Rio: “BOPE Snubbed at ‘Elite’ Debut”

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Hey man in black, what is your mission?
I go to the
favelas and leave corpses on the ground
— a current underground funk carioca tune

We need a communications policy and an ongoing dialogue with the mass media that will guarantee that the sense of risk is proportionate to the actual risk. –Rio de Janeiro mayor Cesar Maia, December 2006

Lula should be IMPEACHED for criminal association with a narco-guerrilla group, the FARC! Just look! El Tiempo reports that Brazil is offering to let Chávez and FARC negotiators meet on Brazilian soil! –Rio de Janeiro mayor Cesar Maia, September 20, 2007

Último Segundo (Brazil) reports that a lawsuit forcing producers of the Rio military police SWAT team, BOPE, to let BOPE troopers attend the invitation-only previews of the film, part of the Rio Film Festival, has failed.

See also:

The film

paints a somber picture of public safety in Rio, making explicit that security “policies” do not deter police violence in dealing with crime, that corruption is profoundly rooted in the institution and that there is a strong correlation between violence and corruption.

See

RIO DE JANEIRO – Policiais integrantes do Batalhão de Operações Policiais (Bope) não poderão assistir hoje (dia 20 de setembro) à pré-estréia do filme “Tropa de Elite”, na sessão de gala exclusiva para convidados no Cine Odeon, no Centro do Rio. A decisão é da juíza Flávia Viveiros de Castro, da 1ª Vara Cível do Rio, que, na semana passada, indeferiu outro pedido dos mesmos autores para impedir a exibição do longa-metragem. Segundo eles, o filme ataca a corporação e viola a honra, a dignidade e até mesmo a integridade física dos policiais.

Members of the Special Operations Battalion will not be able to attend the preview of the film “The Trooper Elite” at an invitation-only gala at the Cine Odeon in dowtown Rio. The ruling is from the judge of the 1st Civil Bar who last week turned down another petition from the same plaintiffs to prevent the film from being exhibited. According to the plaintiffs, the film attacks the police force and violates the honor, dignity and even the physical well-being of policemen.

Meanwhile, Rio mayor Cesar “The Naked” Maia, in his “ex-blog” political newsletter, reproduces a letter from an anonymous BOPE trooper, “as always, changing some details of the text to protect the identity of the source.” As always.

Ao exblog, pedindo que repassem ao sr. prefeito.

To the ex-blog, please pass this along to the Mayor.

1. Vi o filme e destaco três instâncias trabalhadas. A) Os Governos. A que ponto deixaram a PM chegar. Sem nenhum apoio, sem viaturas, sem fardamentos, sem recursos, etc. Até hoje o novo Governo do Estado só repassou o Fundo de Saúde do mês de setembro de 2006. Um ano de atraso. A PM não tem recursos para nada. Tudo pedem ao comércio da área. Ficam vivendo de favores e aí, precisam prestar favores. B) O PM. Que não sabe dizer não aos superiores e que tudo obedece, tudo faz, sem nenhum meio, sem nenhuma condição de execução. Hoje que o maior inimigo do PM é o PM.

I saw the film and would like to focus on three points. (A) The government. Look at the point they have let the military police get to. No support, no squad cars, no uniforms, no money, etc. To this day the new state government has only paid out the health care fund up to September 2006. One year late. The PM does not have resources for anything. They have to ask local business. They live off favors and so they wind up having to do favors.

I wonder if the following is an example of such a favor:

(B) The military police. Those who do not know how to say no to their superiors, and obey every order, will do anything, [but] without the means to do it, without any conditions for actually getting the job done. Today, the military police is its own worst enemy.

2. O padrão de corrupção no filme, eu nunca vi na PM, quando estava em BPM. Talvez o filme tenha levado ao exagero para pontificar a existência de corruptos. Nunca vi nenhum Comandante dando ou insinuando dar dinheiro a algum Oficial. C) A Sociedade. A mesma Sociedade que faz passeatas pela paz, que pede o fim da violência, ajuda a traficar, a capitalizar o narcotráfico. Na nossa elite financeira, parece que os filhos dela têm vergonha da forma como o pai conseguiu dinheiro. Eles gostam de posar de Robin Hood, colocando um pobre debaixo do braço. Vivem nas favelas para serem filmados abraçando um miserável, faz bem ao ego deles. Se sentem culpados pela miséria dos outros, gostam de bandidos.

