Rio: “The Shantytowns Are a Permanent Conflict Zone”

Bandeira de luto em Rio das Pedras, após morte de suspeito de chefiar mil�cia
“The battle flag of Rio das Pedras, Rio de Janeiro”: The Peacemakers were headed by a senior police inspector, and aide to the last Rio police chief, whose predecessor promoted and decorated him before running for the state assembly, a run allegedly funded by the gambling mobs involved in Operation Hurricane, in which senior judges are charged with selling verdicts that provided legal cover to gambling mafias. Who won office, and was then indicted. The inspector, a fugitive from justice, was later found with 30 bullets in him, sitting in his Toyota pickup truck outside his girlfriend’s apartment. His paramilitary group ran bingo halls and GatoNet (an illegal cable TV network) and is under investigation for money-laundering.

He … was a sociologist; he had got into an intellectual muddle early on in life and never managed to get out. –Iris Murdoch

O PAC e o combate à violência nas favelas do Rio: Sociologist Paulo Magalhães writes today for O Globo on the intersection between economic development and off-the-grid Rio de Janeiro.

The Favela-Bairro program [“shantytowns to neighborhoods”] project is part of this plan, I think. There is also PRONASCI, a “law enforcement with citizenship” program, to be factored in.

See

Not to be confused with federal lawmaker Paulo Magalhães of Bahia.

This Paulo Magalhães is frequently referred to elsewhere as “Paulo Magalhães of the Caixa Econômica Federal.” Is he also affiliated with IBASE? A number of his publications seem to be co-authored with those folks.

I mention because of the case of Genevieve Bell, anthropologist. Remember her? A Fox News affiliate ran a fake news report, produced by Intel, which identified her by her job title, leaving out her institutional affiliation?

This is apparently standard practice at O Globo, and other major metro dailies, where it comes under the heading of “innovations in journalism.”

See

for a discussion of a similar case by the New York Times public editor.

Um dos principais eixos de atuação do Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento (PAC) do governo federal é a de atuação nas favelas da cidade do Rio de Janeiro. Através do governo do estado e/ou da Prefeitura da cidade, estão previstos investimentos que alcançam quase R$ 1 bilhão. Há inúmeras ações pontuais nas favelas da cidade e do estado, mas as principais intervenções vão ocorrer nas localidades da Rocinha, do Complexo do Alemão, do Complexo de Manguinhos e do Pavão, Pavãozinho e Cantagalo.

One of the principal pillars of action for the federal Plan for Growth Acceleration (PAC) are the shantytowns of the city of Rio de Janeiro. Through state and/or municipal government, investments of nearly R$1 billion are foreseen. There are countless individual projects going on in the shantytowns of the city and state, but the principal interventions will occur in Rocinha, the Complexo do Alemão, the Manguinhos complex and the complex comprising Pavão, Pavãozinho and Cantagalo.

A favela no Rio ganhou uma outra dimensão. Não é só a moradia dos pobres urbanos. É o ‘lócus’ do crime organizado, que possui o domínio físico-territorial e muitas vezes o controle político-administrativo

Pullquote: Rio shantytowns have acquired another dimension. They are not just residential areas for the urban poor. They are a locus of organized crime, which has physical territorial, and often political and administrative, control there.

Em todos esses locais estão propostas intervenções físicas – urbanísticas de impacto, como a construção de um teleférico (Alemão), suspensão da via férrea com criação de um amplo espaço para sociabilidade e lazer (Manguinhos), um elevador para integração com a futura Estação General Osório do Metrô (Pavão, Pavãozinho e Cantagalo) e amplas intervenções urbanística numa área piloto na Rocinha, garantindo condições de acessibilidade aos moradores.

In all of these locations, physical interventions have been proposed — high-impact planning, such as the construction of a gondola lift system (Alemão), [a suspension of the railway], with the creation of a large space for socializing and leisure (Mangueira), an elevador for integration with the future General Osório subway station (Pavão, Pavãozinho and Cantagalo) and broad plans in a pilot area in Rocinha, guaranteeing accessibility to residents.

Os projetos foram elaborados pelo governo do estado e pela Prefeitura da cidade. No entanto, segundo os normativos do Ministério das Cidades, é necessária a realização de trabalho social que “se expressa e se desenvolve através de um conjunto de ações e atividades que buscam promover a mobilização e organização da comunidade, a educação sanitária e ambiental e a implantação de atividades voltadas à geração de trabalho e renda”.

The projects were planned by the state and city goverments. However, under the guidelines set by the Ministry of Cities, social projects must be also undertaken which “are expressed and develop through a set of actions and activities designed to promote the mobilization and organization of the community, health and environmental education and the implantation of activities geared toward job and income creation.”

Do van services and bingos count?

O PAC, como Programa Nacional, deve necessariamente conformar-se em política pública no local da sua ação. Sendo assim, o PAC tem que ser interpretado segundo as vicissitudes locais. Dessa forma, ao ser territorializado, deve garantir contornos específicos. A favela no Rio de Janeiro ganhou uma outra dimensão. Não é só a moradia dos pobres urbanos. É o “lócus” do chamado crime organizado, que possui o domínio físico-territorial e muitas vezes o controle político-administrativo, com ampla capacidade de mando sobre os moradores e enorme influência na regulação de conduta e mesmo de decretar sentença. Ao mesmo tempo, também é um local disputado como espaço de “negócios” pela “polícia clandestina” (a chamada milícia) e área de ação da polícia. É, portanto um território em conflito. Em permanente conflito.

