"Do you know those catastrophic movies? Well it's exactly the same. A giant jam and everyone comes out of cars running in the opposite direction: young children, adults, the elderly … and nobody looks back. " This is how civilian engineer Fred Rocha, 32, describes the experience of having experienced one of the feared ones drags, months back near the port area of Rio de Janeiro. The drags They are actions of groups of armed criminals, often with rifles, which cut off some important roadway artery to steal everything they find, usually with intimidation and violence.
Traumatic episodes like these, which generate defenselessness to the public and expose the inability of public authorities in Brazil to curb crime and organized crime, will win votes in the second round of the presidential elections to the extreme right candidate, the captain of the reserve Jair Bolsonaro, self-proclaimed "security candidate" and leader of the Social Liberal Party (PSL).
Given the figures of an armed civil conflict – 2017 there were 50,000 violations of women and 63,880 homicides in the country (this year until August 34,305) – the extreme right proposes simplistic solutions and Superficies that can be summarized in a mem or a short message from WhatsApp. For example, the liberalization of trade and possession of weapons, following the model of the United States; that the security forces "shoot to kill" and have a "legal rear" so that they are not investigated by excesses, or reduce the majority of criminal age at age 17 and tighten the prison sentences.
The candidate of the extreme right, who has been positioned in favor of the extermination groups, attributes the increase in crime in Brazil to the "leftist" ideology of regional governments. These are elucubrations and conspiracies of rapid absorption in social networks, which clash with more complex approaches, such as Fernando Haddad's Workers' Party (PT), which proposes the creation of a single security system. This would be the eighth federal plan to combat violence since 2000, with results so far uncultivated.
Unlike Bolsonaro, the PT does include in its electoral program combat criminal factions, such as the São Paulo First Commando da Capital or the Carioca Comando Vermelh, who deal with drugs, weapons and all kinds of stolen material. In spite of this, the electorate sees in the hard, impulsive and implacable speech of Bolsonaro a more effective and fast way to restore public safety.
"The situation in Rio de Janeiro is untenable. Everyone avoids traveling around places that they do not know because they can be docked or you can see yourself in the middle of a shooting, "says Rocha engineer, who emphasizes:" There should not be any Rio de Janeiro who has not heard this year's sound bullet ".
The former capital of the country has become the symbol of the public safety crisis in Brazil. Fogo Cruzado RJ, a data laboratory on armed violence, indicates that from January to the end of September there have been 872 deaths by firearm and 7,381 shootings in the Grande Rio (the Carioca metropolitan area). In 2017, in the same period, they totaled 6,942.
This increase exemplifies the failure of federal intervention. In February, up to 10,000 federal agents deployed in the Rio state and invested 240 million euros to renew the equipment of local security forces. This measure, anticipated in the 1988 Constitution for extreme situations, was applied for the first time by the government of Michel Temer and will continue until the end of the year. But at the moment there have been no results.
Inside the communitiesAs the favelas are called in a politically correct way, the environment is currently "unresponsive", according to the 29-year-old Suelly Costa, which resides in one of the hills dominated by the Vermelho Commando, in the northern part of the city. Since the end of 2015 "everything has worsened a lot," says Suelly. "I do not know where we are going to stop, we live like hostages," he regrets.
According to military intervention data, there are 1,426 areas beyond the control of public administration in the entire Rio state. 57% are governed by the Vermelho Command, 19% by paramilitary groups, and the rest are in the hands of other groups of drug traffickers.
"The two quiet days of this year were when the army entered the favela. I do not know why they did not stay there, now I feel unprotected and, every time I leave my house, I am afraid that something can happen to me, "says the woman.
At the beginning of 2013, a pacifist police unit (UPP) was installed in this favela, which operated until the end of 2015. "That was the best time," recalls the Suelly. The financial crisis, however, paralyzed public services in Rio de Janeiro. A few days before the 2016 Olympics, the regional government even declared the state of financial calamity.
The arrears of officials' salaries, including security forces, allowed the drug trafficking to recover positions. "Now we're frightened again. My 13-year-old son and 9-year-old niece live in bed at home. I do not let them out because of the fear that something happens to them, "says Suelly, who, for this reason, voted Bolsonaro in the first round of the presidential elections, and says he will do it again this Sunday. The candidate of the extreme right lives in the capital of Rio de Janeiro for years and obtained 59.79% of the votes in that state on the first round.
Who lives, however, in the middle class neighborhoods also does it with the shimmering heart. "Everything is out of control," says Diogo Coutinho, 43, residing in Itaboraí, in the Grande Rio. "In the center of the city there are often robberies in the shops, and the police are corrupt or overcome by the circumstances," said a bank branch worker.
"The last episode that caused panic in the city is the threats via WhatsApp of a group of militiamen who imposed the curfew for a week, threatening the death of those who did not. Even schools and institutes closed sooner, "relates Coutinho.
"Although people try to make normal life, at any time and place, either in the street, at a store, on the beach or in a bus line in Rio de Janeiro, you can dock or you can become a victim of" a bullet lost, "coyote lamented. "In Rio de Janeiro it's true that phrase that says that when you go home in the morning, you never know if you will return in the evening," sentence.