Entries in police (2)


Street Sweepers Strike in Brazil

Rio de Janeiro has recently made exciting headlines around the world, not for its beautiful beaches and carnival festivities, but because of a victorious strike carried out by the cities Garis – or street cleaners.

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Further drug problems in Brazil

It was back in May when we first heard of the new drug ‘rust’ making a name for itself in South America and in particular around the Brazil-Peru border. The drug was reported to be twice as strong as crack and sold for a fifth of the price.  However recent news from Rio has shed light on the wave of crack-cocaine addiction that is taking hold of much of the city; ripping apart families and spreading violence. “Rust” is no longer the biggest threat.

Rio is actually one of the last places in Brazil to be seized by crack addiction with many of the city’s dealers refusing to sell the drug in the past due to the effects it has on addicts. The epidemic in Brazil stretches from remote Amazon towns to many of the wealthy regions in the south and south-east. According to press reports the police in the north-eastern state of Pernambuco have confiscated a quantity of 6.8 million rocks so far this year.

“Crack is a crime against people, a crime against our youth and a crime against Brazil.” These were the words of the current President Dilma Rousseff in a campaign video before her election win last year. With a £155 million ant-crack strategy in the works including a scheme whereby 15,000 health agents would be trained to deal with users, the federal government of Brazil is on the warpath.

“Crack is terrible. It just makes people kill, rob and destroy other people’s families…” Said an addict detained by police after a raid in the Morro do Cajueiro favela. “…I was taking drugs. Your money runs out and you still want to smoke some more, so you go on to the streets to steal, beg,  it’s dog eat dog – either you make it work or you die trying.”

The cracolandias are the open-air drugs markets that are now raided on a weekly basis by police after a public outcry over the volume of crack usage prompted more action. The addicts who are detained by the police are forced to undergo a compulsory detox in a rehab centre.

“I believe that out of every 100 addicts, five will hear the word and manage not to use crack anymore. That is a victory. Society is lost. Society thinks these people have no future. In saving five lives we are victorious.” Stated Claudio Ferreira; a preacher and critic of the compulsory detox system. He believes that the only way for the addicts to recover is via the power of Christ and prayer.

If you want to find out how you can make a difference to communities in parts of the world affected by drugs, poverty or disease then visit the Frontier website and find out more about our community development projects. You could spend your gap year teaching in community centres and schools in Brazil and have a positive impact on children that are directly affected by these terrible occurrences.