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Monthly Digest

Latest News and Opinion on and from
Rio de Janeiro's Communities

September 2014
Volume IV Issue 9

Welcome to our September digest with latest news from RioOnWatch (Rio Olympics Neighborhood Watch), Catalytic Communities' project to bring visibility to favela perspectives on the rapid transformations in Rio through 2016. For this month's RioOnWatch articles see below and for an exhaustive list of news reports and features on favelas from the full range of English-language media sources, large and small, see the right-hand column. Should this email be clipped, click below to view entire message.

With tension in Rocinha, the Police Unit in the area has changed command. In Alemão yet another youth has lost his life to police violence. Maré violently and suddenly lost a valuable community leader, Morro do Timbau's Residents' Association president Osmar Paiva Camelo, who RioOnWatch interviewed shortly before his death. And in an effort to protest against violent deaths in the favelas, mothers in Manguinhos staged a peaceful and powerful demonstration advocating peace and justice... As conflicts in a number of communities escalate, it's important to ask: what went wrong with the UPPs? 

In eviction news, residents of Vila União de Curicica have begun organizing against the largest eviction of a single community so far for the 2016 Olympic Games. Nearby, titled residents of Vila Autódromo undertook a notable act of civil disobedience by serving breakfast to Olympic construction workers, demolition crews and passers-by to raise awareness of their determination to remain, despite local media outlets' portrayals to the contrary. In the meantime, Rio's real estate crunch and lack of affordable housing has thousands looking for new homes. Some such settlers of the new favela Nova Tuffy, in Alemão, are awaiting inevitable removal signed off by the Brazilian courts. 

Although resistance in such trying times is difficult, determined residents are effective, bringing hope to many. Lessons have been gleaned from traditional peoples' successful struggles in urban Rio. This month's shining example came with the long-awaited final federal recognition of Quilombo Sacopã, whose residents have resisted eviction for decades.

Not-to-be-missed on the housing front is our in-depth piece on the dismantling of the much-lauded and anticipated Morar Carioca programRioOnWatch also visited Bairro Carioca, Rio's 'premier' housing project. Here is what we found.

More inspiration this month comes from our media profile of O Cidadão, a community newspaper in Complexo da Maré that emphasizes the importance of favela identity and community perspectives. In Campo Grande, a new community program is born to educate children with sporting activities.

Finally, last month we took our vision of favelas as models for sustainable development one step further by launching the idea of LEED-Up sustainable upgrading at the Greenbuilding conference in São Paulo. We also published a review of a radical book making complementary suggestions.

Please enjoy, share and don't forget to like us on Facebook. Invite us to speak on a campus near you this Fall. Join our Favela Perceptions Survey team in a major city near you. And if you like what we do, please join us as an Olympic Champion--we are depending on readers like you to donate monthly and guarantee our work through the Olympics!

marcos-helenoTeenager Shot Dead by Police in Complexo do Alemão by Nicole Froio | September 28 
A 17-year-old student was shot dead in Complexo do Alemão on Saturday September 27. According to witnesses, Marcos Heleno was shot by police and was left in agony on the sidewalk until the ambulance arrived an hour later. He died in hospital. Residents of Alemão took to social media to speak out about the event and complain about the current state of their community.
In his book Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of a New Architecture, art critic Justin McGuirk takes readers on a ride across the physical and social landscapes of urban Latin America, criss-crossing the continent, centralizing exceptional stories of urban innovation.
After decades of fighting for the right to stay on their inherited land, Quilombo Sacopã was recognized by the federal government this Tuesday September 23. Sacopã is the first urban quilombo to be recognized by the federal government in the state of Rio and is located in Lagoa, one of the richest parts of the city.
Vila Autódromo residents held a unique breakfast on the morning of Wednesday September 24, in an effort to bring attention to ongoing evictions in their neighborhood ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games. A full spread of food, juice and coffee was laid out for residents, passers-by and construction workers.

