Column By Henry Montalto
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – An unannounced military operation in the North Zone leaves an innocent Jiu-jitsu professor dead. A positive influence on the community of Complexo do Alemão was unjustly taken from the residents on Tuesday, May 14th, at 2 PM.
We now have confirmation that martial arts instructor Jean Rodrigues da Silva Aldrovande, a teacher at the Maneco Team school was shot in the head yesterday on his way to the Martial Arts Academy where he worked.
A neighbor close to where the incident happened said: “Jean was a passionate and hardworking teacher dedicated to martial arts and training for his upcoming SESI competition on the 25th of May in Minas Gerais”.
During the moments before his death, you could hear him screaming in pain, lying bloodied and crying “why, my god…my god”. Soon after, Jean succumbed to his head wound.
Surrounded by residents, he lay motionless, tearful eyes and devastation in the air as they knew that this would be the last time they see him.
Jean Rodrigues da Silva Aldrovande was shot in the head in front of his workplace minutes before he’d begin training. A young man labeled a bandit and taken far too soon.
Unfortunately, these are daily occurrences for residents all around Rio de Janeiro’s wealthiest neighborhoods in the South Zone that are the central hub for tourism in Brazil. Jean was not the first victim of the Complexo do Alemão community, and will not be the last.
He will be only one of the almost 500 this year or one of the five victims killed by police every day throughout Favelas and communities. Protecting Jean Rodrigues da Silva Aldrovande’s name and the job that comes with it will be at the hands of his family.
The truth is the family has to fight to keep his name clean from calls that he’s a trafficker or bandit by the already angry and volatile public. The family has previously released documentation regarding his salary, work hours, and occupation to prove he was not a person of bad character.
However, this won’t silence all the calls from hateful people or supporters of Wilson Witzels’ “Military intervention” that he is indeed a bandit or a bad man. Whether there are 500 or 1,000 dead, as far as Witzel and many politicians are concerned, this is the sacrifice of war and action needed.
The reality is police in Rio de Janeiro killing at a rate similar to a modern-day war without labeling it as precisely that.
There is an obsession with killing within favelas, which is likely unconstitutional as we do not have a death penalty in Brazil. Rio de Janeiro is experiencing its most dangerous year for residents of Favelas in nearly two decades, and the new policies of Bolsonaro and Witzel are the culprits.
Jean Rodrigues da Silva Aldrovande was an exceptional citizen living in a place known for its immense violence. A man creating change for the better in his community. The value of Jean’s life and work is, unfortunately, irreplaceable.
He represents a significant loss to the community, and I ask at what point did his life become less valued than a war of drugs and guns. A fight started to stop these senseless killings, though only worsening the situation.
Every time an innocent dies, our city cries with no direction. We wait in silence for the next victim, only to ask ourselves “Até Quando” – Until when? – How many more need to die in this magical city of so many wonders before we wake up and say enough is enough?