By Harold Emert, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – In an attempt to clean up its image in time to host the World Cup of 2014 and Olympic Games of 2016, the state of Rio may hire the ex-mayor and unofficial ex -“sheriff” of New York City, Rudolph Giuliani.
Responsible for instituting a “zero tolerance” policy, and noted for his determined and courageous leadership after September 11 in New York City, Giuliani plans to visit Rio five to six times a year to advise local officials.
His task will not be easy: Rio law enforcement officials are currently fighting fire-bombed buses, and gangs using adolescents to transport arms and drugs in a city which the Rio’s Mayor Eduardo Peas recently called “cidade do lixo” (trashland) as reported by O Globo.
Giuliani visited this last week the Brazilian favela of Dona Marta to view first hand a local project called “Peaceful Police,” where law enforcement officials try to be friends and aides the poor rather than fight them with arms and violence. He told Rio’s O Globo newspaper that like New York City, Rio’s problems can be resolved by combating small acts of disorder.
“It’s the logic of the broken window. You should fix it first before another is broken. In New York we tackled problems showing the population that disorder is not the example to be followed.” The ex-mayor and unsuccessful Presidential candidate adds however “in New York it took us six or seven years to become a success.”
A Brazilian columnist adds that “Giuliani did the same job in Mexico and charged $4.3 million dollars, but according to reports, he wasn’t able to change much there.”
Exhilarated with his new helper from the Big Apple, Rio’s governor Sergio Cabral says “Giuliani has a staff of professionals who have given their advice to the whole world for events, public administrations, and to private companies, and I have contracted him to reinforce our work with public security.”
Cabral explained that Giuliani’s staff will maintain permanent contact with the staff of the local government to get to know first hand the reality of Rio de Janeiro. He expects Giuliani to present a concrete proposal within one month of implanting zero tolerance to a municipality which once was called the Marvelous City during the bossa nova era but today struggles with crime and poverty.
“We have his work in New York as a reference. Giuliani is a great specialist in what he does. He took over New York in 1992 with high indexes of criminality and by 2000 reduced crime drastically”.
Not one to skirt reality, Giuliani visited one of Rio’s most dangerous favelas Alemao (German) to see the Afonso Varzea Municipal School. He was accompanied besides the mayor the municipal secretary of education, Claudia Costin.
He also visited Rio Municipal Guard, or civil police, Rio’s northern neighborhood of Sao Cristovao and was accompanied by the secretary of Public Order Rodrigo Bethlem and commander of the civil police, e Ricardo Pacheco.
Correction: December 10th, 2009
This article was first published on December 8th stating Giuliani had been hired already.