TV Globo: “Where Do The Militias Operate?”

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Infographic from the “ex-blog” of Rio Mayor Cesar “Chairman” Maia shows reported sounds of gunfire in the city. The Red Zone is the Western District, which Globo now reports — it’s definitive! — is the hog heaven of the militia protection rackets. (Counterintuitively, by the way, the Green Zone is not a paradise on earth of peace and tranquillity, but rather an area of less frequent reports of gunfire.)

Onde atuam as milícias? (Where do the militias operate?): TV Globo’s Bom Dia Brasil — a happy-talk clone of Good Morning, America — launches a series of reports on paramilitary protection schemes in the shantytowns of Rio de Janeiro.

Generally, as some metro daily and newsweekly reporters have reported, manned by off-duty cops and firemen.

TV Globo nows catches up to the story. About 10 months after everybody else. Break out the brass band. See also

For a very frank series of interviews with the warring parties by an independent journo, see

Some rather more sinister implications are glossed over here, I think. See also

Bylined to Marcos Uchôa in Rio. Who reprises some of the more basic questions — such as “Why is it so hard to get hard numbers on the militia phenomenon?” — but leaves others unasked, and gives vague answers that are not really that novel, as news goes.

Primeiro foi a Zona Oeste. Hoje, o alvo é a Zona Norte. As comunidades pobres da cidade do Rio de Janeiro, que já eram intimidadas pelo tráfico, enfrentam uma nova ameaça: a invasão das milícias.

First it was the Western Zone. Today, the target in the Northern Zone. Poor communities in the city of Rio de Janeiro, long intimidated by the drug trade, are facing a new threat: The invasion of the militias.

Os grupos ilegais que cobram caro por uma suposta segurança se multiplicam. Já agem ilegalmente em mais de cem favelas cariocas. Na segunda reportagem da série sobre milícias, o repórter Marcos Uchôa mostra como essa tropa ilegal consegue ganhar dinheiro e mobilizar mais de dois mil homens.

The illegal groups charging high fees for an alleged security service are multiplying. They already operate illegally in more than 100 Rio shantytowns.

The number of 90-100 was already being cited informally, or formally but from anonymous sources, in December of last year. Where is the “growth”?

In this second in a series on miltias, Marcos Uchôa shows how this illegal paramilitary group makes money and mobilizes more than 2,000 men.

Uchôa actually doesn’t show us that. He shows us how he guesstimates that.

A palavra “polícia” vem do grego “politeía”, que quer dizer: “A arte de governar a cidade”, “Tratar da coisa pública”. Já no dicionário, “milícia” vem do latim “militia”, que significa: “Qualquer corporação sujeita à organização e disciplina militares”.

The word “police” comes from the greek “politeía” which means: “The art of governing the city, having to do with the common weal.” In the dictionary, meanwhile, “militia” comes from the Latin militia, which means “any body subject to military organization and discipline.

Not!

Liddell & Scott:

A. condition and rights of a citizen, citizenship, Hdt.9.34, Th.6.104, etc.; p. dounaitini X.HG1.2.10 : pl., grants of citizenship, Arist.Ath.54.3.

2 .the daily life of a citizen, And.2.10, D. 19.184; eneirênêikai p. Id.20.122 ; life, living, hêen Boiôtiai p. Plb.18.43.6 ; so perh. Ep.Eph.2.12.

3. concrete, body of citizens, Arist.Pol. 1292a34.

4. = Lat. civitas in geographical sense, SIG888.118 (Scaptopara, iii A. D.), Mitteis Chr.78.6 (iv A. D.), etc.

II. government, administration, Ar.Eq.219, X.Mem.3.9.15, etc.; ageintên p. Th.1.127 ; prasutata kaiaselgestatatêi p. kechrêsthai Hyp.Eux.29 ; course of policy, têi p. kaitoispsêphismasi D.18.87 , cf. 9.3 (pl.), 18.263; hêKleophôntos p. Aeschin.3.150 ; hêpros Rhômaioushomiliakai p. Str.16.2.46 : pl., acts of policy, J.Vit.65.

III. civil polity, constitution of a state, Antipho 3.2.1, Th.2.37, etc.; têneleutherian . . , mallondekaitas p. D.18.65 ; form of government, Pl.R.562a, etc.; homologountaitreiseinai p., turanniskaioligarchiakaidêmokratia Aeschin.1.4 , cf. Arist.Pol.1293a37, etc.; haitettares p. Pl.R.544b ; hêtisan p. sumpherêiLys.25.8 ; p. estitaxistaispolesinhêperitasarchas Arist.Pol.1289a15 , cf. 1274b26 (pl.), 1289b27 (pl.); hopoumênomoiarchousinoukesti p. ib.1292a32; tênaristênpoliteuesthai p. ib.1288b31, cf. X.Ath.1.1, etc.

