In an unprecedented operation last November, police and soldiers took back favelas from drug dealers in the neighborhoods of Vila Cruzeiro and Complexo de Alemao. The move, followed by ongoing military patrols, was heralded as a new era in the fight against traffickers, and the start of a new life for the residents who had lived under their thumb. But a recent story in the newspaper O Globo suggests just how difficult the real battle may be. There have been five murders in Vila Cruzeiro since police went in, and residents believe at least some of the victims were punished for cooperating with police and soldiers. Police and the military say the rumor has no basis in fact. Even if it’s not true, the rumor shows just how long it will take before residents feel safe. And if it is true, it raises questions about what it will take for them to actually be safe.
For a thorough description of the situation in English, check out this post by blogger Julia Michaels.