The Guardian Angels of Brazil have been active for more than 30 years. They patrol Rio De Janeiro on a regular basis. In that time Henrique and Auta Maia and the Rio Guardian Angels have made hundreds of citizen arrests. As you know Rio is a tourist mecca for those from around the world. Because of that hundreds of bandits, mostly young descend upon the city from the many FAVELAS that surround the city from nearby hill tops. These criminals know the Guardian Angels and Henrique and Auta have known three generations of these organized gangs. They plunge right in when tourists are being surrounded by dozens of these thieves. They risk their lives on every patrol. Having patrolled with them ………..it is without doubt the most dangerous city to patrol for us any where in the world. And yet year after year the police, merchants, tourists and thugs know who they are.
Their busiest time is during MARDI GRAS 2/9- 2/17. They patrol around the clock. Often times they are drawn to the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. There are so many crimes committed there that the police patrol the grounds with sub-machine guns. And still the gangs swarm the tourists and go on the attack like PIRANHA. Time and time again the Rio Guardian Angels rush in to rescue the frightened tourists while detaining the thieves.
Above is one such incident. Henrique and Auta were on their way home when they saw 2 Argentine tourists being robbed. They recognized the young thief having chased him away many times. His nickname is JAMBINHO and he comes from the CANTAGALO shantytown. He was part of a bicycle gang that were robbing tourists. When JAMBINHO saw the Guardian Angels he ordered everyone to take off. But this time Henrique ran him down on his bicycle and slammed him to the ground. The police soon arrived and Henrique threw him into the back of the squad car. He was arrested and charged with robbery. The Rio Guardian Angels had recovered all of the money and possessions that the 2 Argentine tourists had. The Argentine tourist expressed his appreciation and said that we are need in Buenos Aires.
For over 30 years the Rio Guardian Angels have “Dared to Care”. They are at risk every time they put on their colors but they never shrink from their duty. We should all reach out and salute Henrique, Auta and the Rio Guardian Angels.