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« Episode 28: Fabíola | Main | Episode 30: News, Vocabulary and Mosquitoes »

Comments

LFB

Kinsey, Milton is 100% correct. While I didn't participate in the favela tours because of the whole zooification of poverty thing, I have colleagues who have studied these tour groups for years. The gist is that outsiders offering tours strike deals with the drug traffickers and provide a kickback in exchange for safe passage. They hire locals to guide them and provide an aura of authenticity. In Rocinha (the main site for these things) any and all grassroots efforts - even things like enterprising local poor people who decide to sell t-shirts to the people visiting their homes and eating their food, etc. - are shut down by traffickers because the traffickers want to maximize their own profits. If the tours benefited locals in a tangible way, that would make them more palatable - but they don't, so they aren't. The money from the tours goes directly to companies outside the favela and indirectly to druglords. The only tour started by an ONG that gave the money back to the poor people being visited was quickly shut down by gangs and all profits were quickly redirected to gangs and outside companies. The locals only participate because gangs make them. The gangs do, however, keep all the tourists safe and I have never heard of a single injury, so I suppose if your listeners really want to visit a favela, the tours are - by default - the way to go. I would encourage them, however, to quietly and circumspectly give some handouts to the people directly because God knows those folks won't see a centavo otherwise.

King Spanky

I guess I am canceling my favela tour!

Ok, for the Rio favela podcast II...

How big are the Rio favelas? How populous? What percentage in comparison to the over all population? Are there more occupants in Rio, São Paulo, other? Kinsey you mentioned favelas in Africa? How do they compare? More violent, less violent? Better off, worse off? How many deaths per months due to drug violence? How did favelas form? Do the occupants own the land or are they there because they are there? Is there any way do remove a favela? Are favela dwellers counted in census taking?

Do favelas have infrastructure?

King Spanky

LFB

The number I hear most cited is there are 600 favelas in Rio, and 20% of the carioca population lives in them. Rio has over 7 million people, so that's almost a million and a half favelados.

SP is a much larger city (11 million) and might have more favelados in raw numbers, but Rio's are more famous. No clue if they are actually more violent in Rio, I only went to Rio's. Maybe Milton knows some paulistas who would know. SP has a lot of urban sprawl, but Rio has favelas all over the hills in the downtown too, so they are very visible and very close to rich areas, so maybe they are better-known because everyone sees them.

It's also confusing because some poor areas also have shacks and/or cortiços but are not technically favelas because the people are not squatters. (Favelados don't pay city taxes, don't own the land, have no official address, and have to steal power and other utilities from the grid... so no infrastructure.) So the stats get fuzzy depending on what you count as a "favela."

Yes, they (try to) count favelados in the census.

The military govt tore them down like crazy in the 1970s. They relocated some residents out of the city, moved others into housing projects, etc. All of these efforts failed because they didn't address the underlying problem of poverty.

They formed in many ways starting in the late 19th century: quilombos and freed slaves who had nowhere to go and no money, waves of rural migrants, soldiers of the Canudos with no way home after the war, flooding that destroyed many homes in Rio, and just general poverty. Then the gangs took hold, and they became more violent. Of course, not all favelas look like City of God and Tropa Elite. They aren't all violent all the time.

No idea how that compares to Soweto. I am curious to hear Kinsey's response.

Chris

since the discussion of rio i dont think i will visit that place...it sounds kinda like new york in the way of attitudes of people i guess you can say...like to me i think new york people may be loud and rude compared to us people here in kentucky. as they would think we are hillybillys from southern united states...but i am very interested in where you and miltion live and what it has to offer for tourist or other places to visit in brazil. i noticed that kinsey said if he had not known what people were speaking where he either lived or visited in brazil he would have gotten in trouble or a sticky situation...so how much of portugese would a person need to learn to be able to get out of a situation or to comprehend a little bit

Peter in Chicago

I think I found the Brazilian Portuguese for Spanish speakers podcast that Bishop mentioned:

http://tltc.la.utexas.edu/brazilpod/tafalado/index.php

iTunes URL:
http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=206150220


Kinsey

LFB,

That's good to know. Since the favela tours don't directly benefit the non-drug-trafficking residents there, then there is truly a legitimate objection to participating in them.

The townships in South Africa are very different from Brazilian favelas. The government recognizes them as legitimate and invests in their infrastructure. Soweto is really a city in its own right. I only brought up the townships because of the tour aspect.

