Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Sounds pretty good ... and pretty bad

This Sunday, the Raleigh News and Observer ran a cluster of articles about Brazilian farming - Who feeds the world? You might think it's us; try Brazil. Cheap land, cheap labor, minimal government interference, and no ecoweenies. What's not to like? It's worth a read, even if you aren't much interested in agriculture. The only real question is when the "socialists" currently running Brazil via their support in the pesthole urban areas drag the whole thing down.

And speaking of which - Rio de Janeiro state plans to wall off slums:
The government of Rio de Janeiro state yesterday proposed to build a wall around its sprawling favelas in an effort to help control rampant crime in the picture postcard city.

"The wall won't put an end to violence [in the slums] but if we don't contain it, it will destroy the [surrounding] forest, the economy of Rio de Janeiro and the lives of the city's residents," Luiz Paulo Conde, deputy governor, said on Monday.

The proposal comes after yet another wave of violence rocked parts of the city during the Easter holidays, shutting down commerce, and killing 10 people, including civilians, police and gang members.
The unrest broke out when a rival gang on Friday sought to invade and occupy Rocinha, Latin America's largest shantytown, in an attempt to control the drug trade and steal cars.

The episode illustrates not only the power of drug traffickers in Rio but also the ineffectiveness of the police. Hidden TV cameras have repeatedly filmed police officials and prison guards turning a blind eye on drug traffickers and even taking bribes from them. Parts of Rocinha at the weekend resembled a battlefield.

Drug gangs armed with grenades and machine guns, fired relentlessly and local residents were caught in the crossfire.
Must have been a hot time in the old town.