2. esp. republican government, free common-wealth, Arist. EN1160a34, Pol. 1293b22; hotandetoplêthosprostokoinonpoliteuêtaisumpheron, kaleitai p. ib.1279a39; apistontais p. hêturannisD.1.5 ; ougarasphaleistais p. haiprostousturannous . . homiliaiId.6.21 ; toustas p. methistantaseisoligarchianId.15.20 ; taismen p. polemousitasdemonarchiassunkathistasi Isoc.4.125 ; estidêmouhê p. bios Plu.2.826c .

Generally speaking, the term is cognate with English polity: The commonwealth in general, constituted by the body of citizenry, and by extension the geographical area organized into a polis. Borrowed into Latin, it came to be used more specifically as a term meaning “civil administration,” and by extension, the agents thereof.

Militia:

Latin, military service, from milit-, miles; 1 a: a part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call only in emergency b: a body of citizens organized for military service 2: the whole body of able-bodied male citizens declared by law as being subject to call to military service

From the Word Detective:

The word “police” itself, however, has ancient roots. The Greek “polis” means “city,” and, in addition to being the ultimate source of “police,” gave us “politics” and “policy.” The Latin derivative “politia” meant “civil administration,” and eventually produced the French word “police,” which English adopted in the 16th century. The similar words in other European languages that you mention are products of the same process.

Bom Dia Brasil is getting erudite on us. But relying on a bad dictionary.

No Rio de Janeiro, a milícia é formada por policiais e bombeiros, da ativa e aposentados. Parece confuso, mas muita gente sabe distinguir e escolher qual prefere. Milícia?

In Rio, the militia comprises police and firemen, both active-duty and retired. It seems confusing, but many people know how to tell the difference and choose which they prefer. Militia?

“Sou contra, sou contra, totalmente contra, porque a polícia, eu ainda acredito na policia. Eu sei que a banda boa está aí e vai arrebentar. A milícia não tem nada a ver”, comenta uma senhora.

“I am against it, against it, totally against it, because the police, I do not believe in the police. I know that the good bunch is there and is going to bust it up. The militia, nothing doing,” says one woman.

What woman?

If opposition to the militia is the rule rather the exception, you would think that maybe presenting some numbers to back the proposition would be in order. Rather than the typical TV Globo “one sparrow does make a Spring” generalization.

Polícia mineira ou grupo de extermínio, infelizmente, grande parte do Brasil conhece. O que se convencionou chamar de “milícia”, que é quase a mesma coisa, é um fenômeno do Rio de Janeiro. Mesmo assim, ela é ainda bastante localizada em uma parte especifica da cidade.

Sadly, the mineira police or death squad is something known in many parts of Brazil. What has come to be called the “militia,” which is nearly the same thing, is a Rio phenomenon. Even so, it is still substantially confined to a specific part of the city.

Zona Sul, a parte mais rica, e a Zona Norte sofrem mais com os traficantes de drogas, que estão presentes nos morros e favelas. Já na Zona Oeste, a milícia impera e domina quase completamente. Estima-se que mais de cem comunidades estejam nas mãos das milícias.

The Southern Zone, the city’s richest district, and the Northern Zone suffer more from the drug trade who operate in the shantytowns and on the hillsides. In the Western Zone, the militia rules, dominating the area almost completely. It is estimate that more than 100 communities are in the hands of militias.

You see efforts on Internet bulletin boards to take a census of the communities so dominated, but these are hard to sort through.

Lá atrás, na década de 70 ainda, isso começou em uma localidade conhecida como Rio das Pedras. Mas, nos últimos anos, a milícia se expandiu demais. Quanto? É complicado dizer. Não existem números precisos – só estimativas. Por que é tão difícil se ter dados mais precisos e números melhores para se trabalhar?

In the past, still in the 1970s, it all began in a place known as Rio das Pedras. But in recent years it has expanded too much. How much? It is hard to say. There are no hard numbers — just estimates. And why is it so difficult to get precise data or better numbers to work with?

