By Margaret Janelle R. Hutchinson
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America
BRASÍLIA, Brazil – According to the Governor of São Paulo State and Brazilian news sources, the alarming increase in violence in Brazil’s largest city over the past few months is due to direct orders from organized crime bosses to execute military police and members of rival criminal organizations.
The escalation of violence in the greater São Paulo area is unquestionably on the rise judging by the number of murders that occur every night in and around the city, the total number of homicides in the past month alone reaching over 160, according to today’s report.
But the violence is not limited to the metropolitan region. Since September there have been roughly 600 murders throughout the state, approximately 100 of which were law enforcement officers.
The São Paulo state government, led by former opposition presidential candidate Geraldo Alckmin initially refused federal assistance to combat the increasing violence in his state. Then barbs were exchanged between the São Paulo Secretary for Public Security and the Federal Minister of Justice this week.
State Security Secretary Antonio Ferreira Pinto publicly denied that he had been offered federal aid, which was resolutely refuted by the Ministry in a press release.
On Thursday, President Dilma Rousseff personally telephoned Governor Alckmin and offered to send Federal Police intelligence agents, and other assistance, to work with the civil and military police in São Paulo.
At a news conference the yesterday morning, Alckmin said he was open to discussing a solution in partnership with the federal government.
The President and Governor have agreed to commence meetings next week, members of the Secretary for Public Security, Secretary of Prison Administration and the Ministry of Justice, will begin to examine possible solutions to the security crisis.
Direct contact between the two leaders coincides with São Paulo’s “Operation Saturation” wherein state military police have conducted operations in the capital’s slums, called favelas.
Militarized police conducted an operation in the favela Paraisópolis, yesterday, in which 22 people were arrested and 15 weapons, 324 rounds of ammunition of various calibers, 2.4 kilograms of cocaine, 254 kilograms of marijuana and 50 units of synthetic drugs were seized.
Paraisópolis is the only favela still under the control of the military police.
The escalation of violence in the richest region of the country is the worst since May 2006, when the organized crime group Primer Comando de la Capital (roughly translated to First Capital Command) carried out a series of attacks on police and civilian targets, bus fires, executions, and riots in some 50 prisons across the country.
The federal government intervened back in 2006 to help stop the violence.
As of yesterday there had been 83 murders committed in an 11 day period in Brazil’s largest city and financial capital. Between that report and today another 19 people were shot and 10 died.
For further information, please see:
Correio do Brasil – Dilma oferece Exército para conter violência; Alckmin recusa – 3 November 2012
Folha de S.Paulo – Dez pessoas são mortas e um PM baleado em São Paulo – 3 November 2012
Jornal Hoje – Violência na região metropolitan de São Paulo provoca mais dez mortes – 3 November 2012
mdz – Brasil: violencia en Sao Paulo deja más de 160 muertes en un mes – 3 November 2012
Fox News – Violence continues in Brazil’s largest city – 2 November 2012