Kyra Moon


“This was just the beginning. They want war, and they‟ll get war. The problem of trafficking will only be resolved with blood. It is the only language they understand.” This was the response of Mario Azevedo, chief delegate of the 21st police precinct in the Bonsucsso neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, after drug traffickers killed three police officers. Three days after that assault, one hundred and twenty heavily armed police officers stormed into the Nova Brasilia favela (the Brazilian term for slum or shantytown) and killed thirteen residents, four of which were minors. Press reports initially described this incident in the favela as one between the police and drug traffickers. However, further investigation found that it was a massacre characterized by cruelty and that the police were not even specifically targeting suspected drug traffickers. Fighting violence with violence is not the correct way to decrease instances of crime. Police reform is desperately needed in Brazil to ensure that the crime problem does not continue to increase.

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