Recent Violence in Rio Worries Some, But Not Olympic Committee President

rio-olympic-imageSince this past weekend thirty-three people have died in Rio de Janeiro due to drug and gang related violence. Barely two weeks ago the campaign to bring the Olympic Games to Rio portrayed the city as a vibrant, joyful place and highlighted events such as Carnaval and gorgeous vacation spots. With the city unable to mask its darker side from the world, many wonder whether Rio will be able to quell the violence in time for what is sure to be a massive influx of international tourists.

Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said on Thursday that he is sure that Brazil will find a way to ensure the safety of the Olympic Games. “Security arrangements of the Games have always been very strong…we are confident that the Brazilians will find good ways to do that,” Rogge said. With seven years of time to prepare Rogge is sure that Brazil will be able to prepare. The new measures being taken for the FIFA World Cup will also undoubtedly benefit the preparations for the Olympic Games.

Brazil’s president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva offered nearly $60 million in federal money to help the city’s police combat drug gangs. Rio police killed seven suspected drug traffickers on Wednesday, bringing the number of deaths since Saturday to 33. Other casualties include three police officers, killed when their helicopter was shot down, and three residents caught in cross-fire.

The pressure is on local authorities to quell the violence as Rio begins its $14-billion preparations to host the Olympics in 2016, the first time the Games will be held in South America. Rogge is confident that the police force, newly enriched by federal funding, will be successful in the campaign to subdue gang violence in Rio.

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