King Spanky,

It looks like LFB answered most of your questions. I'll just add that some favelas are much safer than others. The real danger factor is whether or not they are run by druglords. Not all of them are, and favela residents' lives become much harder when druglords move in.

In terms of infratructure, most of them (at least in my limited experience) have electricity and plumbing. I think most Americans have the image of everyone there living in shacks and cardboard boxes (many do), but there are also a lot of good solid houses. It's also very common for there to be stores, churches, restaurants and even some roads. (There are people living in favelas who have cars.) Arguably, such places may not technically be favelas by the official definition of the word, but they are called favelas nearly universally by Brazilians.

As LFB said, the military regime was very favela-unfriendly. It completely removed a famous hillside favela in Rio overlooking the city and the ocean.

One interesting factoid I learned in my Brazilian studies class is that while people who live in favelas rarely manage to move out, there is a tremendous amount of upward mobility within favelas.

Chris,

Rio probably is the place to go for those parties you were talking about, but for most people, it's probably not the best place to live. I suggest that when you come to Brazil, you travel to various cities and make a point of seeing both the South and the Northeast to get a feel for the range of Brazil.

Where I live (Belo Horizonte), there is a bit of everything but nothing really spectacular. Milton and I should do a show about BH one day.

I was talking more about street smarts than language. Every big city in the world has its dangers and scams, and what works in one city doesn't always translate to others.

Peter,

Thanks for the link.

Chris

so i found this on youtube and it speaks about the favelas and it was pretty interesting here is the links. there is 5 parts im watching it now so i havent gotten to the third part or anything but you can find them real easy they are on the side and it says part 3 and 4 and 5 will be found easily.

part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3TLm0ubeZM

part 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e43Ci_RgmJc

LFB

Actually, Kinsey, I'll probably be back in Brazil later this year. I was debating about visiting Floripa, Recife, Porto Alegre or Fortaleza, which I have not been to. Have you been to these cities and do you recommend one over the others?

tvindy

Chris,

Thanks for those links. I watched the first part, and it was quite interesting. It really shows the enormity of the favelas in Rio. I had to laugh at the beginning when the driver refers (in Portuguese) to AK-47s as AK-46s.

LFB,

Sadly, I haven't been to any of those cities, and as far as I know, neither has Milton. (I actually hadn't heard Florianópolis called "Floripa" before and had to look it up.) I suggest buying a Lonely Planet guide for Brazil (if you haven't already) and reading the entries for each city of interest. Lonely Planet has served me well on my travels to new places.

Senator Spanky

I have heard that Floripa is really nice but they are still recovering from a big flood that wiped out the city last month.

Recife is big, dirty and unsafe to me. There is that chicken port, though that everyone talks about.

Fortaleza, I don't know.

Porto Alegre would be my choice.

Senator Spanky

Chris

florianopolis is sussposly the happening place...they says its safe and good for tourist and alot of tourist go there. they say night life is amazing. good for surfing if you like to do that and they have a beach that is good for surfing i have read on wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florianopolis

http://wikitravel.org/en/Florian%C3%B3polis

theres alot of things on these websites about florianopolis but i just recentley found out about the flood that happen down there and seen some pictures and it was pretty bad. it will take awhile to recover from that...but if you would want to move down there land MIGHT be cheap down there now since that happened.

Chris

locals or anybody in brazil i thought called it floripa but anyhow. Florianopolis is susspose to be amazing from what i have read about it and heard about. they say the night life is amazing. 42 beaches, surfing is really big down there, they say they have good waves for surfing and they have a beach thas good for learning how to surf. So if your into surfing thas the place to go to.

http://wikitravel.org/en/Florian%C3%B3polis

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florianopolis

those links will tell you ALOT about florianopolis i have done alot of reading from there and its all interesting stuff to know. I had just recentley heard about the flooding that happen down there and I seen some pictures of it on orkut and it looked pretty bad. id say it will take awhile for them to recover from it down there. But if you want to live down there. land may be cheap since everything got flooded there.

Kinsey

Chris,

You probably know a lot more about Florianópolis now than either me or Milton. I've never been there or met anyone from there. Awhile back there was a telenovela with a minor character from Floripa who talked funny, so all I know is that they talk funny over there. Like Spanky said, the recent flooding may make it less pleasant to visit for awhile.