I never saw the level of corruption shown in the film when I was in a mainline battalion. Maybe the film has exaggerated in order to point out the existence of corruption. I never saw a commander giving or implying the handing over of money to any public official. (C) Society. The same society that marches for peace and calls for the end of violence, helps the traffic by capitalizing the narcotraffic. Our financial elite, its seems as though their children are ashamed of how daddy made his money. They like to pose as Robin Hood, taking the poor under their wing. They are always in the shantytown being photographed while embracing a poor person, it is good for their ego. They feel guilty about other people’s misery, they like bandits.

I think it is entirely fair to ask why the errand boys of the alt.leisurepharmaceutical industry wind up on slabs while customers of the retail cocaine trade keep demand high because they know they will never in a million years get busted for it.

Time for another “stop snuffling up that Brizola” ad campaign? The goverment actually ran one a few years back. Much, much better than the infamous “this is your brain on drugs” campaign still giggled over by stoners everywhere.

Because it appealed to people’s social conscience.

And in a much less moralistic way, too. Because we all remember sucking that first line up our noses JUST BECAUSE we knew Mummy and Daddums would be wicked pissed if they knew. Am I right?

3. Por outro lado nosso pessoal do BOPE gosta de posar de bons moços. Aqui tem tantos corruptos quanto qualquer outra Unidade da PM, só que o controle é mais fácil de ser feito. Têm número menor de policiais. Só atuamos em missões específicas e sob Comando. No batalhão não. O PM atua isolado, sozinho, e o número de PM espalhados pela área do Batalhão é maior e serviço prestado é rotineiro. O filme glamouriza a nós Policiais do BOPE, bem a nosso estilo.

On the other hand our BOPE personnel like to play the good guys. Here we have as many corrupt men as in any other PM unit, except that it is easier to control. There are fewer troopers. We only act on specific missions on orders from above. Which is not the case in the battalions. The PM operates in isolation, on his own, the number of troopers scattered around the Battalion’s area of operations is greater, so services rendered are routine. The film glamorizes us BOPE troopers, in much the same way we glamorize ourselves.

4. Agora a briga por aqui é para saber que personagem real é aquele Capitão fictício do filme. Todos se vêem no capitão Nascimento, mas ficarão tristes ao descobrirem que não é nenhum deles. Que de fato é um Capitão fictício, talvez retratando até o que eles gostariam de ser. Só que para ser daquele jeito dá muito trabalho, sendo preciso acordar cedo, instruir, dar exemplo…

The argument around here now is who the character of the Captain in the film is based on in real life. Everyone sees themselves in Capt. Nascimento, but are disappointed to discover he is not any of them. That he is in fact a fictitious Captain, perhaps depicted in a way someone would like to see themselves as being. It’s just that it takes a lot of work, you have to get up early, teach, set an example …

It’s pretty clear Nascimento is based on the former Capt. Pimentel, co-author of the “fictionalized memoir” on which the film is based.

Pimentel first appeared on film in Salles’ documentary News of a Private War in 1998 and has since become sort of film-industry cop expert with a degree in sociology. Sort of like Jack Vincennes from L.A. Confidential.

(James Ellroy would love Rio de Janeiro.)

So I would guess Pimentel is being ribbed over telling a self-serving version of the story here. I have often wondered about this myself.

The producers of this film also produced Bus 174, on which Pimentel served as technical adviser (and even co-produced, if my memory has not deserted me entirely). You should rent that.

So that’s actually a very interesting comment. And it probably is important to remember, when we go see this flick, that the movies are not real life.

I have a longtime buddy who worked as a police sergeant in a frenetic, gangbanging urban hellhole for a lot of years — after majoring in history at UCLA, go figure — who regaled me with stories on that very point, the last time we got together. Gnarly stories that would boil your brain.

Obviously, we had drifted apart some over the years — I do not make it a practice to stuff a .45 into the waistband of my pants before going to eat at a Mexican restaurant, for example. But what was good to see was that the guy had not lost his humanity, at least.

I hope he finds something less stressful to do. I think he wants to get an MBA and go run a rural sheriff’s office or something. Fish a lot. Mayberry RFD. More power to the guy.

And more power to Brazilian cops who just want to get paid decently and educated and trained decently, too. And go home at the end of the day to a house with a white picket fence.

On the other hand, I would give you even odds Maia wrote this himself. I have no real grounds for saying that, mind you.  And I hope not.

But guy has really started gabbling hard ever since his business partners at LIESA got busted in the biggest antimafia case in Brazilian history.

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