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Monthly Digest

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

December 2015
Volume V Issue 12

Welcome to our December digest with the latest news from RioOnWatch (Rio Olympics Neighborhood Watch), Catalytic Communities' project to bring visibility to favela perspectives on the rapid transformations in Rio through the 2016 Olympic Games. 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, see the right-hand column. Should this email appear clipped, you can click at the bottom to view the entire message in your browser.

Before entering 2016 and the culmination of RioOnWatch, a project we started in 2010 to document the transformations taking place in Rio through the 2016 Olympic Games, we look back at 2015 with our latest analysis of the Best and Worst International Reporting on Rio's Favelas. Two of the excellent articles were from December itself: a ground-breaking and highly visible feature on Vila Autódromo in TIME and a story on pre-Olympic evictions in Vice, both of which we were thrilled to support.

Our own coverage of Vila Autódromo included an analysis of the escalating and utterly opressive pressures mounting as the City grapples with the short timeframe they have to pressure residents they have previously promised could stay. We covered the terrifying eviction story of Dona Mariza, who was left homeless when her home was destroyed in October, and creative resistance events that continue on a weekly basis in this relentless community, such as the #OcupaVilaAutodromo cultural festival and civil disobedience by the community as they came together to work on their long-awaited daycare center.

This month the Popular Committee on the World Cup and Olympics published their biggest and most extensive dossier of human rights violations ahead of the Rio 2016 "Exclusion Games." Over 22,059 families have now been removed from their homes across Rio. For human rights
 like the right to housing, residents of Brazilian cities and judicial officials alike lack knowledge of favela residents' hard-won legal rights. During the same week as the dossier launch, hundreds of activists debated and some 50,000 people celebrated International Human Rights Day in Madureira

Madureira was also the site of a powerful protest against the killings of black youth, following police inexplicably killing five youth in Costa Barros. Women in Caju and Manguinhos mapped violence in their communities as a form of reflection and resistance. Some favela activists say a focus on the struggle against systemic violence affecting black favela populations is one reason behind low favela resident participation in December's protests against the impeachment of President Rouseff.

An article voicing outrage by Alemão activist-journalist Raull Santiago argues for the need to cover rights violations, like police violence, while also showing the positive side of favelas, which is an act of resistance in itself. The temporary shutdown of WhatsApp in December and the resulting massive outrage (and humor) expressed by Brazilians of all backgrounds on social media underlined the importance of new Internet technologies and platforms in amplifying people's voices.

Also this month, the highly anticipated yet controversial Museum of Tomorrow finally opened and an insightful CityLab article tackled the building's complex symbolism in the Port region, critical to Afro-Brazilian heritage as the largest slave port in world history. Not too far from the museum, the Pedra do Sal quilombo and supporters celebrated ten years of recognition of the quilombo's historical importance and the ongoing bid for recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage.

And finally, residents of Vila Laboriaux and collaborators revived a vacant plot of land with the aim to develop an edible urban forest for the community.

In CatComm news, if you haven't yet taken a look please don't miss our summary of the amazing work you made possible in 2015, and our big plans for 2016! As we move forward together, we'd appreciate your time sharing your thoughts on our work. Please take a moment to provide your critical feedback. It's very important to us!
We hope you enjoy this month's carefully compiled digest and video recommendations below. Please share and don't forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

