AFP – A day after police took over Brazil’s largest drug-infested favela, Rocinha, and two smaller ones, Rio authorities said Monday they planned to pacify dozens more ahead of the 2014 World Cup.
For the first time in decades, heavily armed security forces on Sunday stormed Rocinha, Vidigal and Chacara do Ceu and peacefully occupied the slums overlooking Rio’s wealthiest neighborhoods, without firing a shot and with no resistance from drug traffickers.
The operation widened the security perimeter around Rio’s residential and tourist area as Brazil prepares to host football’s 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.
“This occupation has a strong symbolic value by its location, in Rio’s richest area, and completes a cycle of occupations in the southern zone of the city in those tourist areas most directly linked to the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games,” said Professor Ignacio Cano, of the Rio de Janeiro Federal University’s violence analysis center.
It opens the way for deploying police pacification units (UPPs) specially trained to deal with communities which for years have been ruled by drug traffickers and paramilitary militias.