The Party of Crime
was happy when he went to sleep that night.
After all, although it was the first time that Ghana
had made it to the World Cup, they made it as one of the
eight final teams, second place in a group in which everyone
knew from the start that Italy would place first. And Brazil
beat Ghana 3-0 with a fantastic goal by Ronaldo, “the
Phenomenon.” It is a good thing that Nilton was not that
much of a soccer fan; actually, he was not much of a fan of
any sport, because God’s plan for him did not leave him
much time for it. Still,
during the World Cup, a game was not a game; it was a
reunion of Brazilians. And it was always worth rooting for a
goal by Kaká to see the hidden t-shirt he reveals that
praises the Lord.
was a penitentiary agent, and had spent long days taking
care of cells during night shifts. He never cared for being
around the convicted, which was why it was worth the effort
to learn computer science, and get transferred to the CDP (Temporary
Detention Center) computer center in Itapecerica da Serra
did not feel disgust toward the prisoners because God
teaches everyone to love sinners and reject sin. However,
perhaps the strengthening of faith demands even more
distance from the seduction of sin. And sin, judging from
the voices of the sinners, was always waiting in the corners
of the hallways, a request to be favored here, and a promise
rejected favoring sin. He suffered to see how sin spread
within those walls, not just in the thoughts and actions of
those who had been sent to be purged of sin, but among those
who were there to help in their redemption. Nilton dreamed
of the day that the rejection of sin would unite Brazilians
like the national soccer team that brought them together.
And maybe this dream was the cause of his sleepiness during
the games, or maybe he was just tired. After all, these are
hard times for those who do not bend toward the will of sin.
Nilton fell asleep during the game and woke up at the very
moment Adriano made a goal. “I was just tired,” he
now that same tiredness would increase a little bit more,
because Nilton managed to get a side job as a mason’s
assistant. Maybe the pay from this job would be enough to
pay for new shingles for his roof.
this reason, Nilton was happy when he went to sleep that
night. The Lord was his shepherd, the mason’s assistant
job had come at a good time, and Brazil had beaten Ghana.
Brazilian team still had hope. There were no guarantees,
because the game, the special touch, and the team still had
not come together, although the players had been together
for so long, and without a doubt, they were the best.
And to be—or to have—the best always fills us
had his own sources of pride; pride of his family, of having
a job, of being honest. What was not a source of pride was
the tiny 14-inch television that would always break at the
worst moments, the times when we once again would sit down,
united as one people, watching to see if Ronaldo would run a
little bit more, to lose a little more weight. Lose weight
to win the World Cup.
was a penitentiary agent. His job scared him a lot and in a
way, this fear came from his pride in being honest. Eduardo
said “No!” when prisoners ordered him to do things that
were wrong, because he did not want to have to think later
that he was not honest anymore.
refused to be another one of those people who do not have
pride in their lives, who only feel they are better because
they got a little bit more money, without worrying about the
crime that generated it. The money would even be nice,
Eduardo could have been thinking, for it would finally allow
him to have a 29-inch television, like so many of his
coworkers bragged about having. But Eduardo did not have one
of those screens at home; he only had a mirror in which he
could look at himself without shame. Eduardo missed out on
the 29-inch screen, but he gained dignity.
Crime Party did not like Eduardo because he appreciated
having his dignity more than a 29-inch television.
There were people who even said that he must be crazy
to not accept such a good proposal, especially when, as a
bonus, Eduardo would earn the right to stay alive.
But it seemed that Eduardo had doubts about whether
living under the orders of the Crime Party was really living
Crime Party started a war with the prosecutors of crime,
because they lived to prosecute crimes that would, in turn,
promote themselves, and they set a trap for the Crime Party.
The details of this trap were never clarified well,
beyond some authorities saying that it had been criminal.
Eduardo also did not want anything to do with the
prosecutors of crime, because they actually acted as
promoters of crime. “They do their thing, I do mine!” It
didn’t matter that Eduardo had been “a drunk” or “a
wasn’t that Eduardo chose to make martyrs out of the
criminals, and punish crime with more crime. It was simply
that Eduardo had a stubborn pride of not getting involved
with crime, it didn’t matter what side.
just wanted to watch the Brazil soccer game. Therefore,
before it was too late, he took his 14-inch television to be
repaired so he would not have to bother anyone or ask for a
favor when it was time for the game to start, because the
crimes of the Crime Party and of the promoters of crime left
everyone, friends, neighbors, scared. And they could be
afraid to invite Eduardo to watch the game with them because
he did not work for the Crime Party, and he wasn’t
protected by the protectors of crime.
July 1st, the Brazilian national soccer team would play
against France and Eduardo tried to go early, before 10am,
to get his 14-inch television from the repair shop.
The promoters of crime
Brigadeiro was trying to get up from the floor that night in
May. It was very cold, but it was a different cold from all
the others he had felt before.
Brigadeiro did not remember how it had gotten so cold,
so suddenly. He only remembered that they had ordered him
and the others coming out of the bar to stand against the
wall. And afterwards, he was on the ground with this pain
and the cold. Maybe it would have been better to go straight
home, because the war between the Crime Party and the
promoters of crime would eventually take to the streets.
“When will it be,” he had thought, “that men will
learn the necessity of giving peace a chance?”
“Brigadeiro” thought about his mother.
Renato “Brigadeiro” thought about Mother’s Day,
the flowers he had sold, and flowers for his mother.
de Assis Menezes
de Assis Menezes knew that he was dying. The promoters of
crime came down the road and ordered him, the hippie, and
the can collector to stand up against the wall, and shot at
them. They shot whenever they felt like it. And they felt
like it a lot. Now, Maurício was dying, not wanting to die,
asking Francisco from the bar to not let him die, to not let
him become another statistic in the news of the promoters of
crime. He was
dying like Davi “Cabeludo,” dying because he did not
want to be a part of the Crime Party or the promoters of
The waves of crime
May and August of 2006, three crime waves rocked the State
of São Paulo and showed how crime develops because of State
public agents who sometimes act in conjunction with
criminals, extort them and live off of their money, or get
into disputes with criminals about who has the power to
commit crimes, make what is illegal the norm and cast aside
the legal norm.
State agents adopted crime as a method, this became the
method of crime. Between
these and other criminals, the honest public agents and the
unassisted population, particularly in the poor areas of Sao
Paulo, are obliged to move among the violence of both groups.
the eve of, and right after, the final games of the World
Cup in Germany, the violent shock produced 119 “suspects,”
killed by the police, and the circumstances of their deaths
or their possible relation with criminal activities were
never clarified. In
addition, 65 people were assassinated by criminal gangs.
two penitentiary agents Nilton Celestino and Eduardo
Rodrigues, and Maurício de Assis Menezes and Renato
Brigadeiro, inhabitants of Capão Redondo, were killed by
criminal gangs and the police during that time.
Celestino was just arriving at his mason’s assistant job
when he was eliminated by members of the Crime Party who did
not agree with his refusal to help them. Eduardo Rodrigues
was killed when he went to pick up his 14-inch television
that he had taken to be fixed, hoping to watch Brazil play
in the World Cup in Germany.
de Assis Menezes was killed by the police in Capão Redondo,
as he was coming out of the bar where he worked, in front of
the bar next to where Renato Brigadeiro and three other
people were killed.
did not see Brazil lose the World Cup. But with their deaths,
Brazil suffered a much larger defeat than the one it
suffered in Germany.