With the increasing global media attention ahead of the Games has come rare and insightful in-depth reporting on key issues like race, state violence, the real motivations behind evictions, and active challenges to stigma, as well as exciting platforms for favela residents to speak directly to international readers. Still present in 2015, however, were dangerous stereotypes, lazy language, and the misrepresentation of favelas as ‘slums’ and ‘shantytowns.’
  Perhaps the most corrosive removal tactics stem from the government’s about-turn in its promise to respect residents’ right to remain and upgrade Vila Autódromo. Instead of installing much-needed infrastructure like paved roads, proper drainage, and a sewerage network, all of which would cost a fraction of the expense of eviction, the government has sabotaged existing utilities in an attempt to make living in the community unbearable.
  The demonstration against the impeachment of President Dilma Rouseff and in favor of the fall of Brazil’s congressional president, Eduardo Cunha, doesn’t seem to have mobilized social movements or activists from the favelas. Reporters from Favela 247 spoke to favela leaders who explained the motives behind joining or staying away from the protests and analyze the reasons why this movement against the coup has failed to ignite the interests of favela residents.
  Wednesday marked the launch of the publication of urban mapping done by more than 30 women in the Caju and Manguinhos favelas in Rio’s North Zone with guidance from well-respected historic NGO FASE. The goal of the program was to give women an opportunity to talk about the ways they experience violencedaily and to map out the communities as a form of resistance.
  The Museum of Tomorrow, one of the most ambitious works of the Porto Maravilha Port revitalization program, opened its doors Saturday, December 19. Occupying the pier that enters the Guanabara Bay in Rio’s Port Region, the museum is notable for both its spectacular appearance and for the controversies and criticisms the project has triggered during the four years of its building process, a period during which Rio’s policymakers have been criticized for actively attempting to trample over the city’s past.
  Residents, students, and volunteers gathered in Vila Autódromo on Saturday, December 12 to measure the area that will become the community’s daycare center. The daycare is a fundamental part of Vila Autódromo’s award-winning People’s Plan, an upgrading project developed by residents in partnership with urban planning teams from the Fluminense Federal University and the Federal University of Rio. Thousands of people gathered in Madureira Park on Thursday, December 10, for the Everyone Has Rights Festival to celebrate International Human Rights Day. The event sought to bring public attention to “the rights of women, indigenous people, youth, workers, non-traditional families, public health ‘beneficiaries/users,’ students and black youth.”
  A ceremony was held on Saturday, December 12 at Pedra do Sal in the Port Region to celebrate ten years since the site was recognized for its historic importance as a quilombo, home to the descendants of enslaved Africans brought to Brazil.
  On Sunday December 6, residents and collaborators gathered in Vila Laboriaux to plant and revive a vacant plot located at one of the highest points of the community. Once threatened with removal, the small community continues to implement sustainable development and community improvement projects that connect residents with their surrounding environment.
  Brazil has the necessary laws to relieve problems with housing and land regulation. However, the government, especially civil servants from the administrative and judicial sectors, as well as the people who need a home, still do not know what tools are available to assist them in accessing this right.
  The fourth edition in the series and the first Rio dossier since the 2014 World Cup, the November 2015 publication departs from past versions with an intensified focus on the 2016 Olympics. It’s the first dossier with a unique title—“Rio 2016 Olympics: The Exclusion Games”—and the first to be published in both Portuguese and English.
  In light of the human chaos of corruption scandals, the destruction of our planet, and a trivialization of life, a more humane point of view that takes citizenship into account is the way to survive in the advance of communication.
  On Thursday December 3 approximately 1,000 people came together to protest the genocide against black youth at the hands of police. The protest took place in the North Zone neighborhood of Madureira in response to the killing of 5 young black men in Costa Barros on November 28.
ae498b20-e71e-4d84-a8ee-e5164db8fb87-620x264Favelas In the News: November 2015 Digest by Cerianne Robertson | December 4
This year’s Black Awareness Month has been a critical moment for Brazil’s black community, with protests against ongoing structural racism as well as celebrations of Afro-Brazilian heritage. It has also been an exciting month for women as key issues are finally receiving deserved attention.
  On Saturday November 28 residents of Vila Autódromo hosted the community’s second Cultural Festival. It was a very important day for the community that, “brought people from outside to celebrate and show support for us… to show our community is not abandoned,” remarked resident Luiz Oliveira.
  On October 23 agents from the city government carried out theunannounced demolition of five homes in Vila Autódromo, next door to the 2016 Olympic Park. 60 year-old Dona Mariza do Amor Divino lived in one of those houses and has been left homeless. It is the second eviction she has suffered as a resident in the community she’s called home for almost 40 years.
  Five youths were machine-gunned dead inside a car by Military Police in the Complexo da Pedreira favela in Costa Barros in the North Zone of Rio. The boys were on their way to get a snack when Military Police opened fire on the vehicle, killing all five. 

RioOnWatch is a project of Catalytic Communities


Highlights from



The Winner of the 2015 Rio Raffle Is...

With 1,242 raffle tickets in play, we drew the 2015 Rio Raffle on January 4 and the winner is...Adam Talbot! Adam is a doctoral researcher at the Centre of Sport, Tourism and Leisure Studies at the University of Brighton (UK), already in Rio working on an ethnographic project focused on social movements and activism at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. He's giving his prize trip tickets to Claudia Dolezal, a lecturer in Tourism, International Development and Events at the University of Westminster (UK), and Rachel Handforth, a PhD student of Education at Sheffield Hallam University (UK). The trip to Rio will be the first time to South America for both Claudia and Rachel! Congratulations, Adam, Claudia, and Rachel!

