Saturday, October 17, 2009

Brazil's Olympic Drug Wars

It looks like Rio de Janeiro is on the brink of Marshal Law. Maybe things have calmed down for now, but this is not a good sign.

Rio de Janeiro has said no to an offer by the Brazilian federal government to send federal troops to police the city after Saturday's deadly confrontation between drug trafficking gangs and the military police that tried to intervene in the drug lords battle for better drug-selling spots in the Morro dos Macacos (Monkeys Hill) favela, in Vila Isabel, 6 miles from downtown Rio.

According to the authorities, the little war left 12 people dead, 10 criminals and two policemen. Saturday morning a police helicopter carrying four officers was shot by the drug dealers. The bullets hit the pilot's leg and the chopper propeller.

The pilot was able to land the helicopter in a soccer field from an Olympic Village nearby preventing a bigger tragedy had it crashed into a residential area. The chopper, however, caught fire and two of the military men were killed, the other two suffered minor burns.

The Olympics may prove to be very exciting.

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