Saturday, October 18, 2008


There has been a crazy amount of violence happening in Salvador and São Paulo these past couple of weeks. In Salvador at least, the violence seems to be more centered in the suburbs, far from where I live. But it´s scary nevertheless.

The other day in the newspaper, I read that some city official had "declared war" between the police and drug traffickers in the city. What´s happening is that the drug traffickers have decided to do their best to kill as many cops as they possibly can. This includes following cops home, seeing where they live, threatening their families, and killing them when they are off duty and out of uniform. I can´t remember the exact statistic of how many police have been killed this year, but it´s a significant number. The parts of the city that I frequent are not high drug trafficking areas, but favelas are mixed in throughout the city, so nowhere is totally safe. I hope they make peace soon before too many innocent folks are killed or hurt.

I don´t know if this has made international news or not (it should have!), but the other day in São Paulo there was a big riot between the civilian police and military police at the governor´s mansion. I asked one of my students what the difference is between the civilian and military police. He told me that the civilian police do the investigating of crimes, and the military police keep the order. The civilian police have been on strike in São Paulo for the last month, and the other day they decided that they wanted to talk with the governor about it. So they went up to the mansion, and the military police were there to "keep the order". This led to a riot including tear gas, rubber bullets and like 30 or so police officers injured. It was quite a situation. And to top it all off, because all the cops were busy during this time, the amount of crime that occured in the city because of the lack of police officers to do their normal cruising around, led to an increase in the amount of crime that occurred on that day. I was glad that I don´t live in São Paulo!

It´s interesting to be in a place that you often just hear about on the news (sometimes!). Although I would say that I would prefer to be somewhere that doesn´t have this kind of thing happening, even if it is in another neighborhood or city.

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