Rio shantytowns have acquired another dimension. They are not just residential areas for the urban poor. They are a locus of organized crime, which has physical territorial, and often political and administrative, control there, with broad powers of command over the residents and an enormous influence in regulating behavior and even passing sentence. At the same time, it is an area disputed as a “business” territory by the “clandestine police” (the so-called militias) and an area of police operations. It is, for that reason, a conflict zone. In permanent conflict.

When did Rio’s shantytowns not have this dimension, anyway? We were just watching José Wilker the other evening as Tenório Cavalcanti in The Man in the Black Cape.

A biopic about a Tommy-gun toting UDN politician from the 1950s whose base of political support lay in the favelas of Duque de Caxias.

He named his Tommy-gun Lurdinha and nearly got into a gun battle with a political rival in the state legislature on one famous — real-life — occasion. And with the Brazilian army, in a siege of his home, on another. And you thought Robert Penn Warren’s Governor Stark was a memorable character along these lines.

https://i0.wp.com/www.adorocinemabrasileiro.com.br/filmes/homem-da-capa-preta/homem-da-capa-preta-poster01.jpg
Debut feature by Sergio Rezende (1986) told the story of a real-life
favela populist famous for walking around extremely powerfully, as we say in Brooklyn, strapped.

Esta é a oportunidade que o governo do estado e a Prefeitura têm de disputar politicamente estes territórios

Pullquote: This is an opportunity for the state and city governments to vie for political control of these areas.

If the Nadinho case is any indication, there is a certain extent to which the “clandestine police” are already a integral part of that political equation.

As in “vote Quimby or my friend here will kill you,” or take your house away, or the like.
See

A emergência desses “novos poderes” convive com as formas tradicionais de representação de interesses, como associações de moradores, com as inúmeras instituições religiosas, com ONGs e outros atores. Trata-se, normalmente, de um território hiper-adensada de atores políticos. Assim, a favela é um território fragmentado e em disputa. Ninguém representa a totalidade de suas partes e a agregação de todas as suas partes não dá a totalidade.

The emergence of these “new powers” exists side by side with tradition forms for representing interests, such as residents’ associations, countless religious institutions, NGOs and other actors. It is normally an area that is superdense with political actors. Thus, a shantytown is a fragmented territory in dispute. No one represents all of its parts, and the sum of its parts is not the whole.

Não resta a menor dúvida que obras da magnitude que estão sendo propostas através do PAC para estas localidades exigem o conhecimento e a anuência dos seus moradores. Esta é a oportunidade que o governo do estado e a Prefeitura têm de disputar politicamente estes territórios. Ações policiais e intervenções físicas urbanísticas nunca resolveram a questão da soberania dos poderes públicos nas favelas da cidade. E esta é a questão central: como conquistar a soberania sobre estes territórios? A negociação das obras públicas com os moradores, através de suas múltiplas formas de representação, deverá criar um espaço de construção do consenso possível que poderá permitir a retomada pelas instâncias governamentais do controle político do território, condição imprescindível para um combate estratégico ao crime organizado e às milícias.

There is no longer any doubt that large-scale public works proposed through the PAC for these locations require the knowledge and consent of their residents. This is a chance for the state and city governments to vie politically for these territories. Police actions and urban planning projects have not resolved the issue of the sovereignty of the public authorities over the shantytowns of the city. And this is a central question: How to achieve sovereignty over these territories? Negotiating public works with residents, through their various representatives, should create a space for constructing a possible consensus that would let government agencies regain control of the territory — an indispensable step in a strategy for combating organized crime and the militias.

This essay is curiously lacking in concrete proposals — the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity? — except for the vague proposition implicit in the final sentence: Militias are a bad thing, not a good thing.

Not everyone agrees, according to the press here. See

He seems to be saying, that the three levels of government should meet more with residents, to try to win them over.

Is he saying that they should negotiate with residents who happen to be armed to the teeth, well-funded, and emitting the sinister rhetoric of “blood and soil” as well?

The story of one such meeting may speak volumes about the hidden complexities of that proposition:

Holding more meetings will solve the problem of heavily armed death squads with strong incentives to keep doing what they are doing — running protection rackets and providing security for mafia groups?

The weird and intractable ambiguity in the situation, glossed over here, continues to be that the militias are the police. And police who commit crimes are almost never found guilty and sentenced for them. They do not have to face civilian justice, in the case of military police.

Citing a conviction-rate study I saw the other day. Let me find that.

That is, some of the cops are criminals who work both sides of the public-private, legal-illegal dichotomy in the name of the jeitinho.

Which is not exactly a new situation, either.

And finally, these cop-criminals — who take Batman as the symbol of their dual nature (life imitates comic books) — apparently elect lawmakers from among their ranks who put the fix in on their behalf.

That is, the powers that be have already met the “parallel power,” and to some extent, they are them.

In Colombia, the judiciary is trying to put people like this on trial. In Rio, Captain Guimarães keeps getting arrested and then let out on habeas corpus.

On ways that the administration of justice can get very, very confused in a country where senior judges get indicted for selling verdicts favorable to the jogo do bicho, see also

Before you can hold a good, productive meeting, you need to make sure that nobody has brought a gun to the negotiating table, right?

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