December 15th–I had taken just a few steps down Rua Asa Branca when Bezerra’s familiar voice rang out. The Resident Association’s inimitable president was sitting in a barbershop, his face covered in shaving foam, being spruced up ahead of a landmark event in the community’s history. Over recent months this favela of about three and a half thousand people in Rio’s rapidly developing West Zone had received a range of urban upgrading works. It was the first meaningful act of state intervention since the community was established in 1986 and Mayor Eduardo Paes himself would be coming to inaugurate the works.

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