With Army Help Rio Takes Over “Heart of the Evil” in Clean-Up Effort for 2016 Olympics

    Soldiers enter Alemão favela

    Soldiers enter Alemão favela Rio’s Public Security Secretary José Mariano Beltrame described the police raid on the Alemão Complex group of favelas, known as “heart of the evil,” as a success. The criminals lost not only their territory, but also a huge amount of weapons, drugs, vehicles and other possessions, he said. 

    “A criminal without home, without a gun, without territory, a criminal without means to trade is much less of a criminal than he was before,” he told a post-operation press conference.

    The operation was by far the largest ever carried out in Rio, involving more than 2,500 officers and troops from local and federal police, the Army and the Marine Corps, plus 43 armored vehicles and nine helicopters.

    Residents and neighbors supported the operation with over 2.500 phone calls identifying places controlled by the criminal gangs, and applauded and raised white flags as the troops climbed the hills.

    According to Beltrame, the government’s war on the drug gangs is far from over, but taking over the Alemão favela represents a huge step towards final victory.

    “We did not win the war, but we won the most important and most difficult battle,” he said. “We did not solve all the problems, there is still much to be done, but an important step has been taken.”

    Police units started occupying the hills of the Alemão Complex Sunday morning after laying a three-day siege to it. They reached hilltops early afternoon, where they raised both national and municipal flags.

    Throughout the day, police searched house after house in the shantytown to hunt down drug dealers. Three suspects were killed and at least 30 others were arrested so far, while many criminals were still at large.

    In the operation, the police seized 40 tons of marijuana, 150 kilograms of cocaine, 50 assault rifles, and 50 stolen motorbikes.

    The officers also raided some sumptuous houses of the drug lords, which were in a sharp contrast to the surrounding poverty, as the Alemão Complex has one of the worst social indicators in Rio.

    The operation was launched after police managed on Thursday to occupy nearby shantytown Vila Cruzeiro. The police assured residents that they will not leave the shantytowns after the operations and plan to remain there to ensure security.

    The operation which coordinates state and federal troops and logistics is part of the “clean-up” operation in Rio do Janeiro ahead of the international agenda of the city which includes the World Cup in 2014; the American Cup 2015 and the Olympic Games in 2016.

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    • Show Comments (4)

    • paulista

      it will happen…
      just as são paulo before the “80´s takeover” death squads everywhere until drug dealers,their families…bystanders know that drug dealers should mess with money not possing with war rifles in front of tv…it surely will get better, but not as the goverment will said, the body count is the only thing to change….

    • Charles

      Solution
      This action is probably good for the short term, as everywhere I read, the favelas are being cleaned up for the World Cup and the Olympics.

      But, as Felipe Calderon said about his country, “in the most violent areas of the country, there is an unending recruitment of young people without hope, without opportunities.”

      As long as this condition exists, the problem will not go away. I think we all know why Brazil and Mexico have this problem, but no one who has the resources, seems to have the will to attack it at it’s roots.

    • pete

      Now someone will have to check the miltias and paramilitaries

    • hubbel

      I wonder…
      what will happen to these favelas AFTER the world cup and Olympics? Brazil is only cleaning this place up so that it doesn’t embarrass itself in front of the world, which still may happen. Hoisting a brazilian flag in Rio de Janeiro? As if that’s a big victory? Lets people know what kind of reality they’re dealing with.

      As soon as the Olympics are over they’ll replace yet another police chief and elect another governor that when they have to get serious again will be convicted of corruption and money laundering like the previous ones.

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