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by Peter Moskos

October 21, 2009

Hard Core in Brazil

Just a week or two after Jon Lee Anderson's excellent article in the New Yorker on drugs and favelas in Rio de Janeiro, drug gangs shoot down a police helicopter. That's hard core. I mean, I've thought about shooting down police helicopters, but luckily I lack the .30-caliber anti-aircraft gun used to bring that baby down. Three police officers were killed. All together, 21 or so died in related chaos.

I can't think of a worse combination than drugs being illegal and the government giving up to control to drug gangs in the ghettos. It's one thing to fight a war on drugs. It's another to start a war on drugs and then give up large parts of your city away to the criminal drug gangs.

There are close to 5,000 murders a year in Rio de Janeiro. That's a rate about twice as high as Baltimore and about 10 times as high as NYC.

“Rio is one of the very few cities in the world where you have whole areas controlled by armed forces that are not of the state.”

Here's Anderson's latest update. And his audio slide show. Good stuff.

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