Santa-Margarida-bandCommunity Leaders in Campo Grande Propose New Alternative for Youth Athletic Development by Francis Torres | September 25 
Around 30 community members and volunteers met on the morning of Saturday September 20 in Campo Grande to discuss the launching of a new cross-community sporting initiative: the League of Neighborhoods (Liga dos Bairros in Portuguese). The project seeks to fill a perceived lack of opportunities and necessary equipment for young athletes in lower-income neighborhoods, while using sports as a way of fostering values and contributing to the civic development of alienated youngsters.

upp-rocinha-rioWhat Went Wrong With The UPPs? by Jorge Antonio Barros | September 23 
The UPPs were a smart response on the part of the government. But they may have an expiration date if not accompanied by social investments. Misconduct, all too common among the troops, cannot be swept under the rug in the favelas, where residents are tired of being oppressed between the cross and the rifles.

'Nova Tuffy': Two Thousand Await Eviction For Repossession of Factory in Alemão by Henrique Coelho | September 22 
One of the access ways to Complexo do Alemão, in the North Zone of Rio de Janeiro, has been home to nearly two thousand people for the past seven months. They live in a climate of uncertainty, following a judicial decision that called for the repossession of the old factory where they have been living. Public security authorities in the area confirmed they are planning an operation to carry out the repossession.
  Osmar Paiva Camelo, 54, President of the Morro do Timbau Residents' Association in Complexo da Maré, was shot seven times on the evening of Monday September 15 at close range. He was known as an enthusiast for the pacification process in the community. RioOnWatch interviewed Osmar on Tuesday September 9, less than a week prior to his death, to learn more about his vision for the community.

Tour2Greenbuilding Brasil Conference Introduces LEED-UP: Favelas as Models of Urban Sustainability by Jessica Goodenough | September 20
Vale Encantado, a favela in the heart of the Tijuca forest, was used as a case study to demonstrate favelas’ potential as models of sustainable development during the international sustainable building conference GreenBuilding Brasil, held in São Paulo from August 5-7. The example of Vale Encantado was used to illustrate the potential vocation for sustainability among favelas and of sustainably upgrading informal settlements worldwide. It was also the focus of a collaborative solution-mapping charrette among participants.

15048412867_c9f9f7e8ff_zMothers in Manguinhos March for Youth Victims of Police Violence by Nicole Froio | September 18
The mothers of victims of violence in favelas called for justice in a powerful protest in Manguinhos Saturday September 13. Holding up photos of the young men killed by the Military Police, around 50 protesters marched with the funk collective Apafunk while asking for peace in their communities.

Rocha-speaks-VA100 Residents Meet to Resist Evictions for the Olympics, in Vila União de Curicica by Ian Waldron | September 15 
Nearly 100 residents met in Vila União de Curicica on the night of Wednesday September 10 to discuss their plan to resist eviction in the face of the TransOlímpica highway and bus corridor slated to pass through their community. The community has been portrayed in the local press as entirely passive and quite delighted with the City’s decision to remove the neighborhood, and is calling for local and worldwide attention in supporting those residents who have not been consulted and who are not being fairly compensated.

Quilombo-SacopThe Miracle of Resistance: Lessons From Rio's Urban Quilombos & Indigenous Groups by Désirée Poets | September 15 
Brazil’s colonial past has created a socio-political landscape in which issues of race and ethnicity remain problematic. Today, indigenous and black groups continue to resist the discriminatory social order left by the colonial encounter. The lived struggles of ethnic groups in the city provide a window into persisting ideas on race and ethnicity, which hinder their recognition as ethnic groups.

MCMV_StreetA Look Inside Bairro Carioca - Rio's "Premier" Housing Project by Sara McTarnaghan | September 11 
Bairro Carioca, one of Rio de Janeiro’s flagship Minha Casa Minha Vida housing projects, is frequently referenced by local officials as exemplifying transit-oriented and highly affordable public housing, given as an example of the transformative potential of investment in public housing. The 11 condominiums that make up the project are now home to approximately 11,000 people. This is the specific site the City has been using to illustrate MCMV to international reporters covering Rio since 2013.

