Here’s The Scoop on the Brazilian Bureaucracy Wars.
But perhaps this is not surprising, given the “local sources” that McGowan cites: The O Globo newspaper and Veja magazine. The same sort of people that folks like Larry Rohter generally mean when they cite “local press sources” to give substance to their fairy tales.
The interesting question about this case in particular might be whether or not it fits another emerging NMM hypothesis: Rio de Janeiro NGOs can get to be a real barra pesada because they make attractive fronts for dubious actors.
Who is this McGowan guy, anyway?