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RioOnWatch Monthly Digest
Latest News & Opinion on Rio de Janeiro's Communities

October 2013
Volume III Issue 10
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What's New:

Welcome to our October 2013 Digest, providing the latest news from Rio Olympics Neighborhood Watch (RioOnWatch), a project of Catalytic Communities (CatComm). RioOnWatch monitors and covers favela perspectives on the forces shaping Rio de Janeiro in the lead-up to the 2016 Olympic Games. This monthly digest compiles, in one place, the latest news and opinion on Rio's favelas, through community perspectives (below) and broader news sources (to the right).

On RioOnWatch this month there's been a focus on community organizing, celebrating community-led initiatives or resistance such as the essential work of Maré neighborhood associations, Vila Laboriaux building momentum to achieve goals, mobilization in Caju, care for seniors in City of God and evictions resistance in Estradinha

There are essential updates on Vila Autódromo as the community organized and then met with the Mayor this month, followed by indications that the Mayor's office forged a resident protest calling for relocation. 

On October 16, RioOnWatch participated in Blog Action Day, a global conversation, this year on the theme of human rights, with four posts: on favela residents protesting for education; children's rights reflected on in Complexo do Alemão; community photographers observing the police occupation in Rio's most recent "pacified" favela, Lins; and a look at the Right to the city

Finally don't miss community leaders' perspectives on the Bolsa Família cash transfer program which is 10 years old this month, and an incisive analysis of the "Area of Risk" justification for favela removals. We hope you enjoy and share!

Latest From RioOnWatch

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City Hall Forges Resident Protest to Remove Vila Autódromo

October 31, 2013; Comitê Popular | A protest of about 20 people on the doorstep of Rio's City Hall on Wednesday showed that the city government knows no limits in its attempt to legitimize the removal of residents from Vila Autódromo. The few present said they represented 150 families that wanted to leave the community, however that same night yet another community assembly was held with residents who continue to fight against removal.  

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Elderly Care and Recognition at Casa de Santa Ana in City of God

October 30, 2013; Courtney Allen Crumpler | An innovative, citizen-led project, the Casa de Santa Ana supports the health and well-being of the elderly of City of God, in Rio de Janeiro's West Zone. Its founder and coordinator, Maria de Lourdes Braz, began putting her expansive vision of care for the elderly into practice in 1991, a decade before the Statute of the Elderly was adopted. 

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The "Area of Risk" Justification for Favela Removals: The Case of Santa Marta

October 29, 2013; Charles Heck | In the latest 2013-2016 Strategic Plan of the City announced during his campaign for reelection, Mayor Eduardo Paes called for both a 5% reduction of favelas and the elimination of residences in environmentally protected and risk areas. The agenda disproportionately affects favelas. 

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Community Leaders Reflect on a Decade of Bolsa Família

October 25, 2013; Annie Austin | Bolsa Família provides a direct income transfer, on a conditional basis, stimulating an immediate alleviation of poverty; while other conditions, like the stipulation that children must be enrolled in school and cannot miss more than 15% of classes, fight long-term poverty. Speaking with community leaders from three very different favelas across Rio, the overall reaction to the program is extremely positive. Yet community leaders are critical of its potential in alleviating long-term poverty. 

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What is the Role of a Neighborhood Association?

October 21, 2013; Sílvia Noronha | Generally neighborhood associations have the responsibility of fighting for residents' interests, lobbying the government so the community can enjoy their rights to health, urban infrastructure, leisure, education, etc. However here in Maré, the role of the associations goes above and beyond: they must also act as if they were a sub-division of the government. In other words, they get their hands dirty. 

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Favela Residents Join Teachers Day Protest

October 17, 2013; Courtney Allen Crumpler & Kate Steiker-Ginzberg | On Tuesday October 15, an estimated 20,000 people took to the streets in solidarity with teachers on strike and demanding improved education in Brazil. Present were representatives from favelas and community organizations across Rio, mobilizing in unity with teachers and bringing attention to their own struggles. We spoke to favela residents, activists and teachers in attendence asking them why they took part. 

