The Right to the City in Times of Intervention

Photo: Tania Rego/ Agência Brasil

On August 15, 2018, the BRICS Policy Center hosted the Dialogue “The Right to the City in Times of Intervention”, organized by theBRICS-Urbe. The program, which has focused its research on the dimensions of socio-spatial inequalitysince last year, aims to complement other initiatives, research and practices in the city that seek to advance the agenda of the right to the city for a fairer, safer and egalitarian Rio de Janeiro.

Silvia Ramos, a researcher at CESEC (Center for Security and Citizenship Studies) and coordinator of the Intervention Observatory, was invited to analyze the first six months of federal intervention in the state of Rio de Janeiro.

When considering the extraordinary nature of the measure, made official on February 16, 2018, CESEC created the Observatory of Intervention. Six months after the decree, the observatory published a document (only available in Portuguese) that analyzes the intervention based on three pillars: numbers, quantitative and qualitative indicators of results; striking facts, such as shootings and slaughter; and in the identification of a model, the main strategies and actors in the intervention.

The main critiques to the intervention

According to Silvia Ramos, the results of the report express the inefficiency of the operations of warlike logic. The researcher believes that military strategies bring enormous problems of governance, and that the military are “winning all battles but losing the war.” Thainã Medeiros, of the Coletivo Papo Reto, agrees with the coordinator of the Observatory. He says that “the 20is being fought in the wrong places” and that the militarized model does not benefit the population.

–       Directly or indirectly, a shot always hits the favela. Even when it does not hit a person, each shot creates fear, causes an increased incidence of heart attack and psychological illness in locals, among other negative consequences.

The data that supports Silvia and Thainã’s vision includes the increase in deaths caused by police, which exceeded 600; and the great mobilization of men and costs for low numbers of arms and drug seizures – in mega-operations, the average seizure is one weapon per operation.

According to Professor Cunca Bocayuva (NEPP-DH / UFRJ), there is a fear in society, an idea that one can not use long-term public policies because “the war is there”. This position prevents the police from approaching the population:

– The fact that the police in the cities have only an armed function and not a constitutional legal function prevents the demilitarization of the police and the policing of proximity. This cultural framework makes us move in the direction of barbarism.

The discussion was broadcast live on the BPC facebook page and excerpts can be accessed here.