Beyond Olympic glow, a vicious drug war rages in Rio

The devilishly complex struggle for control of many favelas, the largely poor areas that often emerged as squatter settlements in Rio, is still grinding on
The New York Times (US)
Thursday, August 11, 2016

rio-favela-bopeIn the shadow of the Olympics, a slow-burning war between drug gangs and the nation’s security forces is taking place. As the casualties mount in the favelas, the Games seem — to thousands in some of Rio’s poorest areas — like they are taking place in some distant city. Security experts who track gunfights in Rio de Janeiro have documented dozens of violent episodes in favelas since the Olympics started, raising questions about the huge security operation for the Games. The drug gangs are clashing not only with the police, but also with other gangs and with militias — paramilitary groups largely made up of both active-duty and retired police officers.