RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil’s Olympics begin on Friday, and local leaders and Brazilian society are ill-prepared for the threat of a terrorist attack like those in Munich in 1972 and Atlanta in 1996. They lack experience with the issue and don’t have sufficient human and financial resources. In addition, the structure of public security in the country is weak. International cooperation is helping, but Brazil must face the challenge and improve its institutions for the future.
Since July 21, the Federal Police have arrested 12 suspects on charges of attempting to establish connections with the Islamic State. The arrests were carried out under a new antiterror law passed just this year. The suspects, who called themselves “Defenders of the Shariah,” have been ridiculed on social media for lacking military weapons or training, for not even knowing one another, and for using mobile messaging services like WhatsApp and Telegram. But men with similar profiles committed massacres in Nice and Munich.
There is a historical reason that makes it hard even to discuss the issue of terrorism in Brazil. The 1964-85 dictatorship used the word “terrorists” to classify peaceful groups who opposed it. Since then, under the democratic regime, the political leadership has avoided using the word altogether. Fundamentalist groups, such as Al Qaeda or the Islamic State, are far from the reality of Brazilians, who for more than a century have lived with a large Arab community — seven million to 10 million, including the interim president, Michel Temer, a son of Lebanese immigrants — that is prosperous and well integrated.
Moraes canceled the contract, and transferred the responsibility to the Brazilian Force, a military force similar to the United States Nations
Source: New York Times