Thank you to EVERYONE who supported CatComm in 2015, whether through donations or time and effort! 

2015 Overview and Our Plans for 2016

What a year! In this unique year between mega-events, some of our key highlights include launching the RioOnWatch Portuguese website, launching the world's first favela news wire, publishing a longitudinal media analysis report, and seeing victories for favela voices in the media. Don't miss our overview of 2015 and big plans for 2016—the Olympics are around the corner and with them comes some of our most important work ever.

CatComm Questionnaire

We want to know what the people who've taken advantage of CatComm and RioOnWatch and made them a success over these years—YOU!—are up to today, and how we can best support our collaborators and fans going forward. Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts! They're very important to us!

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in the Media

Sky Sports December 31
Orla Chennaoui on Olympic boxing dreams in a Rio favela [VIDEO] by Orla Chennaoui

BBC December 29
Brazil Rio: An education clouded by violence by Julia Carneiro

PRI December 29
Young American helping Brazil memorialize the slave trade by Christopher Woolf

BBC December 28
Rio de Janeiro favela life described by children [VIDEO]

SwimSwam December 28
Rio Declares Health State of Emergency 7 Months Out From Olympics by Loretta Race

TIME* December 27
Meet the Impoverished Brazil Residents Who Won’t Move for the Olympics by Sean Gregory

CNN December 27
The poetry of Rio's 'Suppressed Favelas' by Flora Charner

Al Jazeera December 25
Christmas in Rio’s favelas, where pacification brings mixed tidings by Matt Sandy

Fox News Latino December 25
1 Dead, 6 wounded in ostensibly pacified Brazil shantytown by EFE

LA Times December 24
Class struggles play out, sometimes violently, on the beaches of Rio by Claire Rigby

The Rio Times December 24
Healthcare System in State of Emergency in Rio de Janeiro by Jay Forte

Fox News Latino December 24
Boy and teen die in Rio de Janeiro slum shootout by EFE

The Independent December 24
Santa Claus delivers Christmas presents to a favela in Rio de Janerio by Matt Payton

Australian Associated Press* December 23
Rio's poorest in Olympic battles by Steve Larkin

Rio 2016 December 23
‘Pre-legacy’ of Rio 2016 Games begins as Olympic venue is opened to underprivileged communities

NPR December 22
Rio's Museum Of Tomorrow Is Not Without Controversy by Lourdes Garcia-Navarro

Vice December 22
Growing basketball in Brazil's favelas by Donna Bowater

The Rio Times December 22
Rio’s Santa Marta Favela Celebrates Seven Years of the UPP by Jay Forte

Business Insider December 22
The Brazil attorney general is alleging that bribes were used in Olympic bid process by Stephen Wade, Mauricio Savarese

Al Jazeera English December 21
Rebel Geeks - A Bigger Brother [VIDEO]

The Washington Post December 19
Rio's flashy new Museum of Tomorrow overlooks a big problem of today by Dom Phillips

CityLab December 18
How Rio's Museum of Tomorrow Complicates the City's Present by Matthew Niederhauser

BDlive December 18
Author Interview: Brazilian king of crime a slave to time and place by Sue Blaine

HuffPost December 18
One Teen's News Startup In A Favela by Rafael Johns

BBC December 17
First look at Rio's Museum of Tomorrow [VIDEO] by Julia Carneiro

The Guardian December 17
Museum of Tomorrow: a captivating invitation to imagine a sustainable world by Jonathan Watts

The Globe and Mail December 17
When WhatsApp Came Down by Stephanie Nolen

The New York Times December 17
Brazil Restores WhatsApp Service After Brief Blockade Over Wiretap Request by Vindu Goel, Vinod Sreeharsha

The Washington Post December 17
Brazil's ban on WhatsApp is lifted less than 24 hours after it began by Dom Phillips

Pioneers Post December 17
A better planet needs better addressing by Giles Rhys

TechCrunch December 16
Brazilian Judge Shuts Down WhatsApp And Brazil’s Congress Wants To Shut Down The Social Web Next by Julie Ruvolo

The Daily Telegraph December 16
Rio 2014: Australia’s Olympic athletes banned from Rio’s favelas during Games by David Riccio

The Rio Times December 16
Christmas in Rio Brings the Caranguejo Gift Donation Event by Chesney Hearst

AP December 15
Olympic legacy? Rio urban planner, report raise questions by Stephen Wade

