In One Year, Brazilian Murders Eclipse Total Iraqi War Deaths

This Brazilian murder rate news won’t make the headlines anytime soon:

More than 150 Brazilians were murdered each day last year on average, putting Brazil on a par with some war zones in terms of its homicide rate, the Justice Ministry said on Monday.

Some 55,000 Brazilians died of homicide in 2005 — a few thousand more civilians than in three years of war in Iraq, according to leading estimates.

Brazil, a continent-sized nation of 185 million people starkly divided into rich and poor, has had notoriously high crime rates for years. Millions of poor live in urban slums and unpoliced rural areas where guns are easy to come by.

Though the murder rate is high, Marcelo Durante, coordinator of the Justice Ministry’s report, said homicides have fallen slowly in recent years thanks in part to an initiative to collect guns from the streets.

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