Rio de Janiero's tourism forecast is looking cloudy as the city is rocked by grisly gang violence that has taken the lives of 20 people in Rio's tourist and business center. Victims of the attacks included seven people burned alive aboard a bus intentionally set afire with gas bombs by gang members. At press time, Gov. Sergio Cabral Filho stated that Brazil's federal government will deploy a national security force of military police to put an end to the violence. The 7,700 member national security force was created in 2004 by Brazil's president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, to quell outbreaks of citizen and prison violence. Rio, as Brazil's major tourist destination, is vital to the country's economic health. Tourism players are concerned about the effect the violence will have on Rio's upcoming Carnival, which reaches its peak Feb. 19–20.
by Mark Rogers