The shootings in Brazil just keep on going

A few days ago, a Brazilian friend told me São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are shooting galleries.

Then he showed me this article by Shasta Darlington

Brazil has beat its own macabre record for homicides: 63,880 people were murdered across the country in 2017, up 3 percent from the year before, according to a new study.

That's 175 deaths per day.

Data from the Brazilian Forum of Public Security, a research organization, shows the murder rate in the country was 30.8 per 100,000 people, up from 29.9 in 2016.

For the sake of comparison, the United States had five homicides per 100,000 people in 2015 – the most recent year for which data are available – down from eight per 100,000 in 1996.

Even Mexico, which is also suffering from a soaring murder rate, had less homicides per capita with 25 per 100,000 last year.

It's pretty remarkable, to say the least.

The shootings are gang-related, or sort of like what we are seeing in Chicago.

Down in Brazil, we are seeing some of the most brutal territorial disputes in the world.  It is a fight over the routes in a country with very porous borders and surrounded by the three biggest cocaine-producers: Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia.

To make matters worse, Brazil is a major consumer of cocaine and crack and has become a hub for stuff headed to Europe and Asia.

My Brazilian friend felt hopeless about the near future.  He does not think that the government can beat the cartels, as long as consumers at home and abroad are willing to buy the drugs.

So what's ahead for Brazil?  My friend told me that he is very happy that he, and family, are not living there any longer.

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