Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Attack of the Alligators

Drug runners in Rio de Janeiro went primal in intimidating their neighbors and shocked police raiders. Humans who ran afoul of the favelas' or slum hillsides' drug kingpins were fed sans ketchup to a pair of hungry caimans or alligators. Brazilian Police raided the home of the mother-in-law of a drug pusher only to get a rude backyard reception from the two man eating reptilian creatures. Skip the pit bulls and pythons, these new intimidating tactics get two in one by eating the victims and the resulting evidence. The gators are all the rage in Rio, a city known for Sugarloaf and the New seventh wonder of the world Cristo Redentor atop Corcovado as the stone replica overlooks beautiful scenery at Copacabana & Impanema beaches and abject poverty shunted aside on the hills.
Drug gangs in the city of Rio de Janeiro are known for their often brutal methods, but the police seem to believe their tactics for spreading fear are more unorthodox than previously thought.
Television images showed police officers carefully placing the caimans in the back of a truck.
One was almost 2m (6.5ft) long, although the other appeared to be much smaller.

Now a lucky local zoo is going to house the gators that ate some of their fellow citizens? Bounds of propriety and all, the US is known to kill wild animals and domestic pets that attack its citizens. It also would be relatively easy to get the caimans as the rainforest abuts many of the favelas giving cover to training and other imaginable horrors.

Ironically, the recruitment of Rio's drug runners often starts with a staple of the culture, a bailes or dance party sponsored by the current drug kingpins in groups nicknamed Red Command or Friends of Friends. In a schizoid scene, the slums are a stones throw away hanging right over a goodly few of Rio's Richy-riches. Violence is a way of life as people scratch for resources, clean water and a decent toilet finding a weird outgrowth of creativity in killing for the more ruthlessly Darwinian. During intense rains, landslides frequently remind the wealthy that the homes perched precariously above are built with whatever is at hand as the structures, favelados or people and their problems land in twisted gore at their well-shod feet. It is sad that the "quicknapping" tale of the man-eating gators will grow as the divide between rich and poor in Rio is not geographical, but socio economic with brutality practiced differently on each side of the divide.

Enrique Desmond Arios captures a bit of the history and growth of the favelas from policies, slavery and . His book Drugs and Democracy in Rio de Janeiro: Trafficking, Social Networks, and Public Security gives a grim view of the effects of the international cocaine market and its reordering of Brazilian society as a direct result of corruption, past slavery and the military dictatorship. Alligators may have been more civilized than anyone outside of the favelas knew. Ugh!

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