A community where drug traffickers seek to maintain order and a police force that can be said to never truly represent the citizens? Within Rio de Janeiro and other cities in Brazil there has been the rise of drug trafficking, but why exactly? and what allows for the drug traffickers to maintain their positions within in favelas?
The myth of personal security examines the concept that traffickers maintain a degree of order in favelas by enforcing certain basic rules. Statistics from 2003 have pinned the murder rates at 40 percent per 100,000 inhabitants in Rio de Janeiro. “The police stand out in Latin American for their use of lethal violence”, data from 1995 shows that 9.3 percent of all homicides in Rio were attributed to the police. Favela dwellers are subject to police harassment and reject the authorities that never sought to serve the communities but to control the communities. Drug traffickers offered an alternative, in the 1980 when drug trafficking of cocaine from the Andes gained a new transportation hub Rio, Brazil saw the rise of drug trafficking in its favelas. The drug traffickers at points in time have represented individuals with ties to the community, but with the progression of time the new leaders and participants of drug trafficking represent other favelas. The drug traffickers have replaced, appease, or work within communities housing associations in some instances which were the organizations of power in the 1980s. Lei do Silencio is the “contract” that favela dwellers maintain with traffickers, they are required to maintain silence with the drug traffickers actions within the communities in return for security, but the security within the favela is also hierarchical. The drug traffickers also discriminate within those who more respected in the community and those that are not. People who are a worker, family man, older woman have more prestige and are ensured more protection than that of an addict, drunk, or criminal, bum. The wealthy advocate for marginalization and managing the poor communities, but the favela residents rely on traffickers to resolve disputes. Drug dealers are dependent upon the disorder of the communities and lack of a police presence. The populations that reside there would like infrastructure and proper housing which the state ‘can’ offer. Safety vs. Marginalization in hopes of state response.
To read the original publication: http://muse.jhu.edu/login?uri=/journals/latin_american_politics_and_society/v048/48.4arias.pdf