A carnival of violence on Rio’s streets
Rio de Janeiro has become a war zone, said O Globo. The main thoroughfare known as the Yellow Line had to be closed four times in a single day last month because of gun battles between military police and drug traffickers. Three people died in the violence, and cellphones captured “scenes of terror among drivers and passengers, with mothers and children running to protect themselves from the shots, and police using private cars as barricades.” By the next day, those viral images were already old news, because the Yellow Line was closed again by yet another shoot-out. At one point, all three of Rio’s main expressways were shut because of police operations. Innocents too often end up as casualties of crossfire. Jeremias Moraes da Silva, 13, was walking home in a favela after playing soccer last week when a shoot-out erupted between police and gang members. He was killed by a stray bullet. The same day, 3-year-old Emilly Sofia Neves Marriel was fatally shot by thugs who opened fire on her family’s car. Not just the city, but also the state of Rio “is clearly adrift.” Gov. Luiz Fernando Pezão says he is outraged and laments that this is “not the city we want.” But this violence is not his fault. Only federal help can prevent another Jeremias or Emilly.