Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Earth Summit Host Puts Woes on Hold High-Level Security Fails to Curb City's Cachet or White-Knuckle Taxi Rides - a Letter from Rio

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Earth Summit Host Puts Woes on Hold High-Level Security Fails to Curb City's Cachet or White-Knuckle Taxi Rides - a Letter from Rio

Article excerpt

FIRST impressions are always suspect, but it seems Rio de Janeiro has made things unusually attractive for the Earth Summit, now into its second week. And more important, to the diplomats, journalists, and other high-pressure types gathered here from around the world, Rio has also done its best to make most everything work smoothly.

The make-it-work part was in some doubt at first. The day before the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development was to begin, there was a near-riot at the summit site when hundreds of reporters were herded into a long line - to take a number for the real line to get accredited. (Your correspondent was No. 176 and grateful for the relatively low number, which equated to a wait of just 2 1/2 hours.)

But soon the briefing arrangements and telecommunications facilities and bus schedules were sorted out, thanks to a small army of patient young Brazilian facilitators.

Rio is known for its high number of assaults and robberies, but for these few days, at least, security has been usually high. The police have been beefed up with Army troops who seem to be on every corner - young men in fatigues and helmets armed with automatic weapons and watchful eyes. The highway to the summit site is guarded by armored cars, and military helicopters in formation dart up and down the shoreline. Interpol, the international police agency, is here, as are United Nations police.

Meanwhile, battalions of men wearing orange jump suits and equipped with brooms and shovels work day and night keeping trash in the streets to a minimum.

BRAZIL is also known for its thousands of street children, who beg and engage in petty crime to survive. Officials reportedly have used threats and inducements to clear many of them from the streets. Still, a sunrise jogger sees small bodies curled together on the beach and sidewalks, sometimes multiple lumps under a ragged blanket or a newspaper. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.