Favelas in the Spotlight: Transforming the Slums of Rio De Janeiro

By Baena, Victoria | Harvard International Review, Spring 2011 | Go to article overview

Favelas in the Spotlight: Transforming the Slums of Rio De Janeiro


Baena, Victoria, Harvard International Review


In October 2009, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced to the world that Rio de Janeiro would host the 2016 Olympic Games. Cariocas, as Rio's residents are called, were euphoric. Nearly 30,000 gathered on Copacabana Beach to celebrate, and then-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva broke down in tears in Copenhagen, where the deliberations were being held. Yet barely two weeks later, a violent shoot-oat between drug gangs in Rio spiraled out of control, resulting in 14 people killed, eight injured, and a police helicopter shot down. Witnessed by the world in light of the recent Olympics decision, the incident was a sobering reminder of the challenges facing Brazil as it prepares to host not only the Games, but also the 2014 International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) World Cup.

At the heart of these challenges is the endemic violence of the favelas, the slums bordering many Brazilian cities. Rio de Janeiro's unique topography makes its favelas particularly prominent: while the city is located on low-lying ground by the beach, the favelas sprawl above, perched on the hills surrounding the city. Their spectacular views notwithstanding, these favelas reveal that Brazil's rapid economic growth and emergence on the world stage do not tell the whole story. There have been multiple interventions by the government, mostly unsuccessful, to remove or rehabilitate favelas. However, the 2014 and 2016 competitions to be held in Brazil have lent a renewed urgency to these attempts. They are a test for the country as to whether it can ensure security for the thousands that will be pouring in, especially in a city where 6,000 people are killed each year. Indeed, many have questioned the judgment of FIFA and the IOC in choosing a host that continues to suffer from such instability. But beyond assessing Brazil from abroad, these deadlines provide a unique opportunity for Brazilian leaders to finally reverse the cycle of violence and poverty in the favelas, ensuring that their residents share in the economic benefits the rest of Brazil has already begun to reap.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

History of the Hills

The Brazilian government has sought ways to deal with the favelas since their very inception. In Rio de Janeiro, the first residents were fugitive African slaves who established homes on the hills outside the city in settlements called "quilombos." Not until the mid-20th century, however, was there rapid expansion. Urbanization in the 1950s provoked mass migration from the countryside to the cities throughout Brazil by those hoping to take advantage of the economic opportunities urban life provided. Those who moved to Rio de Janeiro, however, chose an inopportune time. The change of Brazil's capital from Rio to Brasilia in 1960 marked a slow but steady decline for the former, as industry and employment options began to dry up.

Unable to find work, and therefore unable to afford housing within the city limits, these new migrants remained in the favelas. Despite their proximity to urban Rio de Janeiro, the city did not extend sanitation, electricity, or other services to the favelas. They soon became associated with extreme poverty and were considered a headache to many citizens and politicians within Rio.

In the 1970s, Brazil's military dictatorship pioneered a favela eradication policy, which forced the displacement of hundreds of thousands of residents. During Carlos Lacerda's administration, many were moved to public housing projects such as Cidade de Deus ("City of God"), later popularized in a wildly popular feature film of the same name. Poor public planning and insufficient investment by the government led to the disintegration of these projects into new favelas.

By the 1980s, worries about eviction and eradication were beginning to give way to violence associated with the burgeoning drug trade. Changing routes of production and consumption meant that Rio de Janeiro found itself as a transit point for cocaine destined for Europe. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Favelas in the Spotlight: Transforming the Slums of Rio De Janeiro
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.