This message alerts all U.S. citizens visiting or living in the state of Ceara, including its capital, Fortaleza, of ongoing security concerns stemming from a state-wide work-stoppage by the Military Police that began December 31. The Army was immediately called in to provide security during holiday festivities and remains in place. Violence was reported in Fortaleza and Juazeiro do Norte on January 1 and 2 due to "arrastoes" (“swarming” or assaults by large groups of youths); these have occurred on main streets and tourists areas, with one report of a shooting at a supermarket. There are no reports of assaults on U.S. citizens or other foreign tourists. The violence does not appear to be targeted or organized, but rather appears to be the result of criminal elements taking advantage of the strike.
Currently, schools and stores have closed. Public bus service has been temporarily discontinued, but flights are operating normally. The Civil Police are meeting this afternoon to decide whether to join the Military Police in the strike.
The U.S. Consular Agency in Fortaleza is currently closed and will remain closed tomorrow. We will provide updates as the situation changes. We advise all U.S. citizens to remain vigilant of their surroundings and to expect transportation delays.
Please contact the Consular Agency if you need to reschedule an appointment at Tel: (85) 3486-1306 or (85) 3486-1307. For any emergencies, please contact the American Citizen Services unit at the U.S. Consulate in Recife.
Consulate of the United States of America Recife, Brazil