  Figura-05.-CONCURSO-MORAR-CARIOCAMorar Carioca: The Dismantling of a Dream Favela Upgrading Program by Kate Steiker-Ginzberg | September 10
An architect recently described the Morar Carioca program as “the greatest unfulfilled promise” in Rio de Janeiro. Over the past few years, we have seen this ambitious and visionary favela urbanization project get packaged into the Olympic legacy framework, co-opted by political interests, and then abruptly dismantled without sufficient explanation.
moradores-se-reuniram-com-comando-de-upp_1Between Tension and Conflicts, Rocinha's UPP Changes Command by Davison Coutinho | September 8 
Major Priscila Azevedo, commanding officer of Rocinha’s Police Pacification Unit (UPP) has been promoted to commanding officer of the South Zone UPP unit. The announcement was made on Wednesday, August 20, at Rocinha’s local association meeting, by Colonel Frederico Caldas, UPP coordinator. The meeting was an opportunity for residents to voice their concerns regarding the UPP, like the increase in violence in the community and the police’s lack of respect for the local population. 
veratratada1Eighth Anniversary of Brazil's Law to Protect Women from Domestic Violence by Deborah Athila | September 5 
Eight years ago, the fight against domestic violence gained a new ally: the Maria da Penha law. The law was seen as a milestone in the campaign for gender equality, but it still faces obstacles such as a prevailing sexist culture and the social oppression of women who report violence. 

direitoacomunicacaoReport Launch: The Right to Communication & Racial Justice by Ed Bentsi-Enchill | September 4 
On Thursday August 28, the Favela Observatory hosted a seminar in Complexo da Maré to launch the official publication of the Right to Communication & Racial Justice project. The project promotes community access to media production in order to increase recognition of the relationship between institutional racism and the violence experienced by Afro-Brazilians, favela residents and low-income communities.
bragaCriminalization, Militarization and the Normalized Absurdities that Condemned Rafael Braga Vieira by Andrea Cangialosi | September 3 
A debate held on August 20 at Rio’s Fluminense Federal University (UFF) sought to explore the issues of police violence and the criminalization of poverty and social movements in the wake of the widely disputed conviction of Rafael Braga Vieira. Braga, 26, is a black homeless man who was taken into custody after he was found in the possession of two plastic bottles of liquid detergent during the mass protests in June 2013.

O CidadaoComunity Media Profile: Maré's 'O Cidadão' Newspaper by Cerianne Robertson | September 1 
O Cidadão intentionally seeks to fill the gaps in external sources’ coverage of and interaction with Maré. Editor Gizele Martins says: “I believe the role of community media is to break this.” Furthermore, she suggests, community media are simply better at covering issues related to favelas. The people who live in Maré are best situated to tell the stories of Maré.


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in the Media

BBC September 30
'Teachers not footballers' needed by Brazil by Martin Hall

Ozy September 30
Making a Business Out of Bringing Good Food to Rio's Hilltop Favelas by Shannon Sims

The Economist September 30
Man vs City by Ricky Burdett

ISN September 30
Brazil's Police Struggle to Pacify Gang-Run Slums by Ioan Grillo

WOLA September 29
Police Militarization: Similarities Between Ferguson and Brazil by Liz Leeds

Wall Street Journal September 29
Google, Microsoft Expose Rio's Favelas by Will Connors

RioReal Blog September 29
Rio de Janeiro: Radical City, diagonal city by Julia Michaels

The Independent* September 28
Music and elections take on the violence of Rio de Janeiro's drug ganges by Donna Bowater

Trinidad & Tobago Guardian September 28
UWI lecturer: Armoured vehicles not the solution by Charles Kong Soo

RioReal Blog September 27
Police violence at the Rio Film Festival: the documentary "À Quema Roupa" (Point Blank) by Julia Michaels

Favelissues September 27
Favela, Culture and the Power of 'Things' by Andrew Carman

The Atlantic CityLab September 26
Google and Microsoft Are Putting Rio's Favelas on the Map by Aarion Marshall

Wall Street Journal September 25
Google, Microsoft Expose Brazil's Favelas by Will Connors

Arch Daily September 23
Al Jazeera's Rebel Architecture: Episode 6, "The Pedreiro and the Master Plan" by Katie Watkins

CCTV September 23
Brazilian community bank uses local currency to boost economy by Lucrecia Franco

Wall Street Journal September 23
Middle Class Brazil Lifts Voice by Loretta Chao, Reed Johnson and Luciana Magalhães

FrameWeb September 22
Rebel Architecture: The Pedreiro and the Master Planner by Peter Smisek

TONIGHT September 22
From Brazilian favelas to cool Soweto fellas by Munya Vomo

The Economist September 21
Slower going: Brazil's household survey by J.P.

