The Good, the Bad and the Innocent of Rio de Janeiro’s favela
By: Sam Campbell
Produced and Edited By: Charlie Hatch
The 2016 Summer Olympics brought back the glitz that has long characterized Brazil. At the same time, it distracted the world from an issue of national importance: are the favelas truly safer because of UPP?
The UPP, or Pacifying Police Unit, is a division of Rio de Janeiro’s police operating in the city’s most treacherous neighborhoods. It has two primary objectives: first, it must wrest control of the favelas from known gangs and drug traffickers. Second, it must integrate the neighborhood back into society.
John Teles, 26-year native of Santa Teresa, has since moved out of the favela. “Some time ago it looked like everything [was] getting better because the UPP seemed to be working well,” he said. His opinion changed due to the lingering criminal presence.
|A member of the national police in the district of Lima.|
Photo by Zhu (from Flickr Commons)
The police construe innocent casualties to be suspicious characters, said Dayana Seiblitz, a former resident of Copacabana. Because the police “just pick up some persons and they just threaten them to get information,” she said. “They are replacing the bad people in the favelas.”
“So I don’t know who to trust.”
|Historical series of the murder rate per 100,000 inhabitants, Municipality of Rio de Janeiro.” From Brazil’s Institute of Public Security|