Sunday, November 28, 2010

STREET WAR IN RIO DE JANEIRO




This is off the usual meander presented in this blog but it is unquestionably the hottest story going on in Brazil. I am told by my Brazilian informants who are much more knowledgeable than I am that the above report from Al Jazeera is excellent, quite a step above the normal sensational media coverage.

My take is that the government is taking advantage of a short window of opportunity when out-going President Lula is immune to criticism and before any possible civilian tragedies from military intervention can be pinned on in-coming President Dilma. Now is the time for the government to re-establish control. Of course, it's a gamble and the outcome is uncertain.

Personally, I see the solution to the drug wars coming only with decriminalization. Put simply, the drug war will end only with an end to the war on drugs. Poverty cannot be blamed as the middle class is tremendously afflicted with addictions and they provide the consumer market.

But decriminalization only addresses the drug crime issue which is a manifestation of prohibition's dark side. As long as poverty exists other dysfunctional "opportunity structures" will emerge along with their peculiar forms of exploitation and abuse. Understanding this larger context is what makes the Al Jazeera report excellent.


No comments: