So how accurate is this movie? My friends say it is a very good picture of what has recently, and is happening.
There are many versions of the assessment of Rio´s violence, and to what extend the drama ends and the facts begin. I´ll give you mine, as a citizen from other part of Brazil living in Rio for the last 3 years.
As with the proverbial water glass, half empty, half full, the movie reveals some of the scariest stories of corruption in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. On the other hand, there is some of the stereotypes that are always present in poorer communities – all politicians are corrupt, business people should not be trusted, favelas are fully occupied by drug dealers and/or militia etc – which are magnified by the media.
So let´s get to the facts. Rio de Janeiro has improved a lot on security. From the most violent city in Brazil it has in the last two years “pacified” some of the most difficult favelas of the city – and has since then moved to the eight position in terms security issues. The plan of “pacification”- the term was adopted as a form of regaining control of the critical areas then controlled by drug dealers – and to restore the rule of law, key government service and personal security of the area. This was accomplished by the occupation of the area by the military police (as you might know, Brazil has two types of security forces – the judiciary police and the military police – the last of which is oriented to ostensive security and violence control and linked to the state government. Nothing to do with the army, though). With the arrest of many drug dealers, the violence was strongly reduced and the slums are returning to normal levels. Violence and criminality dropped sharply in these areas, as a consequence of the stronger presence of the police and the state government.
The Security authorities have also fought corruption in the police – more than 500 cases of corruptions were investigated, and most officials charged fired. Many of the charges go to the relations between the police and militia, which was one of the problems which the 2 movie focused on. As such there is a renewal in the upper echelons of the Military Police.
I think Rio is as safe now as other cities of the same level of economic development in the world. We still have problems to solve – on of the most challenging is the crack epidemics that all urban areas are going trough. But in terms of fighting organized crimes there was a remarkable improvement.
To close this commentary, I am confident in inviting my friends from abroad to visit Rio today – I would not be so reassured 5 years ago.
Hope I have been useful to you.
Great comment. I wrote something similar (not related to Tropa de Elite on my blog. allabroadconsulting.wordpress.com
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