With municipal elections coming up in 2012, one of the people to watch is Rio de Janeiro state Congressman Marcelo Freixo, who is running for mayor of Rio. Though he faces an uphill battle at the polls--a recent Ibope survey found that incumbent Eduardo Paes leads with 36 percent, and Freixo is behind with only 7 percent--he's become a national player because of his outspoken stance on security issues and his fame as a fictionalized character in the Tropa de Elite movies. He also was in the headlines last month when he fled Brazil after an increase in death threats. He says that unlike the press reported, he hadn't previously planned to give speeches with Amnesty International, and that it was in fact an emergency trip for security.
Freixo, who worked as a teacher and a human rights advocate in Rio prisons, has tirelessly worked to fight the city's militias. He's also in favor of gun control and of changing drug policy. He believes that security problems in Rio involving militias and drug traffickers are a national problem that require more political will to effectively tackle. But he may have trouble getting votes for mayor: in recent interviews, he acknowledged that he's at a disadvantage in terms of campaign financing, and may have a hard time pulling ahead of Paes. Even if he's not elected, he's likely to remain an important political figure in Rio, especially in terms of security and combatting corruption.
Revista Trip recently published an excellent interview with Freixo, which you can read here. In it, he describes his theory of the "auctioned state" in Rio, in which the government selectively decides where it will provide services and security. He also discusses his long battle with the militias and their influence in Rio.
Rede TV also aired an interesting interview with him, which you can watch below.
Watch the rest of the interview here.