Brazil: Fear and Backsliding in Rio / Robert Muggah and Ilona Szabó Carvalho

With just two months to go until the start of the World Cup, a sense of panic is gripping Rio. Cariocas, as the city’s residents are known, are less concerned about whether stadiums will be built on time than with the direction of the state police department’s once-lauded pacification program. The pacification police units — or UPPs — were intended to retake control of neighborhoods previously controlled by heavily armed drug barons, with the goal of eventually reintegrating these communities back into the city.

Many people now fear that the pacification police units are unraveling and that violence in some of Rio’s 600 slums — known as favelas — is getting out of control. The state’s governor recently called for massive reinforcements from the Brazilian Army, with more than 2,500 soldiers deployed to the Maré slum earlier this month. Local newspapers are predicting the demise of the state’s flagship public security program before the world’s biggest sporting event gets underway. SEE MORE…

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