Police Raid on Complexo do Alemão Favela

On 21 July, 400 armed police officers, 10 armoured police vehicles and four helicopters began a police raid on the Complexo do Alemão favela in Rio de Janeiro to take down an organised crime group. Following the raid, the police said they were looking for 14-15 people related to the group. However, they used overwhelming force. A gunfight ensued leading to the death of 18 people, 16 criminals, one police officer and one innocent bystander. Although, human rights groups have suggested that this police raid was unlawful and follows a pattern of human rights abuses perpetrated by the police. [source]

Rio’s governor, Claudio Castro, and President Jair Bolsonaro have lamented the death of the police officer but have given no apology to the people injured and affected by the violence. Bolsonaro’s hard-line views on tackling crime has garnered him support in the past. However, support for Lula da Silva will grow as the black and mixed race community are disproportionately affected. Politically these raids could be divisive for a president who thrives off strong right-wing ideas. [source]

Key Judgement 1: Police raids on favelas in Rio de Janeiro will likely continue if Jair Bolsonaro and Claudio Castro are re-elected.

  • Jair Bolsonaro is using anti-crime rhetoric to stir up his supporters. His hard-line attitude towards criminals is also something many right-wing supporters agree with. [source]

  • Bolsonaro approves excessive force when dealing with criminal organisations. [source]

  • Rio’s governor Claudio Castro is also running for re-election. His opposition criticise him for his acceptance of excessive police violence in Rio’s favelas. [source]

Key Judgement 2: It is likely that police raids will further divide the politics of Brazil.

  • Staunch right-wing supporters agree that authorities deal with crime too violently. Support for Bolsonaro’s highly aggressive tactics will only lead to more black and mixed race deaths in low-income neighbourhoods during police raids. 

  • Many left-wing politicians use social media to challenge Bolsonaro’s violent policies. Many view these police raids as using excessive force with disregard for innocent life and no reprisals. [source]

  • Lula da Silva is currently 20% points ahead in the polls. Bolsonaro is combatting that by using highly patriotic rhetoric about the police and armed forces. Bolsonaro’s zero tolerance on crime also grants him support.  

Key Judgement 3: If Lula da Silva is elected president, he will likely reduce the amount of police raids on favelas. 

  • Lula da Silva has previously been president of Brazil and tried to implement a less aggressive policy for counteracting crime in favelas. [source]

  • Human rights groups have previously spoken out about the crimes perpetrated by police and that the government must address them. [source]

  • Lula da Silva will be unpopular with the police if he starts to enforce punishments on excessive force. 

Intelligence Cut Off Date: 02nd August, 2022

Nicholas Fullick
Nicholas Fullick
Nicholas is a graduate in Portuguese and Spanish from Cardiff University. He is currently studying a Master's in Intelligence and Security Studies from Brunel University with hopes of starting a career in intelligence. His research focus is on South and Central America. https://www.linkedin.com/in/nick-fullick-3b1780232/

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