Rio: “The Drug Traffic is a Straw Man”


The ageless Gloria Maria of TV Globo’s Fantástico emotes hysterically at the TelePrompTer: “Rio is Iraq.” Also frequently heard: “Rio is Vietnam” and “Rio is Haiti” (which is also, of course, Vietnam and Iraq).

NGOs dream of using the criminal power and the weapons of the traffic in favor of a social revolution they deem to be imminent and inevitable … It is needful for us not to heed their caveats, and to assume the risks and the collateral damage. It would be impossible to be more explicit than the words of Gov. Sergio Cabral about the narcotraffickers: “They are terrorists, they are evildoers.” – Col. Mário Sérgio de Brito Duarte, former commander of BOPE, the “trooper elite” of the Rio military police — unofficial but highly publicized motto: “We kill to create a better world” – and currently in charge of strategic planning for SESEG, Rio de Janeiro. See BOPE Blogs: “Only the Hard Men Can Save the City”

The stigmatization of traffickers by the media provides the actions of genocidal police with a free pass,” he writes. In the book, he says the ideas of an “army of marginals,” a “parallel State” is “as delusional as the idea that there were chemical weapons in Iraq.”

Bem Paraná (Brazil) runs the wire copy from the Agência Estado: Policiais são presos acusados de envolvimento com jogo do bicho. That is, “policemen are arrested on charges of running the jogo do bicho [“numbers rackets,” underground lotteries.]

More on that in a minute.

Also from the Estadão today, from reporter Pedro Dantas, a follow-up on a story we saw on the boob tube ourselves last night: the publication of a book by a Rio police official, Orlando Zaccone, who argues that the power of the drug traffic in Rio de Janeiro is deliberately “exaggerated” by the police and the sensationalist press.

The headline: “Police official launches anti-Tropa de Elite to demystify the drug trade.”

The Estadão has been playing off the public profile of the popular film, contrasting it with the current situation of Brazilian law enforcement, fairly regularly and systematically, under the general heading of “art does not really imitate life all that well.” See also

”’A ‘guerra contra as drogas’ é o carro-chefe da criminalização da pobreza, através de discursos de lei e ordem disseminados pelo pânico.” O discurso é de sociólogo, mas seu autor chefia a 52ª Delegacia, de Nova Iguaçu. O delegado Orlando Zaccone, de 43 anos, lança hoje no Rio o livro Acionistas do Nada – Quem são os Traficantes de Drogas, espécie de “anti-Tropa de Elite”. Diz que seu objetivo é desmistificar a questão da violência urbana, da política de segurança ao perfil de traficantes, passando pela crítica à imprensa e à “cultura do medo”.

“The so-called war on drugs is the principal means used to criminalize poverty, using law and order rhetoric sown by inciting panic.” That judgment is from the sociologist who heads the 52nd Precinct in Nova Iguaçu, Orlando Zaccone, 43, who today launches his book Shareholders in Nothing: Who are the Drug Traffickers? — a kind of anti-Tropa de Elite. He says his object is to demystify the issue of urban violence, ranging from security policies to the profile of traffickers, and on to criticisms of the press and the “culture of fear.”

Ex-jornalista e ex-adepto da seita Hare Krishna, Zaccone já já comandou sete distritos, tanto na rica Barra da Tijuca como na violenta Baixada Fluminense. Ele denuncia a “seletividade punitiva” no combate às drogas. “Em 2005, a polícia fez 63 flagrantes de tráfico na zona sul e Barra da Tijuca, o mesmo número registrado só em São Cristóvão, zona norte. Isto não reflete a realidade. Na Barra, que teve 3 flagrantes, o tráfico acontece em condomínios fechados onde polícia não faz blitz.”

A former journalist and Hare Krishna [!], Zaccone has commanded seven police districts, from the wealthy Barra da Tijuca to the violent Baixada. He denounces “selective punishment” in combating the drug trade. “In 2005, the police made 63 in flagrante arrests for trafficking in the Zona Sul and the Barra combined. They made the same number in São Cristovão, in the Northern District, alone. This does not reflect reality. In the Barra, you had only 3 arrests, because the trade is carried on in gated condominiums where the police do not carry out raids.

On the Baixada recently, see also

E quem são os traficantes? Zaccone diz que, em sua maioria, os detidos por tráfico no Rio não são violentos nem pertencem a facções. “São homens e mulheres pobres, com baixa escolaridade, detidos sem arma, “mulas”, que levam drogas de uma favela a outra. Participam da estrutura empresarial do tráfico como “acionistas do nada.” No livro ele diz que a maioria dos flagrantes é feita com “sacoleiros”, em ônibus. Cita o caso de Leila Gomes, de quase 50 anos, presa em 2002 com um tablete de maconha num carro da linha que liga a Favela do Jacaré, zona norte, ao Leblon. Ela ganharia R$ 100 pelo trabalho.

