The total number of people killed in a single year in Brazil has hit a record, the economically collapsed, South American country saw 63,880 homicides in 2017, according to a Brazilian think-tank, which indicated much of the violent crime is concentrated in the impoverished northeastern states.
New data from the Brazilian Forum of Public Security (BFPS), an independent organization that tracks national crime statistics, said the shocking number of homicides are up 3 percent on the previous year.
BFPS showed that the State of Rio Grande do Norte in northeastern Brazil recorded the highest homicides, with about 68 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. The Acne state in the north came in second with 63 deaths per 100,000 people, followed by the state of Ceara in the northeast with 59.1 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.
On the other hand, the wealthier state of Sao Paulo had the lowest murder rate — 10.7 homicides per 100,000 people.
“It is a devastating scenario,” said Renato Sérgio de Lima, director of the independent forum, who told The Guardian that homicide figures had been increased by antiquated laws, police procedures and the rapid growth in organized crime. Most victims were young, impoverished black men from city areas, he said.
“The numbers show we have a serious problem with lethal violence,” he added.
The terrifying statistics are expected to play a significant role into October’s presidential election, in which violent crime will be a crucial topic for many voters.
A controversial far-right politician, Jair Bolsonaro, formally declared that he was running for president last month. Bolsonaro leads some polls on a platform that includes “loosening gun controls and giving police more license to kill,” said The Guardian.
His surge in popularity has forced opponents, including centrist former governor Geraldo Alckmin, to partner with law enforcement conservatives to strengthen their crime-fighting credentials.
Earlier this year, Brazil’s President Michel Temer enacted an emergency decree authorizing the country’s military to take over policing duties in Rio de Janeiro. The emergency measure, the first of its kind since the mid-1980s, came in response to out of control organized crime in the region.
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To make matters worse, the emerging market rout on Friday, with the Turkish Lira crashing more than 18 percent on the session to a record low, could result in more economic, political, and or social destabilization in Brazil heading into the Fall.
“These factors had been viewed as isolated and local, but they started triggering a wider contagion this morning,” a Rio de Janeiro-based fund manager said. Currencies in Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, and Argentina had all declined at least 1 percent at one point on Friday, which could lead to financial stress, thus social instability.
One veteran EM trader in Brazil exclaimed to us on Friday “this is a fucking bloodbath,” adding that “liquidity has disappeared” and as spooked retail investors pile out of ETFs (that their advisers said were no-brainers), the pressure in real markets is explosive. Emerging Market FX is indeed a bloodbath…
Equities markets in Latin America including Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina were also off over 1 percent. Brazil’s Bovespa index hit a liquidity gap of -2.1 percent after several companies reported disappointing earnings on Thursday, along with a -3 percent slide on Friday thanks to EM contagion via Turkey.
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