The Independent September 19
Postcard from...Rio de Janeiro by Jenny Barchfield

TES Connect September 19
When schools are at war, teachers must broker peace by Donna Bowater

Huffington Post September 19
In Brazil the World Cup is Over But the Sexual Violence Continues by Gary Barker

Al Jazeera America September 18 Violence catches up with favela peacemaker by Matt Sandy

Favela@ LSE September 18
Types of favela media activism by Leonardo Custódio

Brazzil September 17
12 Million Brazilians Live in Shantytowns, 94% Say They Are Happy by Alana Gandra

Daily Journal September 16
Indigenous people in Brazil facing deforestation, joblessness, seek out cities, end up in slums by Jenny Barchfield

SmartData Collective September 16
12 Data-Driven Cities Making the Internet of Things a Reality by Tracey Wallace
The New York Times September 16 
Brazil Removed From UN World Hunger Map by The Associated Press

ImportantCool* September 15
Rio Favela Media Building The Future in The Present by Felicity Clarke

Cities Today September 15
Interview: Eduardo Paes, Mayor of Rio de Janeiro by William Thorpe

Reflejos September 14
Girls from Brazil's favelas find escape in ballet by AP

The Week September 13
Spokesman of the Brazilian Slums by Flora Charner

CS Monitor September 12
Reporting on Rio's realities - and comparing them to New York City by Rachel Glickhouse

Yahoo! News September 12
Rousseff in Rio slum visit as poll gap closes by AFP

Favela@ LSE September 11
The revolution of the day to day: Young people's public action in Rio de Janeiro by Udi Mandel Butler 

Metro September 11
Rio de Janeiro favela get world's first player-powered football pitch 

Rio Gringa September 10
Reporting on Rio Realities: Rising Community Journalists by Rachel Glickhouse September 10
Brazil's Red Command and the Police Who Fight Them by Ioan Grillo

Toward Freedom* September 10
Brazil's Dance with the Devil: The Olympics, The World Cup and the Fight for Democracy - Book Review by Armando Carmona

FGV News September 8
Shortage of doctors is the greatest source of complaints on social networks

The Atlantic CityLab September 5
Despite the Hype, the World Cup Ended Up Being Bad Business for Brazil's Sex Workers by Julie Ruvolo

Latin Correspondent September 4
Report: Armed militias now control 148 Rio communities by Natalie Southwick

Red Light Rio September 5
World Cup was bad business for sex workers: Observatory of Prostitution Report by Julie Ruvolo

VOXXI September 4
Olympic road construction leads to displacement of Rio favela residents by Diego Rosette

Favela@ LSE September 4
On raids and connecting favela resistance(s) in Kenya and Brazil by Wangui Kimari

The Art Newspaper September 3
Photographing and Fashioning the Reality of Brazil by Tatiane Schilaro

The Art Newspaper September 1
Artist opens art and technology school in Rio favela by Charlotte Burns

Al Jazeera America* September 1
Olympic bus route to displace 900 families from Rio favelas by Donna Bowater

*CatComm supported/quoted

September Highlights
from CatComm

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Lecture tour near you?

Since 2010, CatComm Founder & Executive Director Dr. Theresa Williamson has spoken at North American universities on a range of topics.

This year's talks so far include Augustana College, CUNY, University of Maryland, Syracuse University, Wellesley College, McGill University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Cornell University, Pomona College, Pacific University, Ramapo College, University of Colorado-Boulder, and Goucher College.

Are these colleges near yours? Would you like to attend a talk? Would you be interested in bringing Theresa to your campus? We have 7 more spots available and flexible dates between October and December 2014.
"It was a terrific talk. That's my opinion, as both an academic and an activist. And the feedback from everyone else I talked to has been nothing but superlatives. Everyone thought it was informative, the analysis was complex and nuanced, and it gave us great insights into the political and organizing scenes in Rio and Brazil. I'm very pleased and would definitely recommend Theresa's talk to others."
-- Dr. Tom Angotti, Hunter College

Take a look at this year's University tour brochure and speaking topics and contact us if your campus would be interested in hosting an event.

Favela Perceptions Survey-Researchers Needed!

For more information and how to get involved click here.
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