And who are the drug traffickers? Zaccone says that most of the people arrested for drug dealing in Rio are not violent or belong to factions. “They are poor men and women, with little education, arrested unarmed. They are “mules” who carry drugs from one community to another. Their role in the business model of the traffic is as “zero-equity shareholders.” In the book he asys that most arrests involved “sackholders” arrested on buses. He cites the case of Leila Gomes, nearly 50, arrested in 2002 with a brick of marijuana on the trolley line that connects Jacaré to Lebon. She got R$100 for doing the job.

Os “soldados do crime” que ilustram reportagens de arma em punho seriam uma pequena parcela da engrenagem do tráfico. “A estigmatização dos traficantes feita pela mídia é um ?passe livre? para ações policiais genocidas”, escreve Zaccone. No livro, diz que a idéia de um “exército de marginais”, um “Estado Paralelo”, é tão fantasiosa “quanto a existência de armas químicas no Iraque”.

The “soldiers of crime” whose images appear in newspapers, holding weapons, are only a small part of the machinery of the Traffic. “The stigmatization of traffickers by the media gives the actions of genocidal police a free pass,” he writes. In the book, he says the ideas of an “army of marginals,” a “parallel State” is “as delusional as the idea that there were chemical weapons in Iraq.”

See, for example, Rio: “Sun Tzu of the Drug Traffic.”

I actually heard Marina Maggessi — the AP’s go-to source on the issue, currently trying to explain why, after she was heard suggesting on a wiretap that somebody put a bunch of bullet into a Serpico-type Rio cop, somebody actually did — saying a similar thing during that campaign-season interview of hers with Globosat a while back.

“Convencem a audiência que se pode diminuir a violência urbana com o encarceramento dos traficantes”, acusa Zaccone no livro, citando dados oficiais pelos quais o tráfico respondeu por 60% das detenções no Rio em 1998. Para ele, a miséria é a única coisa em comum entre os presos por tráfico. “Em 2003 foram 120 mulheres e 1.347 homens no Estado, só 2 com nível superior”, diz. “Aos usuários ricos, tratamento médico. Aos traficantes pobres, a cadeia.”

“They convince their viewers that urban violence can be controlled by jailing traffickers,” Zaccone says in the book, citing official data according to which drug-related crimes accounted for 60% of all detentions in Rio in 1998. In his view, absolute poverty is the only thing those arrrested for drug trafficking have in common. “In 2003, there were 120 women and 1,347 men arrested in the state, only two of them with a high school education,” he said. “For rich users, medical treatment. For poor traffickers, jail.”

O livro defende penas diferenciadas conforme a atividade que o criminoso exerce no tráfico. “A discussão é muito maior do que uma crítica a este ou aquele governo. A Doutrina de Segurança Nacional levou à militarização da segurança. Esta ideologia da época da Guerra Fria acredita que em uma guerra suja vale tudo. Até a tortura.”

The book defends differential penalties, depending on the criminal’s role in the traffick. “The debate has to do with much more than criticizing this or that government. The [dicatorship-era] Doctrine of National Security led to the militarization of public safety. This Cold War ideology believes that in war, anything goes. Even torture.”

Compare

O delegado promove cursos de alfabetização e mutirões da Defensoria Pública para os quase 300 detentos que lotam a 52ª DP. Eles têm acesso a livros e a sessões de cinema com debates mediados por Marcelo Yuka, o ex-integrante do grupo Rappa que ficou paraplégico após ser baleado num assalto, em 2000. “A polícia deve trabalhar para reduzir a violência e não para o aumento dela. O espaço é inadequado para os presos. Se não trabalharmos para reduzir os danos, isto aqui explode”, diz Zaccone.

The precinct captain promotes literacy courses and work sessions at the Public Defender’s Office for the nearly 300 detainess in custody at his precinct. They have access to book and movie screenings, with debates moderated by Marcelo Yuka, a former member of the group Rappa who wound up as a paraplegic after being shot in a robbery in 2000. “The police ought to work to reduce violence, not increase it. There is not enough space for prisoners. If we do not work to reduce the harms, this here is going to explode,” he says.

The report we saw plugging the guy’s book was actually a little meatier and better presented, let me see if I can find that. I think it was on Record News or TV Gazeta …

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s