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Children's Day Is Also a Day of Struggle

October 16, 2013; Thamyra Thamera de Araújo | According the UNICEF, Brazil has close to 60 million children of which almost half live in poverty. Poorer families have less access to education, do not have enough money to feed their children and live in houses without running water and sewer systems. The children of these families have greater chance of becoming sick, of doing poorly in school, of being abandoned, or of not receiving the proper protection they should have. And how do the children of Rio's favelas live?

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Community Photographers Observe the Pacification Operation in Lins

October 16, 2013; Luiz Baltar, Naldinho Lourenço, Ratão Diniz & Vitor Madeira | Residents of the formal neighborhood are thrilled with the disappearance of crack addicts from the region and wait at the doors and windows for the BOPE and Marine's armored tanks. But going up the steep steps to the top of the community, we notice the atmosphere there is different. For the 40,000 residents of 13 favelas, the military occupation underway will profoundly alter their daily lives, the right to come and go, and even leisure.

What Is the Right to the City?

October 16, 2013; Patrick Isensee | According the social theorist David Harvey: "The Right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city. It is, moreover, a common rather than an individual right since this transformation depends on the collective power to reshape the processes of urbanization." 


Vila Laboriaeux Builds Momentum to Achieve Goals

October 28, 2013; Andrew Lindsay | On Sunday October 6, members of Vila Laboriaeux joined together in a day-long celebration of the community's vitality and to look to the future. Perched at the top of Rocinha, Vila Laboriaeux has been fighting eviction threats from the government for over three years. Community members have been working tirelessly to resist removal and recently succeeded in August as Mayor Eduardo Paes announced the City would begin investing in infrastructure, instead of removal. 

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Rocinha & Alemão Plan to Sue the State Over Cable Car

October 14, 2013; Cláudia Freitas | The cable car joining the favelas of Complexo do Alemão was designated as the 'flagship' for improvements promised by the state government as part of the Growth Acceleration Program (PAC) and received R$210 million in investment. Two years after its inauguration on July 7, 2011, the Alemão cable car is the target of criticism by residents who say it does not meet the basic needs of mobility, social integration and improving quality of life as suggested in the original project. The unsuccessful experience is serving as an example to Rocinha, destined to have the third cable car in Rio. 

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Favela Não Se Cala Mobilizes Residents in Complexo do Caju

October 11, 2013; Courtney Allen Crumpler & Kate Steiker-Ginzberg | Residents of Caju, which is located at the northern edge of Rio's Port Region, fear that their community is becoming the industrial dumping ground the City's port revitalization project Porto Maravilha. Caju is already a victim of exclusionary urban planning strategies and historically low investment in public services such as healthcare and education. The burden from the port revitalization comes from environmental damage from industrial development and a rise in traffic as well as planned evictions. 


Vila Autódromo Meets the Mayor [IMAGES]

October 10, 2013; RioOnWatch writers | The bulk of residents invited were the subset interested in being rehoused and leaving the community, leading to significant questions about the Mayor's tactics following eight weeks of negotiations with the Neighborhood Association and planners meant to secure the community's permanence. Inside, the Mayor promised them a mix-and-match offer of apartments in the new Parque Carioca public housing complex and market rate compensation for their homes, though details on what this means were not provides. 

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Estradinha: "As long as one house is at risk of removal, the entire community is at risk"

October 8, 2013; Courtney Allen Crumpler | In 2010 the City government demolished 250 of the community's 350 homes, leaving 100 families who have been resisting eviction ever since on the grounds that there is neither a technical or legal basis for eviction. Rubble from the demolished houses has been left in the community, causing a host of problems especially in health and security. 

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Vila Autódromo Steadfast Against Removals in Mayoral Negotiations

October 4, 2013; Catherine Osborn | The mayor promised Vila Autódromo's permanence on August 9. Since then, however, representatives have been meeting with a commission of residents, local university planners and State public defenders, and showing them plans for construction to give transportation access to the adjacent Olympic park that, if completed, would remove almost half the community. 

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"The Governor pacified Rocinha just as in Germany, the only thing missing was a gas chamber."

October 3, 2013; Davison Coutinho | We cannot take any more oppression, we need freedom. We are human beings, we deserve respect. Enough of the farse, let's be realistic. Let's stop concealing the obvious, because it's not through fear that we'll reach a better place. We must remember that transformation and change are priorities over confrontations, arrests and deaths. Change will only happen through education. 

