The slaughter of Guaruja

Christine Borland, Ghost Twins, 1997
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By LUIS FELIPE MIGUEL*

Violent and corrupt, the police are singularly incompetent in carrying out the tasks to which they would be destined.

The São Paulo government recognized 8 dead, although there are talks of 10, 12 or even 19. Relatives of the victims point to signs of torture and execution. But Tarcísio de Freitas already anticipated: “there was no excess”. He also stated that he was "extremely satisfied with the police action".

Rota undertook the operation in revenge for the death of a soldier. The press reported that the police had threatened to kill at least 60 residents in retaliation.

It is modus operandi da Rota – in 2015, it carried out a massacre with 23 dead to avenge the deaths of a PM and a municipal civil guard. But this type of action is a matter for mafia gangs, not the police force.

As fair as the outrage over the loss of a colleague may be, the police exist to protect the public and to identify and arrest criminals, not to promote bloodshed.

Even if the “suspects” were all really suspects, police violence would not be justified. But, as everyone knows, they aren't even that.

For over 50 years, Rota has been synonymous with truculence. His victims are numbered in the thousands. But its difference in relation to the average standard of the Brazilian police is in quantity, not in quality.

(I saw a humorous video the other day, I don't remember the source, in which two foreigners submitted themselves to a quiz to find out how much they know about Brazil. One of the questions was “What is the most violent gang in Brazilian cities?” The correct answer is “Military Police.” Humorous, but sadly accurate.)

For the extreme right, police violence is a value to be preserved. The slaughter in Guarujá is not enough: the bullet caucus wants carte blanche to kill. They ask to remove the cameras from the uniforms.

Violent and corrupt, the police are singularly incompetent in carrying out the tasks to which they are destined. In a particularly perverse vicious circle, the failure of public security fuels discourses favorable to police violence. The same population that runs the risk of being killed by the police is led to applaud their excesses.

The cynical speech of Tarcísio de Freitas is not thoughtless. He knows which audience he is pleasing when he endorses the massacre in Guarujá.

* Luis Felipe Miguel He is a professor at the Institute of Political Science at UnB. Author, among other books, of Democracy in the capitalist periphery: impasses in Brazil (authentic).

Originally posted on the author's social media.


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