Slideshow: Police Battling the Cartels in Rio’s Mare Favela

Simmering quietly in the background of the upcoming World Cup, Brazil has been attempting to tackle the Cartels in Rio de Jianero’s Favelas (slums). Brazil, and more specifically, the city of Rio are making a big push to keep the city safe, clean, and attractive for the upcoming sporting competitions including the World Cup in 2014 and Summer Olympics in 2016.

Click on the picture to be taken to the slideshow.

Click on the picture to be taken to the slideshow. My comment on this one: “poor shoulder weld.”

Rueters has posted up an excellent slideshow by photographer Ricardo Morales on the police, their weapons, and gear juxtaposed next to seemingly normal life. In fact, the armed and armored police look out of place.

To me, this is rather strange. I have been to Rio three times for business (including once in the last year) and took a moment to experience the favelas. Not once did I feel unsafe. As my client explained to me, the Cartels have a vested interest to keep it calm so as not to give the police a reason to do the sweeps they are doing now for political reasons.

Any readers in Brazil or Rio have different experiences?

Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • Phil Hsueh

    Going through the slideshow it would appear that the guy in the pic posted here isn’t the only with a bad shoulder weld on his rifle, there’s at least one other guy that barely has the bottom of the buttstock touching his shoulder. Seeing that it makes me wonder if it isn’t intentional, something to do with the way they’re trained, maybe Brazilian police doctrine states that you must shoulder your rile really high.

    • John Sjöström

      This is very common indeed. Brazil isn’t the only country that dose this.

      One more thing. If you look at his stance you can allmost see that he is leaning backwards. That is a common sign of bad corestrength which can led to alot of backproblems in the future.

      • ColaBox

        The whole high shoulder weld have any benefits or is it just bad handling?

        • iksnilol

          Maybe it is high due to the armor?

          I have seen other armored troops to that high cheek-weld.

        • 101nomad

          With a .22 cal. rifle you can get away with it. With a battle rifle, something is going to come back and hit you in the nose.

    • LRCampos

      It is because the Imbel FAL 5,56mm issued to Military Police are too long to work well on the incredible confined spaces (not really shown on photos). The only way to make corners at alleys less than 30 inches wide is to put the buttplate over the shoulder. I already saw US Army doing the same thing on MOUT.

  • Tom of Tom

    “Bring the rifle to your face” method – more “target” than “tactical”

  • Nicholas C

    When I worked for the Gordon Parks Foundation, I became well versed in his works. Gordon Parks went to Rio’s Favela in 1961 and gave a face to the poverty. That face was 12 year old Flavio de Silva.

    It was a sad life. Outpouring of reader donations allowed Flavio to come to the states and get treated for his Asthma. He lived a great American life for two years before being deported back to the slums. Flavio’s parents got a house, thanks to LIFE, outside of the ghetto. Flavio and Parks kept in touch but there was little Parks could do other than send a little bit of money. The Poverty kept a hold of Flavio the whole time. A similar story happened with the Fontenelles. Poverty stricken family in Harlem. They got a house, thanks to LIFE, out in Long Island but sadly they brought the ghetto with them and were unable to maintain the new life style.

  • shifty bitwise

    Forget about poor shoulder weld, bad sight picture and back problems. The whole thing seems….well….bull-shitty and goofy.

    Not so much a tactical situation but more like a photo op to show “they got this” in front of the world cup snooze-a-thon.

  • JustAnotherGuy

    As a Brazilian, I can say these are just for show, and they aren’t engaging anything. Even living in another estate of the country, we see actual footage of firefights on TV now and then, and they look nothing like it. It’s easy to tell looking the relaxed bystanders, just carrying on with their normal lives.

  • Mike N.

    Interesting that most of the rifles seem to be IMBEL IA2s or other FAL-derived designs which seem to be popular in Brazil, except for the guy in photo 14, who has what is clearly a short barreled AR patterned rifle, complete with carry handle. I wonder what the story is with that.

    • SP mclaughlin

      Those are Imbel Md. 97 55.6 FAL’s (not FNC based). IA2 aren’t gonna be around outside of their military anytime soon.

  • Graham 1

    Man, they really like their magwell holds

  • Daron

    It looks like George ZImmerman has been busy in Brazil.

    • Eric S

      I’m glad I wasn’t the only one that thought that..

    • MrNebrot

      HA, my first thought too

  • Guest

    Not enough tactical Madsen.

  • Raven

    Not enough Madsen.

    • 101nomad

      I like the dog.

  • Cymond

    I also have trouble believing these are real. Those civilians are just too comfortable.

  • LRCampos

    On this particular case, there was no confrontation as the Govt. is telling to the news that they will do these police operations. Instead of surprise drug dealers and gang members, they prefer to tell them to leave the area… just politics.
    But, on others slums, specially at the West area, near the Olimpic park (that is being building for the 2016 Olimpic Games) it is a very diferent story, with everyday shootings…

  • gunslinger

    needs more selfies

  • Eric

    I lived in Brazil for a couple of years, 6 months in Rio de Janeiro, and went in and out of a few favelas. I too did not feel unsafe, however, I did encounter drug dealers in the favelas armed with guns. They never bothered us. Outside of the favelas I did witness a police shootout with the cartels and would hear gunshots on a regular basis during the six months in Rio. The police there are no joke. I saw them set up several traffic stops heading into the favelas. They would stand in the middle of the street guns drawn. It’s different than thes US that’s fir sure.

  • DougE

    I was surprised to see so many FNCs in use, very cool. Glad to see all the women and children having a good time despite the clear and present danger.

  • 101nomad

    We worked in T-shirts (OD) a lot of the time. Never had body armor to deal with. Being able to move fast was top priority. Never held a shoulder firearm like that.