Marny

It has been said that the Civil War occurring in Rio de Janeiro's Favelas (the war involving drugs) kills more people daily than the war in Iraq. That is a fact, and a scary one at that. It goes completely unnoticed by the Brazilian government which is truly bollocks, but it is well worthwhile to do the Favela tour regardless. It is eye opening, and I didn't not have any problems on my three tours of Rocinha (the most prominent favela).

Kinsey

Marny,

I agree. It's extremely easy to visit Brazil without ever seeing a favela up close. The country is organized to keep the poor out of the way, especially with regard to tourists, so that makes it very important IMHO to make an effort to see what life is like for the poor, especially considering what a large proportion of the population they make up.

Bishop^

Yes, I'm a bit behind on podcasts. It was interesting to hear Milton saying that RdJ is a dangerous city. If you look at the crime statistics, New Orleans has a higher rate of violent crime than Rio! Yet are people afraid of taking vacations there? Nope... One factor is familiarity, and the idea Americans have that "it can't happen here". Yet that comes because they know that there are parts of cities that are bad, and parts that are safe. People who live near Washington DC know not to go to Southeast at night, and you don't find people sightseeing in Compton or South Central when they visit L.A.

Staying in the "decent" parts of Rio, you will be as reasonably safe as taking a vacation most places in the world. Trouble comes to people who are either stupid or careless, often those who wander into places they shouldn't.

Bishop^

Oh and by the way, when I say "hook up" with the brazilian girls I know, I mean these are friends from online places like flickr and orkut, who I meet up with to go out drinking and dancing, or go around the city taking pictures (I am a prolific amateur photographer). It's just great to already know people when I vacation in Brazil!

Kinsey

Bishop^,

Yes, that's probably true. I have very little familiarity with Rio, so it probably seems more dangerous to me than it actually is.

rocinhajj

Kinsey, Milton is 100% correct. While I didn't participate in the favela tours because of the whole zooification of poverty thing, I have colleagues who have studied these tour groups for years. The gist is that outsiders offering tours strike deals with the drug traffickers and provide a kickback in exchange for safe passage. They hire locals to guide them and provide an aura of authenticity. In Rocinha (the main site for these things) any and all grassroots efforts - even things like enterprising local poor people who decide to sell t-shirts to the people visiting their homes and eating their food, etc. - are shut down by traffickers because the traffickers want to maximize their own profits. If the tours benefited locals in a tangible way, that would make them more palatable - but they don't, so they aren't. The money from the tours goes directly to companies outside the favela and indirectly to druglords. The only tour started by an ONG that gave the money back to the poor people being visited was quickly shut down by gangs and all profits were quickly redirected to gangs and outside companies. The locals only participate because gangs make them. The gangs do, however, keep all the tourists safe and I have never heard of a single injury, so I suppose if your listeners really want to visit a favela, the tours are - by default - the way to go. I would encourage them, however, to quietly and circumspectly give some handouts to the people directly because God knows those folks won't see a centavo otherwise.

--------------------------------------

ok what the first person wrote if crap. I live in favela of Rocinha and know exactly what I talk about.

I am a tour guide here and DO NOT have to pay any drug guy and I am not forced to do this.

When I am not giving tours I sell t-shirts that I made to tourists and have NEVER give anything to drug dealers..Where people hear this stuff is crazy.

The outsiders make the money for themselves. Favela Tour by Marcelo Armstrong supports a school Para Ti, in a small favela Vila Canoas down the road.

Maybe 15 years ago when the first tours started it was this way, but I can tell you that it is NOT this way now.

The traficantes do not even care about the tours or the money involved. They like the tours becase it presents the favela as a safe place that outsiders can come, if they want, to safely buy their drugs.

Over 1.5 million a month comes through Rocinha. What do they care about a few thousands through these tour companies.

I am writing a Blog: My favela Life
www.getjealous.com/rocinhajj
tell me what you think or if you have questions.

rocinhajj

Most middle or upper class brazilians have never been in a favela and have fears becase of what the news says. Anything and everthing on tv about favelas is negative, but favelas are much more than drugs and violence. We have many good honest hardworking people here in favelas.

Most Brazilians are classist and still have this slave-master mentality. People live in favelas becase this is the only option. When the middle and upper classes pay slaves wages, what do you expect. Favelas will always exist as long as employers pay low wages.

