Drug gangs at war
in Beef, Bible and Bullets
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Chapter 7 looks at the way in which growing fears about violence helped fuel demands for the kind of hardline security policies championed by Bolsonaro. It starts in Fortaleza, in the north-eastern state of Ceara, where poor neighbourhoods have been devastated by fierce gang wars. Organised crime linked to the sale and trans-shipment of cocaine and other illegal narcotics became a growing problem during the 1980s and 1990s, with homicide rates in the cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo among the highest in the world. During the 2000s Brazil was able to improve security significantly in the south of the country, but from 2012 the number of violent deaths started to increase, especially in hitherto relatively peaceful parts of the country such as Fortaleza.

Beef, Bible and Bullets

Brazil in the age of Bolsonaro


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