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Cablegate: Rio Radar - January 7, 2010

VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHRI #0012/01 0071734
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 071734Z JAN 10
FM AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0095
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO

UNCLAS RIO DE JANEIRO 000012

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG ASEC HUD OPIC EAIR SOCI BR
SUBJECT: Rio Radar - January 7, 2010

REF: 2009 RIO DE JANEIRO 329

1. (U) Rio Radar is a regular compilation of key economic,
political, commercial, and other developments in the states of Rio
de Janeiro, Bahia, Minas Gerais, Espirito Santo, and Sergipe. This
report's subjects:

NUCLEAR REACTORS REMAIN OPERATIONAL AFTER DEADLY MUDSLIDES

2. (U) Brazil's two nuclear reactors will stay open near the town
of Angra do Reis, Rio de Janeiro state, despite calls from Angra do
Reis' mayor to shut them down after December 31 mudslides killed 75
state-wide and blocked parts of the highways linking Angra do Reis
with Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. According to Angra do Reis
Mayor Tuca Jordao, the town's 150,000 residents would not be able
to evacuate the area due to the blocked highways and the threat of
more mudslides, in the event of an accident involving the reactors.
Leonam Guimaraes, Chief Executive Officer of Eletronuclear, the
state-owned company that operates the plant, told us there were no
plans to cease operations. He stated the mayor's concerns were
misplaced, as Eletronuclear's safeguards were reliable and
thorough. Angra's two nuclear reactors generate approximately
1,900 megawatts of electric energy, comprising slightly less than 3
percent of the national electricity supply.

RIO EXTENDS FAVELA PACIFICATION PROGRAM

3. (U) On December 23, 2009, Rio de Janeiro extended its Favela
Pacification Program (reftel) to two favela communities, Ladeira
dos Tabajaras and Morro dos Cabritos, deploying Military Police
special operations units (BOPE) into the favelas (shantytowns) to
expel drug trafficking elements that held de facto control over the
communities. There were no reports of resistance or arrests. The
operation brings the total number of favelas under the Pacification
Program to nine.

GUNFIRE AND GRENADE IN COPACABANA WOUND FIVE

4. (U) On January 2, 2010, gunfire and a grenade explosion left
four bystanders and one suspected gang member wounded in the
predominantly tourist and residential district of Copacabana.
According to the commander of the Military Police Battalion that
patrols the area, the violence ensued after suspected drug
trafficking gang members returned to the Pav????o-Pav????ozinho
favela in
order to recover a weapons cache there, and were spotted by
military police officers, resulting in an exchange of gunfire and
vehicular chase. (Note: On November 30, 2009, Military Police
entered the favela, expelling the controlling drug trafficking
elements, and, on December 23, some 300 Pacification Police (UPP)
officers began community policing operations in the
Pav????o-Pav????ozinho and Cantagalo favelas. End Note). Police
arrested five suspects and seized several weapons, including a high
caliber machine gun, assault rifles, and Israeli-made pistols.

US AIRWAYS BEGINS SERVING BRAZIL

5. (U) On December 16, 2009, ConGen Rio's Principal Officer and
Commercial Officer joined US Airways in inaugurating a direct Rio
de Janeiro-Charlotte, North Carolina flight, marking the airline's
first route in Latin America. The company has plans to expand to
Sao Paulo and other Brazilian cities through code-sharing
agreements.

OPIC INVESTMENT IN RIO HOUSING PROJECTS?


6. (U) On December 14 and 15, 2009, the Director for Housing and a
Senior Insurance Officer from the Overseas Private Investment
Corporation (OPIC), led a delegation of U.S. investors to Rio de
Janeiro interested in investment opportunities in low and middle
income housing. The delegation, briefed by Principal Officer and
Commercial Officer, attended a seminar at the Construction
Association and held meetings with the Rio State Secretary for
Housing, the Rio de Janeiro Industrial Federation (FIRJAN), the
federal mortgage bank (Caixa Economica), and the Municipal
Secretariats for Finance and Housing.

RIO MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES THREE YEAR GOALS

7. (U) On December 4, 2009, the Rio de Janeiro municipal government
announced the following goals over the next three years:

--Health: Building 20 new Public Health Units (UPAs) and reducing
emergency room wait times by 20 percent, as well as cutting the
infant mortality rate by 11 percent;

--Security: Installing 400 additional video surveillance cameras
around the city;

--Urban infrastructure: Repaving over 300 kilometers of the city's
streets and reducing favela (shantytown) areas by 3.5 percent;

--Transportation: Reducing public transit time by 10 percent and
implementing a special bus pass that will reduce costs for longer
commutes;

--2016 Olympic Games: Completing construction of Olympic Villas;

--Social assistance: Reducing the number of indigent residents by
14 percent;

--Environment: Increasing sewage treatment capacity by 50 percent,
seeking alternative solid waste sites, and increasing the number of
bike lanes;

--Education: Scores of 5.1 and 4.3 by primary and secondary level
students, respectively, on Brazil's Basic Education Development
Index. In 2007, the national average was 4.2 for primary students
and 3.8 for secondary level students;

--Public Finance: Instituting new contracting mechanisms.
HEARNE

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