Naturally the New Yorker does its best to bury the lead, but there are plenty of clues in this week's cover story "Gangs of Rio" as to why the world's #1 city for "violent international deaths" won the 2016 Olympics.
Since the popular election of Marxist dictator President Luis Inacio Lula de Silva, the magazine grudgingly reports, the once-civil society of Rio has degenerated into something akin to a large South American Superdome, with more violence. While their more enterprising Latin American neighbors nurture healthy export sectors, Brazilians — not unlike so unlike us citizens of the People's Republic of Obameristan — have become net consumers, with "yesterday's" Marxist gangs revealing themselves to be (surprise, surprise!)
…purely criminal organizations: they exist in order to sell narcotics to fellow Brazilians. Unlike the export-based drug cartels in Columbia or Mexico, Rio's bandidos are wholesale importers — of cocaine from Bolivia, Peru and Colombia, and of marijuana from Paraguay.
You mean to tell me socialism is a gateway drug to destitution, depravity and foul smells?
"The percentage of crimes solved here in Rio is ridiculous — ninety percent of homicides go unresolved." Part of the blame went to Brazil's "politically correct culture," [City Councilor Alfredo Sirkis] said. "It's all Scandinavian talk in an Iraqi reality. Rio is completely schizophrenic. Everybody's very p.c. — all this violence is seen as coming from some injustice. At the same time, they'd like the favelas to be atomized, a la Buck Rogers, with a Disintegrator."
(Say it ain't so Fredo!)
So what does one complacent socialist state have over another? A charismatic gang leader named Fernandinho, whose Pure Third Command battles the socialist Red Command in the name of you-know-Who:
Pastor Sidney explained that he had got to know Fernandinho in 2007, when some community leaders came to see him. There had been a series of shootings involving Fernandinho and his rivals — people associated with [rival Marxist gang] Marcelo PQD. "It was like a war zone," Pastor Sidney said. "It was very dangerous, and the community was afraid." He had already been preaching in some of Ilha's toughest neighborhoods, and this had earned him some respect. "I was working among the traficantes. I was going out and praying in the streets. I approach them all the same way, as if they were possessed by demons, and found that they accepted it, because there's something supernatural about it. But I had avoided Fernandinho. I'd heard things about him that I didn't like." Eventually, he said, "Fernandinho came to me himself. He watched me preaching. He saw people falling on the ground. And he asked me for a prayer."
And lo and behold, Fernandinho began curtailing his killing squad, these days sparing the lives of Brazilians who inadvertently wear red nail polish, and dodging the apparatchiks who would have him quashed
Fernadinho got away; the police found a four-and-a-half foot cake decorated with the Twenty-third Psalm, spelled out in icing. They also found an effigy of Marcelo PQD, wearing red panties, hanging from a lamppost.
Maureen Tkacik is a contributor to Beliefnet, a senior editor at Insight magazine and author of the forthcoming memoir The God From Ipanema: Encounters With Christ at Carnevale (Regnery, 2010).