The speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday praised the pacification program being carried out in “favelas,” the shantytowns de Brazil’s second-largest city, during a visit to one of those neighborhoods.
In Brazil on Monday for the start of his Latin American tour with six House colleagues, John Boehner went first to Vidigal, occupied last November by police and soldiers who expelled the drug traffickers that for decades held the neighborhood in its grip.
The Ohio Republican said that in a situation where social and economic segregation is already established, the program by which the Rio de Janeiro state government has recovered dozens of favelas from organized crime “is a great example of how they can bring everyone into society as a whole.”
The U.S. delegation was accompanied by Rio state security chief, Jose Mariano Beltrame, and by the coordinator of the pacification program in the favelas, Col. Rogerio Seabra.
While in Vidigal, Beltrame told the Boehner delegation details about the pacification program that began in December 2008 and has allowed the installation of almost a score of police bases in territories formerly in the power of the drug trade.
Vidigal, a poor neighbor of rich Rio neighborhoods like Leblon and San Conrado, has been in the hands of police for two months.
The delegation accompanying Boehner includes Reps. Dave Camp, Doc Hastings, John Kline, Dan Boren of Oklahoma, Devin Nunes and Greg Walden.
Tomorrow Boehner will visit Brasilia, where he will meet with Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota, after which he will continue on to Colombia and Mexico.