Rio's Governor Proposes Closing Access to Favelas to Combat Cargo Theft

The program also might include helicopters and high speed bikes, governor said

Rio de Janeiro

Wilson Witzel, governor of Rio de Janeiro, announced on Wednesday (16) a plan to close access to communities to combat cargo theft.

The initiative, scheduled for early 2020, would be a part of the Present Security project and would act on "road corridors and access roads where cargo theft enters communities," Witzel said.

Rio de Janeiro's Governor Wilson Witzel. (Photo by MAURO PIMENTEL / AFP) - AFP

"It will practically eliminate theft and greatly reduce the money that finances arms and drug trafficking in our state," he continued.

The governor, who was elected with the help of Bolsonaro rhetoric and today has a veiled dispute with President Jair Bolsonaro for the 2022 election, did not elaborate the plan. He said that "there will be no invasion of any citizen's freedom to come and go" who resides in these places.

"It's the community that has to talk to us and say, oh, we want control," he told reporters as he left another appointment on the same day.

That would be a "crucial" step, according to Witzel, who compared the hypothesis with the inspection done in private condominiums "and a lot of places."

The governor also said the program could rely on helicopters and high-speed motorcycles to reduce cargo theft, which, according to him, amounts to R$ 5 billion annually.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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