When the Olympics and the World Cup come to town, you have to clean up the streets. Brazil is taking it to a whole new level.
Two months after military police swept into South America’s largest slum, crime has dropped precipitously in the community of Rocinha. The so-called “pacification” comes ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, both of which will be hosted by Rio de Janeiro.
Before you picture a vast city of cardboard boxes, consider that Rocinha is home to 6,000 businesses and a lower unemployment rate than the U.S. However, drug trafficking and violent crime run rampant. During the police takeover (seen here in a stunning BBC video), not a single gunshot was fired.
Military police have given control to city police, and, hopefully, peace and stability for Rocinha. While community members are not thrilled to see dump trucks full of heavily armed officers, many hope better sanitation and education will follow.
Multinational corporations are also gearing up for the 2016 Olympics. Coca-Cola, Visa, Procter & Gamble and, now, McDonald’s have signed sponsorship deals through the 2020 Games, ensuring their ability to advertise in fast-growing economies like Rio de Janeiro, Sochi, Russia (winter 2014) and Pyeongchang, South Korea (Summer 2020).
But are the gangs and criminals just going to regroup in other communities, or bribe the police to sneak back in? Listen to this Deutsche Welle Radio report to find out.