What is known about Dino’s visit to Complexo da Maré
Justice and Public Security Minister Flávio Dino (PSB) may have to explain his visit to the Nova Holanda favela in Rio de Janeiro this week to the Public Security Commission of the opposition-dominated Chamber of Deputies. The minister entered an area dominated by organized crime, which raised suspicions that the Comando Vermelho faction allegedly authorized his presence there.
Public security agents, such as Dino, are only able to enter areas such as the Maré favela in operations involving dozens of police officers. Raids often result in confrontation. This is because criminal factions exercise de facto territorial dominance in many areas of Rio de Janeiro.
His arrival was recorded in a video that went viral on the internet and generated criticism from parliamentarians, such as Eduardo Bolsonaro (PL-SP), who reproduced the images on his social networks. The recording shows Dino’s arrival accompanied by his assistants in just two official cars.
With the controversy, Dino said he went to participate in an event promoted by the NGO Redes da Maré. He said the opposition’s criticism was an attempt by the far right to criminalize all community residents in Brazil.
In general, factions in Rio de Janeiro are informed by community leaders and activists when events are held at NGOs within the area dominated by the faction. It is normal for local leaders of criminal groups to issue a sort of safe-conduct for politicians, journalists and activists to enter undisturbed. The aim is to avoid further clashes with the police.
But it is not yet known whether something of this nature happened on Dino’s visit to Complexo da Maré, last Monday (13). A group of deputies from the so-called “Bullet Bench”, including Eduardo Bolsonaro and Carlos Jordy (PL-RJ), want the minister’s explanations to be provided not on Twitter, but in a session of the Chamber’s Public Security Commission.
It is a standing committee set up with a number of others in the Chamber this month. This one in particular, chaired by Deputy Sanderson (PL-RS), is dominated by opposition deputies. They say they won’t miss opportunities to confront the government.
Minister says it was to implant a culture of peace
However, despite the negative repercussions within the National Congress, members of the Planalto Palace minimized the effects of Dino’s visit to the Red Command stronghold.
The Ministry of Justice and Public Security reported that Flávio Dino and his team were at the scene accompanied by agents from the Federal Police, the Federal Highway Police, the Military Police and the Civil Police of Rio de Janeiro. In a statement, the Federal Police confirmed that they provided security for Dino at the time.
According to the minister, going to the complex shows the federal government’s commitment to getting closer to the communities and their population. “It is only possible to plan and carry out good and correct actions by listening to the right people. We believe that this is an important element, a kind of road map that will help us to combat violence in Brazil and implant a full culture of peace”, he said.
Dino and Eduardo Bolsonaro clashed on social media
“Flávio Dino, the minister who enters Maré, the most armed favela complex in Rio, with only two cars and without exchanging fire. with organized crime in Rio. This is absurd!”, shot the son of former president Jair Bolsonaro (PL) on social media.
After the repercussions, Dino countered the criticism and stated that the opposition’s questions were a “hate speech against the poorest”. “I learned that representatives of the extreme right reiterated their hatred of places where the poorest live. These people without decorum will not prevent me from hearing the voice of those who need the State most. I am not afraid of the screams of militiamen or militiamen”, countered Dino on social media.
Application can be filed next week
The opposition’s expectation is that the request for Dino to provide clarification will be presented next week at the Chamber’s Public Safety Commission. But, members of the governing base say that the request should not be approved by the collegiate.
“The minister entered one of the most armed and violent communities in Brazil without security and the issues addressed were not issues such as disarmament or re-registration of weapons. The deaths caused by police actions were discussed. For what reason was the death not discussed of police officers?”, questioned Deputy Hélio Lopes (PL-RJ).
Along the same lines, deputy Otoni de Paula (MDB-RJ) stated that Flávio Dino will need to “explain the level of involvement that he, his boss and the PT have with the Comando Vermelho in Rio de Janeiro”. Public is formed, mostly, by members of the opposition.
For Deputy Glauber Braga (PSol-RJ), the opposition movement is an attempt to wear down the government and a prejudiced way of treating community residents.
“It’s funny that deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro, whenever he has the opportunity, tries to criminalize some community in Rio de Janeiro. But the biggest seizure of guns and rifles was made from the runway of his father’s condominium! cocaine was where? On his father’s plane!”, fired the PSol deputy.
Also according to government base leaders, the opposition’s discourse is the same adopted by supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) during last year’s presidential campaign. At the time, the re-election candidate’s allies claimed that the acronym “CPX” (complexo), stamped on a cap worn by then-candidate Lula on a visit to Complexo do Alemão, was linked to organized crime.
After the episode, in October 2022, the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) determined that Twitter remove from the air the posts that relate the then candidate to criminal factions and drug trafficking in Rio de Janeiro. According to the decision, the content was manifestly untrue, as “CPX” is an acronym used by residents and even by official bodies to refer to a group of favelas in Rio de Janeiro.
Deputy says that public agents only enter the area with a lot of police support
A survey carried out by the NGO Redes Maré, between 2018 and 2020, showed, for example, that 63% of residents in the region fear being shot. According to Deputy Carlos Jordy, the entry of authorities into faction-dominated communities must be followed by a preventive security process.
“In an area dominated by crime, when authorities need to go to the scene, the police do all the preventive work and, later, the authority arrives with the necessary security. However, what you see in the videos is something appalling for those who know the level of violence by these criminal factions and the modus operandi”, he highlighted.
What is the historical origin of the suspicion of links between the left and factions?
A good number of critics of the left’s role in public security in Rio de Janeiro attribute the emergence of the first criminal faction, the Falange Vermelha, in the 1970s, to the contact between common criminals and communist guerrillas.
They would have lived with each other while serving detentions in the Cândido Mendes penal colony, on Ilha Grande. On that occasion, common criminals learned organizational and guerrilla techniques from political prisoners who fought the military regime.
The Falange Vermelha then gave rise to the current Comando Vermelho. The group would have strengthened in the 1990s with the decisions of left-wing governments to try to prohibit or hinder actions by force of the Rio de Janeiro police in hills and slums.
CV actions range from drug and arms trafficking to bank robberies, armored cars and kidnappings. The money raised is used to purchase large amounts of drugs and dominates approximately 70% of drug trafficking in the city of Rio de Janeiro.
Even today, the Comando Vermelho is organized in Rio de Janeiro’s prisons, such as Bangu 1, where the main leaders are, and also controls some favela residents’ associations.