If you haven't been following the South American news, Rio de Janeiro has been in the midst of a gang war since last week. Drug dealers, upset with the loss of revenue caused by the pacification programs in a few favelas, ordered a terror attack on the city, with buses and cars being burned and bomb threats. The military was called in, police officers pulled off desk jobs, and they staged a massive invasion of a large favela in the Zona Norte. Not only did they find a number of high-ranking drug kingpins, the cops actually planted the Brazilian and state flags at the top of the hill in a symbolic gesture of "taking back the land." Things appear to be calming down a bit now, but it looks like this may be the tipping point for breaking down the power of the drug mafias in Rio. I'm hesitant to get too optimistic, but Rio needs the Olympics, and that may be enough of an incentive to the politicians to keep these policies in place for the long term.
According to O Globo, a major newspaper in Brazil, they apprehended, in that one dominated favela, the following:
33 tons of marijuana
225 kilos of cocaine
37 kilos of crack
1,400 containers of another drug, an inhalant
135 guns: rifles and machine guns, of which 15 were anti-aircraft guns
The uncounted material that's not yet added to that list includes 178 grenades, sticks of dynamite, more guns, pistols and another 1,100 kilos of marijuana.
Probably upwards of R$100 million in drugs and weapons.
Here's the sad part:
That's one favela. Just one out of 500+ (according to the Brazilian census of 2000)...and from what I remember seeing in my favela, back in the day, they ought to have apprehended a lot more...
In any case, here's a great photo I found on a friend's facebook page that makes words superfluous: