Tag Archives: Favela

Cliff-top view of South America’s largest favela Rocinha from “Dois Irmaos” in Rio de Janeiro

Here’s a video looking over the edge down into Brazil and South America’s largest favela, Rocinha, from the “Dois Irmaos” mountain 500 metres above, in Rio de Janeiro.

It zooms right into the favela and across to the luxury beaches and apartments by the ocean, and then back out towards the mountains further along the Rio de Janeiro coastline.

The Rocinha favela is considered “pacified” by the police, and it’s true tourists can walk along the main road without fear of robbery. However, further into the favela the drug-trafficking regimes still rule the area, and crime is still ongoing for most of its 800,000 residents. As proof, I heard the sound of automatic gunfire echoing through the valley one morning as I hiked the Dois Irmaos mountain alone.

Access to the Dois Irmaos trail is through the Vidigal favela, itself a pretty difficult hike through steep, twisting favela streets. The neighbourhood’s really interesting, though, and there’s an Acai shop along the way.

The view from Dois Irmaos is better than the views from either Christ the Redeemer or Sugarloaf mountain, both of which you can see from Dois Irmaos.


In Brazilian novellas, Brazil is an all-white country with a couple of happy-to-be-poor black people

Brazil’s Globo TV company is producing a new novella called “Sexo e as negas (“Sex and denials“), about a group of four black women living in a lower-class neighbourhood in the Zona Norte of Rio de Janeiro, loosely based on Sex and the City.

Instead, however, of it being about four white women working prominent jobs in Manhattan, the wealthiest neighbourhood in the wealthiest country on earth, the four black characters are poor (but glamorous), and work as a cleaner, a seamstress, a manual labourer and a cook.

sexo-e-as-negras like sex and the city, but with black girls in Rio

(Also don’t search that title on Google, or you’ll come up with a lot of naughty pictures).

Despite Brazil having a huge share of black people in prominent and senior positions (including a potential future black female president in Marina Silva), Globo’s novellas on TV prefer to cast black people in poor, subservient roles where they are the comic foil or lackey. Black men and women are cleaners, manual labourers or shop assistants in the world of Globo scriptwriters.

That’s if black people feature at all in the novellas.  Despite Brazil being the second most-populous country in the world for black people (over fifty-per-cent of Brazilians identify themselves as black), novellas are predominantly dramas based in a Brazil where only white people exist.

In the latest smash-hit novella from Globo, Meu Pedacinho de Chão, here is the main cast (which you’ll notice doesn’t feature any black characters at all):

Meu pedacinho de chao, the rest of the predominantly-white cast


And here’s the black character:

Meu pedacinho de chao's diapo, the one black character is a clown...

And here’s the female lead protagonist, just because:

Meu pedacinho de Chao seio hot Brazilian novella girl with huge breasts on TV

The cast is whiter than milk, which obviously doesn’t represent the real Brazil. In fact, the characters are so white it only represents the small contingent of European descendant Brazilians that live in southern Brazil and still have blue eyes and blonde hair. They’re a tiny percentage of Brazil’s population (think Gisele), but they receive the most amount of attention on TV, are considered the most glamorous and hold the most senior positions.

The majority of Brazilians are a mix of caramel, coffee and chocolate skin colours.  Most of them aren’t that poor; they hold down jobs and buy cars and drink beers and speak other languages and have dreams.  but Globo doesn’t want to portray that side, which is pretty sinister and cruel when you think of the insane popularity these shows have in Brazil and what that would do to a person’s psyche.

For Globo, it’s everyone in their place, forever, and for black people, that means staying poor and pathetic.


The 2014 Brazil World Cup’s unofficial music anthem? Featuring Neymar, Emicida and MC Guime

This video has it all; the best Brazilian footballer in the world right now, a superstar favela singer and one of the most socially-conscious and intelligent rappers to ever come out of Brazil. The song’s about following your dreams and ignoring the detractors, especially in Brazil, where escaping a favela requires an enormous amount of dedication, hard work and luck.

You’re going to hear this song featuring Neymar, MC Guime and Emicida everywhere during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Enjoy it.

Protests after 72-year-old woman shot dead in Rio favela Alemão

A 72-year-old woman was shot dead during a gun-battle between police and drug-traffickers last night in Favela Nova Brasília, part of the Complexo do Alemão in Rio de Janeiro, sparking a protest amongst residents that ran through the night. Three cars were set alight near the main coordination center of the city’s Police Pacification Units, permanent police stations set up in the middle of “pacified” favelas. 

Both Maré and the Complexo do Alemão complexes are located close to the city’s main international airport and major central thoroughfares and public transport transit links, infrastructure critical to the World Cup.

The Maré favela was occupied by federal troops at the beginning of April in a bid to quell violence in the strategically-located shantytown ahead of the soccer tournament

According to police, a group of officers were patrolling at 18h30 when drug-traffickers shot at them. They returned fire and the elderly Arlinda Bezerra de Assis was shot during the exchange.

The Complexo do Alemão is one of the recently “pacified” favelas (“Pacificação”) in anticipation for the 2014  World Cup.

On the same day police arrested a man suspected of killing a police-officer earlier in the year. 21-year-old Ramires Roberto da Silva was found in an abandoned house in Alemão, and he reportedly tried to bribe the police with R$100,000 (about US$45,000 or £25k) if they let him go. 

