Run for peace in Rio's former drug trafficker bastion

  • SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher

    SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher

    SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher

    As the 156th body was pulled from waters where the South Korean ferry sank a week ago, relatives of the missing are pressing the government to finish the task of recovery soon. But the work is becoming more complicated. (April 23) …

  • Bashtag: NYPD Twitter Campaign Backfires

    Bashtag: NYPD Twitter Campaign Backfires

    Bashtag: NYPD Twitter Campaign Backfires

    The New York Police Department, the nation's largest police force, learned the hard way that there are legions online devoted to short-circuiting even the best-intentioned public relations campaign. (April 23) …

  • May 2014 Business Issue: Trust Me

    May 2014 Business Issue: Trust Me

    May 2014 Business Issue: Trust Me

    From Airbnb to Lyft, the sharing economy is rewiring the way we interact with each other. In the May issue, Executive Editor Jason Tanz delves into the phenomenon of entrusting strangers with our most valuable possessions, personal experiences - and our very lives. Also this month: an inside look at the algorithms and formulas that Twitter and Facebook use to build the perfect feed, the story of a Silicon Valley startup struggling to survive, and the oral history of Mystery Science Theater 3000. …

Nearly 1,500 people Sunday competed in a "Challenge for Peace" run through Rio's Alemao Complex, a cluster of hilltop slums that were a drug trafficker bastion until the military wrested control 18 months ago.

Residents, soldiers, Rio's security secretary Jose Mariano Beltrame and even "ex-narcotraffickers" took part in the five-kilometer (3-mile) race, up the Villa Cruzeiro hills to Morro do Alemao, according to AfroReggae, the cultural group that organized the event.

The runners retraced the escape route used by narcotraffickers during the army assault in November 2010.

"This race lifts the self-esteem of a community that used to live amid a great deal of violence," AfroReggae founder Luiz Fernando, also known as "Teco Rastafari," told AFP.

"It shows that we are capable of organizing such an event in favelas (shantytowns), not just in the southern district (Rio's well-off and tourist area)" said the 57-year-old, who joined the race in steamy 25-degrees Celsius (77-degree Fahrenheit) temperature.

Barefoot or wearing brand sneakers, the runners climbed the narrow mud streets of Villa Cruzeiro as residents cheered them on.

The competitors had to clear a difficult ascent on wet soil then negotiate a nearly vertical drop before reaching Morro de Alemao, which the narcotraffickers used as an execution ground.

"This route marked the history of the military police's Special Operations Battalion. Here there were many firefights with the narcotraffickers. To run today along this path without a weapon is very significant," said 44-year-old sergeant Sergio Dantas. "Before, Vila Cruzeiro was lawless land."

The assault by some 2,700 troops marked a major turning point in the city's decades-long battle against the drug barons who control the area and terrorize its residents, part of an effort to pacify some of the 1,000 hilltop slums, home to more than 1.5 million people -- a third of Rio's population.

Last November, soldiers and police, backed by armored vehicles and helicopters, stormed three other Rio favelas, including famed Rocinha.

The operation widened the security perimeter around Rio's residential and tourist area as Brazil prepares to host the 2014 soccer World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.

"This is a unique union of runners, it is spectacular because here there are also a lot of ignorant people, who know only baile funk (hardcore funk dance parties), who have never been outside the favela because they have no money," said 50-year-old Fernandes.

"Two years ago we witnessed scenes of narcotraffickers fleeing the police, the entire world saw them," said Lucas Margutti, a 34-year-old film director.

"Now we run to bring good energy to these people, because it is not enough to pacify the area, you also have to give them a new life, bring in culture, money. It is an opportunity to bring some hope," he added.

"Rio today shows the whole world that it is possible to change the outlook of some people who do not dream and who expect nothing from life," said Brazilian marathon runner Franck Caldeira, who won the first edition of this race a year ago.

"Today we are striving to ensure that Brazil, in hosting the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, show a positive side, what this marvelous city is really about," he added.

Follow @YahooMalaysia on LINE for daily entertainment updates.

  • "Wireless key finder", penyelamat anda
    Azwa Iela - Tupai
    "Wireless key finder", penyelamat anda 16 hours ago
    "Wireless key finder", penyelamat anda

    Adakah anda merupakan seorang yang pelupa dan selalu kehilangan kunci akibat terlupa di mana anda meletakknya? …

  • Gaya Muslimah berjiwa moden
    Azwa Iela - Tupai
    Gaya Muslimah berjiwa moden Tue, Apr 22, 2014 5:31 PM MYT
    Gaya Muslimah berjiwa moden

    Wanita yang berlitup kini tampil dengan pelbagai fesyen terkini dan gaya yang lebih moden disamping mengekalkan ciri-ciri Muslimah. …

  • Tampil bergaya & santai dengan topi!
    Azwa Iela - Tupai
    Tampil bergaya & santai dengan topi! Tue, Apr 22, 2014 11:33 AM MYT
    Tampil bergaya & santai dengan topi!

    Gabungan pakaian musim panas yang menarik dan pemilihan topi yang sesuai, dapat menyerlahkan seri imej seseorang. …

  • Doctor convicted in Michael Jackson death denied latest appeal
    Doctor convicted in Michael Jackson death denied latest appeal

    The California Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to hear an appeal by Michael Jackson's personal physician, Conrad Murray, who was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the pop star's death. Murray was released from a Los Angeles jail in October after serving two years but wants to clear his name. The cardiologist's attorney, Valerie Wass, said Murray will likely attempt to overturn his conviction in federal court. …

  • Five tips to protect your eyes
    Yahoo Newsroom
    Five tips to protect your eyes Mon, Apr 21, 2014 12:50 PM MYT
    Five tips to protect your eyes

    Just like every other part of your body, your eyes need to be protected too. …

Comments on Yahoo pages are subject to our link to Comments Guidelines. You are responsible for any content that you post. Yahoo is not responsible or liable in any way for comments posted by its users. Yahoo does not in any way endorse or support comments made by its users.