DISPATCHES FROM THE FIELD: MILCIAS AND POLICE CORRUPTION IN RIO'S FAVELAS by ProQuest

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									                           DispAtches 
                           From the FielD
                           Milícias and Police corruPtion in rio’s Favelas
AP Photo/RicARdo MoRAes




                          90  Americas Quarterly   s p r i n g   2009   A m e r i c A s Q u A r t e r ly . o r g
                                                                      A U.S. academic discloses the seamy
                                                                      network of politics, paramilitaries and
                                                                      corruption in Rio de Janeiro.

                                                                                                       by enrique Desmond arias

                                                                      On the night of May 14,           for security in the conti-
                                                                      2008, a reporting team            nent’s poorest neighbor-
                                                                      from O Dia, one of Rio de         hoods can prove danger-
                                                                      Janeiro’s major dailies, was      ously counterproductive.
                                                                      taken captive in the Favela       The milícias are so firmly
                                                                      do Batan in the West Zone         established that, until re-
                                                                      neighborhood of Realengo          cently, any substantive dis-
                                                                      by a group of armed men.          cussion of political alterna-
                                                                      The reporters were inves-         tives in many parts of the
                                                                      tigating the phenomenon           city was silenced.
                                                                      of milícias, which have im-          The journalists were re-
                                                                      posed a brutal form of or-        leased by the milícianos
                                                                      der on a broad swath of           with a warning that they
                                                                      the city’s poor neighbor-         would be killed if they ever
                                                                      hoods since emerging              publicized what happened
                                                                      eight years ago as a coun-        to them. Two weeks later,
                                                                      terforce against Rio’s noto-      the article was published,
                                                                      riously violent drug gangs.       sparking a genuine effort
                                                                      But the journalists soon          to curb the groups’ power.
                                                                      found themselves part of          Until then, the gangs had
                                                                      the story. Their captors,         been assured of benign
                                                                      including men who were            neglect from Rio’s politi-
                                                                      obviously police, beat the        cal establishment. Much
                                                                      reporters and subjected           of their violence was di-
                                                                      them to electric shocks.          rected against the poor,
                                                                         The torture sessions           but with the assault on the
                                                
								
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