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Brazil’s Gang Violence Die Down. Death Toll Stays at 170.

The gang violence that rocked Brazil’s prisons and its largest city for a week, killing 170 people, appeared to subside Friday, May 19, with police reporting no deadly overnight clashes with gang members.

But the fear that gripped São Paulo during the unprecedented crime spree remained and will likely be a major issue in this year’s presidential campaign.

Police said that for the first night in a week they had no confrontations with members of the ruthless First Capital Command gang, or PCC, that launched the strikes, enraged at last week’s transfer of gang leaders to a remote lockup.

After spiraling upward following daily gun battles between police and suspected criminals, the death toll didn’t rise and remained Friday at 170 people: 107 suspected criminals, 41 police and prison guards, 18 inmates and four civilians, police said.

But Brazilians were outraged, and made plans for demonstrations in large cities across the country Sunday to vent their rage at the failure of politicians to crack down on organized crime.

Critics said President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has not delivered on promises to improve the lives of the poor, who have long been ruled more by heavily armed crime groups than by the government but are often subject to brutal police repression.

Silva’s main opponent in October elections, former São Paulo state Governor Geraldo Alckmin, is also taking heat for failing in his five years in office to stamp out the PCC, which launched the attacks across Brazil’s most populous state.

Both sides face political repercussions from stark television images of buses torched by gang members, police cruisers riddled with bullets and funerals of police officers and innocents caught in the crossfire.

Across São Paulo’s urban sprawl, police frisked motorists at checkpoints in an unprecedented clampdown in the city of 18 million, South America’s largest.

"This will have a nationwide impact," predicted David Fleischer, a political scientist at the University of Brasí­lia . Some blame the problems on racism and the profound divide between rich and poor in Latin America’s largest economy, home to 182 million.

Brazil will only change when its wealthier white minority lets its riches trickle down to tens of millions of poor Brazilians with darker skin, said Claudio Lembo, who took over for Alckmin as São Paulo state governor less than two months ago.
 
São Paulo’s elite must "recognize its responsibility and open its wallet," Lembo told the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo. But rather than trying to root out the causes of crime, he said, the city’s fortunate "head out to the best five-star restaurant."

Dozens of poor families who hadn’t seen their relatives in days showed up Thursday at a morgue to see photos of 40 unidentified young men killed by police. Some also hoped to identify the bodies of slain bystanders.

Hamilton Guadino, a 64-year-old real estate agent, dropped off his neighbor, whose daughter had been killed in a carjacking. "They just came up, smashed the window and shot her," he said. "It doesn’t make sense."

Guadino blamed the violence on a decades-old culture of corruption, exemplified by the recent scandal that forced the resignations of Silva’s chief of staff and finance minister. Nicknamed the "mensalão," or "big monthly allowance," it involved lawmakers who allegedly took bribes to support Silva’s Workers Party in Congress.

"They don’t have money for social programs or prison security, but they have money for the mensalão," Guadino said. The rampage began May 12 after the PCC unleashed its fury on officers following the transfer of its leaders to a remote prison

Police struck back, killing some 107 suspected criminals in the following days, including 14 overnight Wednesday and Thursday. Human Rights Watch said some of the killings by police may have been summary executions, and urged authorities to launch an independent probe.

"A thorough investigation of all the deaths is crucial to establish the truth and maintain confidence in the police," said Paulo Mesquita, a spokesman for the group.

Pravda – www.pravda.ru

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  • Show Comments (2)

  • Liza britton

    help
    i wish that there truly was an answer to gang violence. and thats when the question why pops up.i dont think there is an answer i just wish it woul stop death to all who kill!!!!!!!!!1 : 🙁

  • Guest

    Datamine the Criminals\’ Phone network
    “Do any of you pendejos think that Brazil would not intrude even more into the lives of her citizens if only she had the capacity?

    The US government is datamining the point to point call data to learn about social networks involving terrorists, which is a benefit for their citizens – there are positive implications for organized crime fighting as well.
    The tech evolved out of commercial and academic (sociological) applications and is probably inevitable.
    The privacy issues, though real, are often presented idiotically – no government has the resources to listen in on their citizens’/subjects’ ordinary conversations – the beauty of the datamining scheme is that even if a court won’t allow listening, it still provides useful info without anti-terror or law enforcement having to monitor actual content. “

    Yes – find out who Marcola’s amigos are and slaughter them!!!

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