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Public Hearing Against Evictions and Removals

October 2, 2013; Artur Voltolini | The Manoel Congo Occupation was the stage on Friday September 27 for the "Public Hearing: Evictions for Large Projects in the City of Rio de Janeiro." Originally planned by City Councillor Renato Cince (PSOL), the hearing was cancelled by Council President Jorge Felippe (PMDB) only 30 minutes before it was due to start. Since there was a large presence of representatives of Rio communities affected by eviction who had traveled far and missed day's work for the hearing, organizers identified a new location for the hearing.  

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Culture in Rio: In a Land Far Away

October 1, 2013; Artur Voltolini | The city of Rio de Janeiro today has 499 cultural facilities. Only 11.5% of these are in the West Zone, which is currently home to nearly half of Rio's population. The ungoverned expansion of the area, highly criticized by architects and urban planners, led a large part of the population to occupy spaces lacking adequate infrastructure, such as basic sanitation and transport systems. 

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In the Media:
*CatComm quoted or supported

RioReal Blog November 1 | International conference affords a rich exchange by Julia Michaels

The Guardian October 31 | Bidder beware: to host the Olympics comes at a considerable cost by Jules Boykoff

BBC News October 30 | Not taken for granted: Brazil celebrates Bolsa Família by Wyre Davies

San Francisco Foghorn October 30 | Mega Events Creating Mega Problems by Bryce Chiodo

Newsweek October 30 | Brazil's Scariest Slums Are A Must-See For Tourists by Karla Zabludovsky

Folha de São Paulo October 28 | Rio - It's a jungle out there by Dom Phillips

RioReal Blog October 28 | Where is Morar Carioca? by Julia Michaels

Bloomberg October 28 | Rio Police Jettison Body Armor in Makeover Before World Cup by David Biller and Tariq Panja

NY Times October 25 | Rio Police Officer Is Indicted for Torture While Lecturing on 'Smart Policing' in New York by Robert Mackey, Sergio Peçanha and Taylor Barnes

Geostadia October 23 | Forests and Trees by Christopher Gaffney

The Age October 22 | Trouble in Rio by Andrew Purcell

Brown Political Review October 22 | One Rio, Two Brazils by Joaquim Pedro Moreira Salles

RioReal Blog October 22 | Beltrame's last lap by Julia Michaels

Culinary Backstreets October 21 | Bistrô Estação R&R: Drink and Thrive by Taylor Barnes

Dissent Magazine Fall 2013 | Spiking in the Favelas: Violence and Volleyball in Rio by Bryan McCann 

The Guardian October 18 | Beyond Malala: Six teenagers changing the world by Jonathan Watts

Charlotte Observer October 17 | Intolerance rises in Brazil by Janet Tappin-Coelho

AFP October 16 | Delivering mail is detective work in Brazil slum by Claire de Oliveira Neto

Channel 4 News October 15 | Inside Rio's drug gangs as they prepare drugs for World Cup by Guillermo Galdos

InfoSur Hoy October 17 | Rio's sustainable favela by Flávia Ribeira

Global Post October 15 | Teenage rebellion, on a Brazilian budget by Will Carless

Gizmodo October 11 | Make Way for the Olympics: the Paramilitary Clearance of Rio's Slums by Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan

The Bay State Banner October 10 | The view from Mangueira: a snapshot of Brazil's favelas by Brian White O'Connor

Rio Times October 8 | Rocinha Residents to Sue State Over PAC by Matthew Elliott

The Guardian October 7 | World Cup 2014| Rio's favela pacification turns into slick operation by Jonathan Watts

The Hindu October 6 | Welfare on the cards in Brazil by Shobhan Saxena

CounterPunch October 3 | What has been happening in Brazil since June 2013? by Simone Gomes

Geostadia October 4 | The Bursting Brazilian Bubble by Christopher Gaffney

The Guardian October 3 | Rio police charged over torture and death of missing man by Jonathan Watts

Mundo Real September 26 | From Eviction to Investment: How the community of Laboriaux fought against eviction and won


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