Since losing its capital status to Brasília in 1960, Rio has been in decline; investment dried up, brains and businesses fled to arch rival São Paulo, and violence became endemic. The number of favelas grew exponentially, and everything from traffic violations to murder seemed to go unpunished.
Since October 2009, when Rio won its bid to hold the Olympics, authorities, spurred on by progressive Mayor Eduardo Paes, have retaken control of several high-profile favelas, sending in battalions of special-operations police to remove the traffickers and then installing a community-based presence called Pacifying Police Units, or UPPs.
But the program has been limited, and the task ahead remains enormous. Out of Rio’s more than 1,000 favelas, 17 UPPs have been set up in 68 different communities and police forces are unprofessional, corrupt and poorly paid.
In addition, many innocent people were shot by the police forces on the initial stage which worsen the already little trust that the people in the favela had in the police.
There has been no real investment and little in the way of public services. On the outside, the favela’s youth frequently are confronted with social exclusion and have limited employment opportunities making them subject of constant recruitment by the drug gangs which seeks younger members to work in frontlines.
Some people wonder what will happen after the Olympics, but the majority of them believe that the spotlight will go somewhere else and the favelas return what they are. | Read More