BBC BLOGS - Dan Roan

Archives for November 2010

Brazil prepares to welcome the world, twice

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Dan Roan | 14:51 UK time, Sunday, 28 November 2010

Rio de Janeiro

It was obvious something was wrong when the Governor of Rio de Janeiro made a dash for the exit. Sergio Cabral was a special guest at the opening ceremony of Soccerex, the global business of football convention that had descended upon Rio and was based in a luxury hotel a few yards from the Copacabana.

Surrounded by aides and bodyguards, he had only been seated for a few minutes when suddenly - and without warning - he was swiftly ushered out of the auditorium and away, leaving organisers in disarray, chaos in his wake and our hopes of an interview dashed.

Later, the reason became clear. Rio was gripped by a state of emergency. The authorities' pacification programme across the city's notorious favelas had sparked a wave of retaliatory violence.

For years, gangs have enjoyed sovereignty over these unauthorised, sprawling shanty towns. Now, with the two biggest sporting shows on earth looming into view on the horizon, efforts to gain control of the slums and crack down on the city's no-go areas had intensified. But the drug lords were not going quietly.

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