The view is magnificent – the favela tumbles down to the blue of Guanabara Bay
was set and inspired the authorities to initiate a large-scale“favela pacification project”to bring law and order to other communities.
About a third of Rio’s six million-people live in slums, but since 2008, more than 30 favelas – with populations equal to about 500,000 – have been pacified. The operation begins with the Elite Squad rolling in with tanks and riot shields on a publicly broadcast date, and driving out or arresting the criminals. When their work is done – with amazingly few shots fired – young, specially trained Pacifying Police Units (UPPs) are assigned as a permanent presence. Public services such as WiFi, sewage systems, fresh water, electricity and cable TV are delivered as part of the“social invasion,”and in some communities, such as Complexo do Alemao, education centers unveiled with free access to computers and training courses.
What effect is it all having? Tour guide Arnaldo Bichucher acknowledges that the project may not be perfect, but it is ultimately an improvement:“There are still drug dealers in the pacified favelas, but they have to hide. Now the idols for the little kids are the Elite Cops.”
So Simple, So Clever
Positioned on the sunkissed shores of the roaring Atlantic Ocean, the second-biggest city in Brazil weaves its way between steep, verdant hills – it is to these that the favelas cling, and from where the poorest Cariocas (locals) enjoy the best views. (They are trumped only by Christ the Redeemer, standing on the summit of Corcovado Mountain.)
The wealthy, on the other hand, live down low in districts such as Flamengo, Leblon and Barra da Tijuca, as well as in the