I love my home and living here never had a problem here.

rocinhajj

The baile funk parties of today are safe in the favelas..there is no more "Corredor de Morte" and fighting. The last thing the traficantes want is attention to their favela from the police. So, in the bailes, there is no more fighting. I go to funk parties two-three times a week and never see a fight happen. Many tourists come to our funk parties in Rocinha and are welcome guests.

Even milton says "I dont know anything about funk music", why he says he thinks they are dangerous..is becase of some stuff on tv..we all know tv exagerates everything.

Drugs are everywhere including outside the favelas. As long as you have people who use drugs...there will always be sellers.

Three weeks ago I gave a tour to three people from Europe who came to Rocinha at 2 in the afternoon and did not leave until 3 in the morning..and yes, I took these foreigners to parties here in the favela. The majority of my guests are students of portugues or brazilian studies or anthropology studies so their interest is diferent from some people on a zoo tour.

There is so much myths and lies in the news/tv about favelas and favelados!

Milton, not all favelas are in the hills, in Rio we call favelas.. in Sampa they call Perifeiria. But basically a favela is a poor area that does not have normal infrastructure. In Rocinha we now have landrights and deeds to property.

In regards to tours..your visit vary depending on your guide and if they are from the favela or not. I have over hear guides who were not from the favela giving false information. The tours are safe in Rocinha, over 200 tourists come a day...if it was very dangerous, they would never have tours. Yes, the traficantes know about the tours, but they really do not care about tours, they have other things more important to worry about!

If you want to know more about tours you can email me.

rocinhajj@yahoo.com.br


Chris

Rocinhajj

I have a couple of friends in rio and i asked her about going to a favela in Ilha da governdor and i said we could go to a funk party and she insisted that we not....she said she just didnt want to take a risk on anything. she said we could go to Rocinha for a tour but not a funk party anywhere in the favelas hahaha. so how is this possible that you took people to funk partys and nothing happened. but i agree that the tours are safe because she told me that the bad ass bope are in there taking care of bussiness that nothing would happen. but on your tours you do not go real far into the favela do you ?....like outside of where bope is operating ?

rocinhajj

I go everywhere because I am FROM here and Many times I have tourists who want to go to Funk parties no problems ever happen. I take people to funk party all the time..I do not understand what you talk about..

I had one small problem about 1 month ago with a tourist from the UK, who brought a camera into the party and was take fotos of things he was not to..The traficantes took his camera. He later came to me becase I speak english and told me what happened. I told him that he did a bad thing and not to expect his camera to be return.

I later talk with the traficante and got his camera back after they rase all the fotos. I have no problems to give people tours here and I never pay traficantes anything. They make so much money with drugs they do not care about tours.

I think most Brazilian have fear of favelas becase what the news say. I understand this. If I lived outside and all I hear is bad things, I would not want go too.

BOPE is not in Rocinha! They are in Santa Marta, Cidade de Deus and Periera da Silva favelas but BOPE have nothing to do with tours so I do not understand what you talk about.

If you ever want to come to Rocinha for a party just send me a message and you can come with me

I do not know what you talk about with BOPE, BOPE is in some favela but not all. Rocinha is my home, I only know about Rocinha. I know about Ilha do governador becase I made a party there (I am a DJ)

Kinsey

rocinhajj,

Thank you for the information. You sound very credible, and I tend to believe what you say. It's definitely good to hear that the favela situation is not nearly as bleak as most people think.

rocinhajj

Life in favelas is far from perfect. There is many bad things here, but there is so much good happening here too that the news never tell you.

There is a saying in Portugues that "Happiness and sadness walk side by side" and this is true in favela life. I am thankful in my life to be born here and not in some really poors country like some places in Africa or India where I think it is worst.

I welcome anybody to come to a funk party here in Rocinha. There are two type of funk party. One is called "Baile da Comunidade", these are the parties sponsor by the drug guys. The second type is the club Baile Funks which is held at Clube Emocoes in Rocinha close to the bottom of the hill. The club party is not involve with the drug guys and is the safest one to go. But I have been to other one and never had a problem.

Now just to be clear, there are some favelas that are very dangerous that it is not recomend to go there. Some favelas in Zona Norte, I would never dare go becase I have tatoo of Rocinha on my body and if the favela is run by another drug gang (CV or TCP) they would for sure, kill me.

Places like Chacara do Ceu, Vidigal and Rocinha is diferent. I have been there to all of these favelas and never have a problem with anybody.