21-year-old Ramires Roberto da Silva was found in an abandoned house in Alemão, tried to bribe police with R$100,000
21-year-old Ramires Roberto da Silva was found in an abandoned house in Alemão, tried to bribe police with R$100,000

Rio de Janeiro’s favela drug-dealer extermination squad “BOPE” has its own Twitter feed…

BOPE, Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais, (lit: Special Police Operations Battalion) is a special forces unit of the Military Police of Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. Its tactics were made well-known in cinemas worldwide with the smash-hit Tropa de Elite and its sequel.

And BOPE has a crazy Twitter feed featuring pictures of all of the guns, drugs and money it’s confiscated from the favelas.

Guns, bullets, binoculars and grenades

BOPE seized an AK47, 5 grenades, 647 AK47 rounds, 133 rounds of .40 ammunition and $R31,920 (about US$20,000)
BOPE seized an AK47, five grenades, 647 AK47 rounds, 133 rounds of .40 ammunition and $R31,920 (about US$20,000).

BOPEThe official BOPE badge is a skull with a dagger stabbed through it and two guns behind its head.

BOPE’s former police leader is awaiting trial accused of the torture and murder of a street-protester, whose body has never been found and has been presumed dumped in the jungle. Confidence in BOPE is at a low.

Cocaine, radio transmitters and ammo
Cocaine, radio transmitters and ammo

The current police leader, Commissioner Sa, said today it’s getting a handle on crime, even though murders are rising in Rio de Janeiro.

Weed, cocaine, guns and ammo

He said: “A logo do bope pode parecer com o que usam os grupos de extermínio, mas isso é coincidencia.” (“The BOPE logo might look similar to one used by a death squad, but this is a coincidence.”)

"BOPE just apprehended two men with drugs."
“BOPE just apprehended two men with drugs.”

He continued: “The BOPE is a special, tactical squad, like a SWAT team, prepared for the most dangerous situations. The image is meant to signify they may have to face the possibility of their own death and overcome that, not to celebrate killing.”

Five blocks of weed and two gallons of ether.
Five blocks of weed and two gallons of ether.
400 pounds of weed, five pounds of base paste and 3,358 bags of cocaine.
400 pounds of weed, five pounds of base paste and 3,358 bags of cocaine.
Bags of AK47 rounds
Bags of AK47 rounds

180,000 Brazilians agree the 2014 World Cup is a disaster for Brazil

A Brazilian super-blogger called Cauê Moura has produced a video (“FODE-SE A COPA” = F**K THE WORLD CUP) explaining why he’s hoping the 2014 Brazilian World Cup will be a disaster. The video has 180,000 “likes” and has been watched 750,000 times. 

He’s talking in Portuguese so I’ve written out his main arguments against the World Cup. It’s worth a read if you’re sitting at home in Europe wondering what Brazilians really think of the World Cup coming to Brazil.

Moura explains that in the 80s Brazil tried to host the World Cup under the last dictatorship of General Figueiredo. Its request was denied because it didn’t have the necessary structure in place. Fast-forward to 2014 and the authorities presumably believe Brazil now has the structure in place. Moura sarcastically notes how everyone in Brazil now has access to a good education and health services.

Moura says Brazilians were told most of the money was supposed to come from private companies, and not the public purse. Instead, tens of billions of dollars have been spent out of tax revenue for what is a private competition benefiting private businesses and foreign sponsors. That money could have been spent on schools and hospitals, but the Brazilian government doesn’t care about that.

Moura says the police are going to attack anyone that tries to protest this wasteful spending with tear-gas and rubber bullets.

Moura says gringoes (foreigners) think they are going to come to Brazil and enjoy themselves with a Morena (dark-haired girl) at the bars. He says foreigners will see the violence and the country’s problems and when they go home they will tell everyone that Brazil is a living Hell (Inferno).

Moura says FIFA and the Brazilian government are trying to paint a very different image of Brazil, a more positive one in which building the most expensive stadium in the world is justified. And they’re paying German advertising companies to do it. They’re not even paying Brazilian companies to advertise how good Brazil is.

Moura says this is the worst crime in Brazil’s history. FIFA – a private company – is ordering the Brazilian government around and forcing in tougher laws to get its way. Moura mentions tougher laws introduced with FIFA’s demands to evict favela tenants by force from the homes they have lived in for more than 20 years.  Moura says the lives of those in the favelas will not improve. They will be forced out because the World Cup will make the land they live on more valuable in the future.

Moura says the government argument is that the 2014 World Cup won’t make life better immediately, but in the long-term future. Moura argues against this by citing the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, in which nothing changed for the poor people of the country, despite billions being spent out of the public purse.

Moura says millions are still being spent by South African taxpayers to maintain stadiums that will never be profitable again. Just like the new stadium in the Brazilian city of Manaus, ten hours away by plane from Rio de Janeiro and completely landlocked by jungle. Moura mentions that Brazilian workers have been killed on World Cup projects due to poor organisation.

Moura says he won’t be supporting Brazil because he doesn’t want to be complicit in corruption. He says if Brazilians want to volunteer for a private company (FIFA is asking for in-country volunteers to help out during matches) which profits in seconds more than the average Brazilian will ever make in their lifetime, go ahead. But people should be rebelling against it, if they have any sense.

Moura also says the environmental impact of the World Cup completely negates any progress made in cutting carbon emissions with the Kyoto Agreement.

The video only has 3,000 “dislikes”, so make your own mind up on whether the majority of Brazilians agree with Moura or not.