Nearly one month after Brazil was elected as the host of the Olympic Games of 2016, the former President of Israel Shimon Peres visited the country with a delegation of 40 businessmen. From that visit on, Israeli companies related with weapon manufacturing, homeland security technology and police and military training became more present than ever. This sportive mega event made a serious transformation on urban landscape of Rio de Janeiro, in which Israeli companies are involved .
The demands of the Olympic Committee where an excuse to apply a neoliberal agenda in the city, in which, as usual, the most affected where the poor and marginalized populations. In order to keep the city ‘clean’ and ‘beautiful’ for tourists, those populations should become invisible, and for that, Israeli expertise in segregating, excluding and repressing people was used.
One of the biggest examples are the Pacifiyng Police Units (PPU’s), that where installed in the Favelas since 2008. They are military occupations from both police and the army aiming to dismantle drug dealers and combat crime. By patrolling the area, controlling the population, surveilling the neighborhoods, they are supposed to bring law and order to this communities.
However, the local population feel it in differently. Local researches show that the pacified or occupied favelas don’t show a huge variation in crime or in drug trafficking. Although there are less homicides, cases of police abuses grew. Big changes are felt in relation to Real Estate market, that made local population leave because of the rise of the living expense. Also, traditional events as the Bailes Funks where forbidden, affecting seriously the cultural development of this communities.
For that, BOPE (Special Operation Forces) and other Police forces are training with Israeli former soldier or intelligence agents to learn the tactics used by the IDF in West Bank and apply them in Rio de Janeiro .
Similar exclusion, segregation and occupation that Israel promote in West Bank and Gaza is being applied to Rio de Janeiro and other Brazilian cities for the promotion of a neoliberal agenda. The same expulsion and expropriation that the Palestinian population suffers, today, the Carioca people are suffering as well .
Shajar Goldwaser is an activist in SEDQ, a global Jewish network working for justice in Palestine and against racism around the world