Valter Figueiredo lives in the Ladeira dos Tabajaras, a favela which perches on a hill between the two areas of Botafogo and Copacabana. UPP have been in Valter’s community for two years, following a major standoff between two rival factions spilled down onto the “asphalt” (as non-favela parts of the city are affectionately called). This type of warfare spilling down amongst the common civiilians cause da bit of a stir, and attracted international media attention, something Brasil will go to any length to avoid.
Valter said it took residents quite a while to get used to the new powers that be in his community. Lots of new rules and regulations were brought in by the police officers, in what was previously a fairly lawless society. Valter said Tabajaras has always been a peaceful community, despite being under the control of a drug trafficking faction.
He also said that the trafficking continues unabated now that the community police are in place, and that the police are well aware of this fact. The modes of trafficking have changed and trafficker now use more discreet methods to do business. They are unarmed now too, in their wheelings and dealings.
The middle and upper classes who are consistently shocked by the violence and disorder that spills out of the favleas from time to time, need to take their own share of the blame, he siad. It is this subset is society that are comsuming the drugs, that are generating this business within the favela networks. It is them that keep all of the problems alive.