favelas na copa_poucas_palavras

 

A major concern of the Brazilian government on the World Cup and the Olympics are the slums  — or favelas, as it is called in Portuguese.
In almost all major Brazilian cities you can find favelas – it is estimated that about 12 million people live in them —  ie 6 % of the population . They are a cluster of huts , erected with leftovers of general construction in areas of difficult access, as in the hilltops. In Rio de Janeiro, which will host seven games of the World Cup,  including the final, slums are home to about 1.7 million residents. They are set very close to the waterfront and some are already there for decades. Many slum dwellers are seen attending the same beaches used by residents of buildings facing the beaches, inhabited by the wealthier population . This is an eternal conflict of the city.
Is in the favelas where operates large networks of drug trafficking in the city, threatening the comfort of the great number of tourists who usually visit Rio de Janeiro . With the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, is expected a large increase in the flow of tourists and the Brazilian government and the State of Rio de Janeiro is taking steps to reduce this conflict. But with often disastrous results.
One of them is the policy of removal of slums, in which residents are transferred to distant areas of the city center. This was a common practice in the days of the military dictatorship in the 1960s and ’70s, when you could not protest or resist to this practice. Today, however, residents of favelas are already organized enough to even challenge in court this procedure. An example is the community of Vila Autodromo, situated in western Rio de Janeiro, occupying the area where the Olympic Park will be built in Rio: residents challenged the removal in court and the works are interdicted at this moment. The dwellers do not accept the value of the pledged claims and complain that they will be transferred to very remote areas without water supply and electricity.
The other policy is “appeasement ” of Rio’s favelas .36 critical areas were selected and occupied by over 9000 police in order to expel the drug dealers and give assurance of safety to residents . It happened in the communities of Pavão-Pavãozinho and Cantagalo , where live more than 10,000 people and are known as strongholds areas of drug gangs in Rio de Janeiro. The operation was successful in the early months, but now there are already signs that traffickers are turning back, causing some intense clashes with the police. There is a fear that the situation will become more critical and solutions -based strength are not the most suitable. “Criminals believe that now is the time to strike back”, said Alba Zaluar, an anthropologist at the State University of Rio de Janeiro . “With the tension and anger in these communities is easier for the gangs to come back and impose itself through an already tested and proven culture of violence”.
The World Cup has been a good opportunity to reflect on important social solutions to Brazil. But what has already been proved is that the old solutions from old times are not suitable any longer.

Originaly published in West (click here)