Ricardo Moura was speaking live with his followers on social networks when suddenly two shots were fired. Moura goes down and screams. The live broadcast continues. A little later the police rush to his aid and take him to hospital with two gunshot wounds. Moura survived the attack. The masked perpetrator escapes. The police are investigating whether it is a politically motivated act. Because Moura is a local politician and is running for a seat in the city parliament of Guarulhos, a suburb of São Paulo with over a million inhabitants. There is no doubt about Moura’s party. A party colleague of the 43-year-old local politician, who is running for the office of mayor, speaks of an assassination attempt.
The attack on the local politician last Monday is a side note in the Brazilian media. If the moment of the act hadn’t been captured on video, no news broadcast would have spent two minutes on it. Scenes like this are too common in the campaign for the Brazilian local elections on Sunday. On Wednesday it hit a mayoral candidate in the coastal town of São Vicente in the state of São Paulo. Your car was shot at several times. Since it was armored, the inmates got away with the horror. Not everyone is so lucky. This year alone, more than eighty candidates and campaign workers were killed in Brazil. There are also almost 200 attempted murders. The innumerable threats are usually not recorded at all.
Many traces lead to the militias
The acts are usually not classified as political. In most cases, they are related to local crime organizing or corruption networks. The victims are usually either politicians who serve or oppose these organizations. This is particularly evident in the state of Rio de Janeiro, where the second most murder of politicians has so far been recorded.
In several cases the traces lead to the so-called militias. These are criminal organizations whose members are or were often police officers. Similar to the drug gangs, the militias control entire neighborhoods, local businesses and also drug trafficking, especially in some suburbs of Rio de Janeiro. The militias were also responsible for the murder of councilor Marielle Franco in 2018. The case that caused a sensation has not been fully resolved to this day. It is no secret that the militias and other criminal organizations have links in local politics and beyond.
Studies show that violence against politicians has increased in recent years. There is often talk of “Mexicanization” – based on the situation in some Mexican states, where organized crime controls local and regional institutions. The phenomenon is not limited to the major Brazilian cities. Organized crime has also found its way into less urban areas of the country or local criminal structures exist. Political clans rule the communities and use their influence to enrich themselves. Those who do not play along are threatened or eliminated.