Articles written by Corinne Cath:
“I just want to be happy, walk with tranquility in the favela where I was born. And be proud and have the awareness that a poor person has his place… My dear authorities, I don’t know what to do anymore. With so much violence I am afraid to live. Because I live in the favela I am disrespected. Sadness and joy walk hand-in-hand… While the rich live in a beautiful house, the poor are humiliated and demoralized in the favela… All I ask of the authorities is a bit more competence.”
(Rap da Felicidade by Cidinho)
These lyrics come from a song named ‘Rap More >
“In theory it sounded like one of the most innovative models for including citizens in the democratic decision making process,” one Federal University of Rio doctoral candidate told me. Her research focuses on participatory processes in the favelas pacified under the Pacifying Police Units (UPP). She continued: “But spending a year closely following meetings between residents and the government showed me that it was just that: participatory only in theory.”
Democracies require some degree of public involvement. Citizen participation is a complicated concept, because it is not a well-defined ‘thing’ but rather a scale of different degrees of inclusion of More >
Over the past month I’ve crashed the occasional night on the couch of a friend in Rocinha, as is common among many young foreigners who visit Rio’s favelas not only to research or volunteer, but to socialize. Nothing out of the ordinary, or so it seems. Except, that is, if you ask with whom and where. My friend is foreign and the apartment he is sharing with another ‘gringo’ is part of the PAC housing unit in Rocinha.
As legend goes, once upon a time there were two blocos (carnival street parties) leaving from opposite ends of Ipanema. In their first year they met in the middle and turned around to return to their point of departure. The same happened in their second year. Then in their third year the two blocos met in the middle… but this time somebody screamed ‘Que merda é essa?!’ (What the ****?!) and the two blocos mixed becoming the now famous ‘Que Merda é Essa?’ bloco of Ipanema.
This story, however, is not typical of the birth or nature of most blocos. This year’s More >
‘Please be careful when you open the overhead luggage after landing, and please remember there is still time to give a donation to our youth program in the favelas. Your donation can help a young person get out of a life of misery, drugs and poverty.’ Misery. Drugs. Poverty. The pilot that landed my plane at Galeão International airport had in three words summarized the most commonly heard dogmas about the favela.
The word favela is commonly associated with the word slum, shantytown, squatter community or ghetto. Each of these words carries a negative connotation, slum implies squalor, shantytown suggests precarious More >