Sunday, April 03, 2005

Trouble in the "City of God"?

Brazil leader condemns killings

Brazil's President Lula denounces as "barbaric" the shooting of 30 people in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.

"Rio is one of the most violent cities in the world.

Rival drugs gangs are in control of many slum areas, known as favelas.

Rio police have long been accused by human rights groups of using extreme brutality and acting with impunity.

They say police carried out a 1993 massacre in the state, in which 21 people were killed."
I am always interested in the situation in Brasil, because it is - forgive the slight ethnocentrism - one of the only few majoritarly Black former colonies that seem to show some level of succes economically, and socially. The increasing class divisions within the country - which are sometimes around racial lines, and the resulting unequal wealth distribution, perpetuates the "favelas" problem (which is not unlike the "townships" of South Africa, interestingly the other main success of a Black states), and result in this type of tragedies. I admire President Lula for his progressive determination, and he has brought about much needed "refreshment" of the scene in Latin America, and the World. I wonder, however, if the changing political environment - with a Left tide - in the region will not be, sadly, a negative factor on his ability to find the resources for his ambitious vision. I wonder...

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