For the original by Davison Coutinho in Portuguese in Jornal do Brasil click here.
A community abandoned by the public sector for decades, dominated by drug trafficking, under pressure and oppressed for a lifetime. Suddenly, the dream of a better life emerged: the installation of a Pacifying Police Unit (UPP). The promise was that it would be a better life, free from violence, all with the objective of spreading peace.
However, threats, oppression, beatings and torture were happening in the alleyways and little lanes. This has already been reported by the Jornal do Brasil during the investigation into the disappearance of bricklayer Amarildo, and was the subject of an item on the TV show Fantástico on Sunday, September 22.
Workers being hassled as they leave work, people being considered suspect and treated in a way which no human deserves to be treated. Residents being addressed in a shocking manner, beaten, suffocated and pepper sprayed. All this because after a hard week of work they are used to going out onto the streets and catching up with friends.
We cannot take any more oppression, we need freedom. We are human beings, we deserve respect. Enough of the farse, let’s be realistic. Let’s stop concealing the obvious, because it is not through fear that we will reach a better place.
We must remember that transformation and change are priorities over confrontations, arrests and deaths. Change will only happen through education; nobody learns from a smack in the face and suffocation.
Is this Governor Sérgio Cabral’s innovative pacification policy? Is this the way to transform this marvellous city? Is this the community model which the President asked of the Governor?
Davison Coutinho, 23 years old, has lived in Rocinha all his life. He graduated from PUC-Rio in Industrial Design, is a member of the Residents’ Commission for Rocinha, Vidigal and Chácara do Céu, teacher, writer, designer and community leader, employee at PUC-Rio.