Sun, sand and working the Favelas in Brazil

Hi Folks its been a long time since I’ve written. Mainly because I’ve been working too much. Recently I started working in South America, specifically in Brazil in a JV with another security consulting company. It is another one of those learning experiences. Having worked in western Colombia, I thought it would be the same feels. But its not. Brazil’s culture is almost entirely different than the rest of LATAM, I think, it’s due to its Portuguese influence.  

 I’ve been working in the Favelas as an embedded “consultant” to the Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora (UPP) and with the Polícia Militar do Estado do RdJ (PMERJ) providing operational mentorship and liaison on geospatial intelligence and using C4ISR to increase force safety as well as to increase combat effectiveness of its battalions.

The favelas occupy a difficult hilly terrain with multiple ingress/egress routes, with structures built upon structures, and strongholds everywhere. we are at a tactical disadvantage as we start from the bottom of the hill; however, we have at our disposal force-multiplying tech that enable us to effectively seek out and close with elements inside these structures. By using GIS, drones, satellites, multi sensor payloads – it makes the intelligence, surveillance and recce more effective. Using these tech to provide the actionable intel helps to develop the tactical operations for pacification enable operators to virtually “walk thru” the favelas.

Having been all up in the favelas, I can say that if I were without protection and without guns, it would not be a place to vacation. So you might be asking, how about the guns. Well, typically its a Taurus 24/7 or PT100, and FAMAE or FAL. My contract specifically says I do not carry. On the ground, things are different…

I do get to enjoy the beaches and downtown once in a while, though my days are long. At night, the beaches empty because the gangs from the favelas come down in droves to rob folks on the beach (easy targets of opportunity).

So what kit do I usually have? in all honesty I go greyman and blend is as much of a local as possible. Police and Soldiers are high value targets to the folks in the favelas, so I’d rather not look like one. Instead I’m usually in a Vertx Coldblack Polo or some Arcteryx shirt and cargo pants. I have a torch, a couple of pointy things, a flip phone, and iphone, two wallets, and a drop gun.


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