A private war among brothers

Police and Drug Traffickers in Rio de Janeiro are born into the same poverty. They are brothers essentially, living in the same houses, frequenting the same parties, each striving for success and a chance at getting out of the favela. Some choose the legal path, others the illegal, yet they are fighting a war against each other fueled by drugs and a lack of government support and basic services inside their impoverished communities. With very low wages almost 95% of Military and Civil Police officers of Rio de Janeiro hold second or sometimes even third jobs to support their families, mainly but not limited to the private security industry. Some drive taxis, do carpentry, and even teach in schools. The inadequate salary creates an easy environment as well as a tolerance for corruption and police officer’s illegal involvement in drug trafficking as well as other lucrative activities. In 2008 the city of Rio implemented and experimental program known as “Pacification.” Although the program which installed a new group of police presence in many of the city’s favelas showed positive changes, over time, the lack of social programs in those communities and other factors have caused violence in the city to again spiral out of control. Large parts of the west and northern city suburbs are rife with crime and corrupted police known as “milicia” have gained even more control of neighborhoods, while drug traffickers and other crime rings have migrated to other cities across the country.