Friday, March 17, 2006

"We have come to take your souls"

There's a local arms race in Rio de Janeiro.
"Imagine an official armored vehicle, emblazoned with a skull and a sword, with police who come in shooting – first at the streetlights, then at the neighbourhood’s residents… this is the caveirão. An eleven-year-old boy had his head torn off his body by shots which came from the caveirão – and we, the residents, still have to prove that it was the police."

That's a resident of Rio's Caju community, quoted in Amnesty International's report trashing Brazilian authorities for using caveirões--armored vans turned into military assault vehicles (the word itself means 'big skulls')--in their operations in the densely populated favelas.

Amnesty says that the use of caveirões is creating an arms race, which ratchets up the violence in the favelas: "In response to the caveirão, drug gangs have reportedly been buying sophisticated grenade launchers and high-powered rifles to penetrate the caveirão’s armor.

In a related story, here's the latest on the guns stolen from the military and recovered after an armed siege of several favelas: two soldiers have confessed that the heist was an inside job. Note, though, that the guns were not found in a favela, but rather in the woods off a road in ritzy Sao Conrado.

1 comment:

favelado said...

stupid fuck police! The governo does not care about poor in Brazil. I read 70 percents of people support military in the favelas..