The Guardian December 14
Rio Olympics: view from the favelas – 'Many deaths go unexplained here' by Daiene Mendes

The Guardian December 14
Rio Olympics: view from the favelas – 'It is not the police's role to do social work' by Michel Silva

The Guardian December 14

Rio Olympics: view from the favelas – 'We need the freedom to be ourselves' by Thaís Cavalcante

The Guardian December 14
Rio Olympics: view from the favelas – 'Hopes of pacification are shattered' by Daiene Mendes

Stanford News December 14
Stanford researchers study how to reduce deadly police force in Rio de Janeiro by Clifton B. Parker

Vice* December 13
The Rio Olympics Is Being Used as 'an Excuse' to Evict Poor People From Valuable Land by James Armour Young

Forbes December 13
Rio 2016 Plans Show Olympics Are Becoming An Expensive Farce by Arthur L. Caplan, Lee H. Igel

The Washington Post December 12
Why Brazil has no Black Lives Matter movement, despite some shocking police killings by Dom Phillips

The Guardian December 11
Rio de Janeiro's Vila Autódromo favela in the shadow of the Olympics [IMAGES] by Mario Tama

No Holds Barred December 11
The Olympics on the Road to Ruin [RADIO] 
by Eddie Goldman

TCJWW December 11
The Spectacular Favela by Erika Robb Larkins by Marina Blitshteyn

Al Jazeera December 11
Is a women's spring blossoming in Brazil? by Donna Bowater, Priscilla Moraes

Global Post December 11
A group of lawmakers wants to let Brazilians buy up to 9 guns a year by Will Carless

news. com. au December 11
Rio braces for post-Olympics ‘bloodbath’ if police abandon favelas by Emma Reynolds

Witness December 10
Video as evidence in Brazil: New study by Article 19 and WITNESS shows potential is huge but untapped by Priscila Neri

The Conversation December 10
Rio Olympics has its commandments – but what legacy will it leave? by Jorge Knijnik

The New York Times December 10
Review: ‘Sunday Ball’ Visits a Soccer Championship in Rio’s Slums by Jeannette Catsoulis

PRI December 9
#BlackLivesMatter has gone global. And Brazil needs it — badly by Will Carless

Global Post December 9
Brazil finally throws killer cops in jail 
by Will Carless

LA Times December 9
Rio de Janeiro struggling toward finish line for 2016 Summer Olympics 
by David Wharton

Al Jazeera December 9
Dying for a story: Brazil’s journalists are being killed at record rates 
by Matt Sandy

Children Win December 8
Rio 2016 Olympics: The Exclusion Games by Comitê Popular da Copa e Olimpíadas

The Guardian December 8
Rio Olympics linked to widespread human rights violations, report reveals by Jonathan Watts

Sports Illustrated December 8
2016 Rio Olympics tied to widespread human rights violations
by SI Wire

Atlanta Blackstar December 8
Black, Brown Residents of Brazil’s Favelas Say They Were Ejected From Homes to Make Room for 2016 Olympics
by Manny Otiko

AFROPUNK December 7
Op-Ed: Five black boys executed by police in Rio de Janeiro. How much is a black life worth in Brazil?
by Robin Batista

Fightland - Vice December 7
Favela Jiu Jitsu: The Last Man Standing by Nico Ball

NPR December 6
In Brazil, Rising and Rampant Racism Is Written On The Wall by Lourdes Garcia-Navarro

Medium December 6
The voice of favelas: training and tools for storytellers by Núria Saldanha

NZ Herald December 5
Rugby aiming to make a difference in Rio by Dylan Cleaver

Folha de S. Paulo December 5
Brazil’s impeachment – questions answered by Vincent Bevins

Sounds and Colours December 5
Favela Gay by Rose Miyonga

Global Post December 4
Some folks congratulate the police on fatally shooting young men by Will Carless

TelesurTV December 4
Brazilian youth rise up against police brutality

Digital Journal December 3
Where are you when you’re nowhere? New app provides 'addresses' by Les Horvitz

AP December 2
AP test: Rio Olympic water badly polluted, even far offshore by Brad Brooks

The Guardian December 1
Rio de Janeiro police officers arrested for killings of black and mixed-race youths by Jonathan Watts

Black Women of Brazil December 1
Genocidal assault continues; in Rio Military Police riddle car with 20 bullets and leave five young black males dead by Flavio Araújo

Yahoo! News December 1
Brazil police shootings of five men spark outrage by Sebastian Smith
*CatComm supported/quoted





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