“É uma organização que está à margem da lei, como o tráfico está. Então, não se coletam informações regularmente a respeito. Não obstante, é possível se saber algumas coisas, usando mapas. Se colocarmos pontos ou círculos para cada área de atuação de milícia, nós podemos ver que, ano atrás de outro ano, os pontos se multiplicam”, explica Gláucio Soares, criminólogo e especialista no tema.

“It is an outlaw organization, just like the traffic. So information is not regularly gathered on the subject. Even so, it is possible to learn a few things, using maps. If we draw a point or circle on each area where militias operate, we can see that, year after year, those points are multiplying,” says Gláucio Soares, criminologist and specialist on this topic.

If you can know with certainty where militias operate, and map them, then you do have hard numbers.

Rodrigo Pimentel, ex-capitão do Batalhão de Operações Especiais da Policia Militar (Bope) e autor de um livro que virou o filme “Tropa de elite”, bota mais informações nessa fogueira para explicar como a milícia cresceu tanto.

Rodrigo Pimentel, former BOPE captain and author of the book that became the film Tropa de Elite, throws more information on the bonfire to explain how the militia grew so much.

Get this man a bodyguard.

“A milícia conseguiu em função da motivação econômica. Não existe efetivo policial no Rio de Janeiro para ocupar 700 favelas. Isso é fato. A milícia implanta turnos de proteção, com 15, 20 ou 40 homens nas comunidades. A média é na faixa de 15 a 20 homens. Ela implanta esses turnos de proteção, e esse turno tem um preço. Então, não é fácil. O Estado não consegue, de fato, ocupar essas 700 comunidades, e a milícia consegue”, observa o capitão reformado da Polícia Militar, Rodrigo Pimentel.

“The militia succeeded for economic reasons. There are not enough police in Rio to occupy 700 shantytowns. This is a fact. The militia installs security in shits, with 15, 20, or 40 men in each community. The average is some 15 to 20 men. It installs these security schemes in shifts, and this scheme has a price. So it is not easy. The state cannot manage, practially speaking, to occupy these 700 communities, and the militia can,” he says.

Do you feel like your local police force “occupies” your neighborhood militarily? Or is Office Friendly there to provide a service, just like the milkman and the manhole-diving Con Ed guy?

The call for routine community policing — “Gus stole my chicken!” “Come on, Gus, give the lady her chicken back, let’s not make a federal case out of this” –rather than military occupation with summary executions is the really complicated thing, it seems to me.

Cabe aí fazer umas contas: pelos últimos números da Secretaria de Segurança Pública do Rio de Janeiro, de um ano e meio atrás, as milícias estariam presentes em 111 comunidades. Com uma média de 20 homens para cada uma, chegamos a 2.220, todos armados em atividades ilegais.

We should mention two points here: By the latest numbers from the state public security secretary (SSP), from a year and a half ago, militias are reportedly present in 111 communities.

A year and a half ago?

Were reportedly.”

With an average of 20 men in each group, we arrive at 2,220, all armed and engaged in illegal activities.

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The image “https://i0.wp.com/i113.photobucket.com/albums/n216/cbrayton/bat2.png” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Bat macumba oba: The Batman shield marks protected homes and businesses in Rio’s Western District — and the campaign advertising of two local candidate. See Rio de Janeiro: Batman Returns.

This is not really news to me, although the attribution to an official source (from a year and a half ago) is. Journalists were writing the exact same thing a year ago. But now it’s on TV Globo, so it must be actually happening!

Not that that is not probably a good thing, even in this dumbed-down form.

No meio do caminho entre a polícia oficial e o poder paralelo, estão as maiores vítimas: os moradores das comunidades pobres.

Caught between the official policeman and a parallel power are the greatest victims: The residents of poor communities.

“Na verdade, eles estão expostos há muito tempo a uma situação de submissão. Mas este não é de um dilema do morador da favela apenas. É um dilema e um desafio para a cidade do Rio de Janeiro”, finaliza Marcelo Burgos, pesquisador da Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio).

“In reality, they have been exposed for a long time now to a condition of subjection. But this is not a dilemma for the shantytown dweller along. It is a dilemma and a challenge for the entire city of Rio,” says Marcelo Burgos, a PUC-Rio researcher.

Amanhã, na última reportagem especial, saiba o que dizem as autoridades sobre o combate às milícias no Rio de Janeiro.

Tomorrow, in the final report in this special series, you will learn what the authorities say about combating militias in Rio.

I will have a look at that. Viewing Globo video online is sort of a hit or miss proposition, though.

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