By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – As the sun rose in Rio de Janeiro this morning, Sunday, March 30th, nearly one thousand Military Police special forces officers accompanied by armored Navy tanks entered Rio’s Complexo da Maré to occupy the region. The tanks entered the Complexo da Maré at approximately 5:20 AM and shortly thereafter, a convoy of Military Police cars arrived at approximately 5:50 AM.
On Friday, March 28th, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff signed a Garantia da Lei e da Ordem/GLO (Guarantee of Law and Order), allowing the involvement of Armed Forces during acts which combat organized crime within Rio de Janeiro.
Consisting of fifteen favelas located between the Rio roads of Avenida Brasil and the Linha Vermelha, Complexo da Maré is a large area with over 100,000 residents.
“The Complexo da Maré is a city,” said Rio de Janeiro Governor Sérgio Cabral on Saturday when emphasizing the size of the region to be occupied. “The state of Rio has 92 cities and maybe eighty percent of those cities don’t have 120,000 inhabitants [like Complexo da Maré].”
“It is a city with its own rules, divided by factions, commands, and militia and where the state is not present,” the Governor continued, adding “What we are doing with our entry is to allow that society and the government to interact peacefully.”
The GLO permits the troops to occupy the area until July 31th with allowances for a longer occupation, until such time as a Pacifying Police Unit (UPP) is inaugurated.
Now, according to Governor Cabral a “social occupation” of the region will take place. School and daycare center improvements are reportedly planned as well as additions to children’s health and recreation services and other social services for the community.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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