Chris

Oo well this is nice...I might just come see you then if I can talk this girl into coming there lol...I thought Bope was in every favela if they were needed...espically Rocinha since it is the biggest in all of Rio and I might have thought it was more dangerous than others. I love the funk music coming out of the favelas. It would be nice to get a tour from you...

are the partys cheap to come to....i hear they are anywhere from 3 to 5 reais..and girls get in for free...is this true ?

rocinhajj

Chris,

The majority of favelas are control by a drug faction. there are some control by milicias and very few are control by BOPE.

In Rocinha we do have three police posts inside the favela. One is at the bottom of the hill near the pasarella, there is one in Paula Brito next to the bus area and the other is in Rua 2..But they do not do anythng. The traficantes pay them to do nothing. Curruption YES!

Rocinha is one of the biggest favelas yes but still under control of ADA (Amigos dos Amigos).

There are times when favelas include Rocinha are dangerous, usually when the police enter. But most of the time, things are tranquil.

The Bailes da Comunidade are FREE and happen on friday and saturday nights. The only time they cost money is there is special guest come to sing. These party are sponsored by the drug guys.

The baile at Emocoes (the club) cost 8 reais for guys and 5 reais for girls. This is probly the safer baile to go to becase no traficantes go there. It is a private club.

Chris

So favela life is really civilized until cops decide to come in and do things. the news and meida make everything sound bad so the favelas in Rio De Janeiro can get attention. hmmm I kinda had a feeling it might not be so bad. But you must be aware of what could happen and what if, you know what i am saying. So I was watching a moive and they were talking about why street kids act the way they do and why some people in the favelas act enraged and do bad thing is because nobody pays atention to them or even cares about them or gives them a chance to be able to do something for themseleves. If anybody wants to know the moive it was called Bus 174 hahaa...but it made alot of sense to me on why the poor may act like this and do the things they do.

rocinhajj

favela life for the most part is tranquil, just people going about their lives.

Like any place in the world there is good and bad. Favelas are no diferent. The laws of the favela are very simple. If you do not rob, steal, rape or kill, you can live a good life in favelas. I know, I do.

The risks of living in the favela are when the police come in shooting or a rival gang tries to come in to take over. Then it can be dangerous.

I do not think favela life is for everybody and I am not saying it is better or worst. I can only talk of my life.

Street kids is a seperate social problem in Brazil. It is sad that the government does nothing to help these kids. Street kids are just that..kids who LIVE (sleep) on the street. Favela kids are diferent becase they do have a home. It may not be like the middle classes home, but still it is not the street.

I saw bus 174 and this is one situation. That would be like me assuming all middle class kids who are into goth music are going to do something like Columbine.

The truth is..are there poor people who are criminals, sure there are...but do not forget that crime is everywhere and if you have money in Brazil (especially) and a good lawyer, this can get you out of trouble. What you call "White Collar" crime is everywhere and these are not poor people doing these things.

There are many hard working honest people who live in favela comunities.


Chris

Now I dont look at Rio De Janeiro as a bad place to go...I acutally can not wait to get there..

so how often does the gangs try to come in another territory and they start fighting and how often do the police come in shooting...also in bus 174 they said the police is not trained whatsoever...they know hardley nothing. How could this be, why do they not train these guys to handle situations and also not to be corrupt. why are they so corrupt...how hard is it to take a guy to jail if he is acutally doing something wrong. but i guess im forgetting the fact they dont get paid much so if the guy can pay him off so he wont go to jail they will take the money. but im wondering how much money they are giving them to pay them off so they wont go to jail ?....

rocinhajj

The gangs invade when they want to. I do not know personally when they make the plans to do this..

But we in the favela have a comunication system if the police or gang try to enter. There are guys in the gang who have fireworks, and when they light them off, it signal the gang and the favela that there "might" be trouble. What I mean by this is that sometime there is no troubles but is just warning to be aware of posiblilty.

The police are poorly trained and yes get poor pay this is why they bribe people. Why they are paid poorl? I do not know, But we all know who lives here that the goverment is currupt.

Just to let you know..I do know this: in Rocinha the gang pays the police about $8.000 reais a day to do NOTHING in the favela..so the police turn their heads the other way....its about greed! sad but true.


this is brazil!

Chris

yeah i have heard of this firework system...i have a friend that says she hears this quite a bit. but she does not live in a favlea just close to one.

so if the gang wants to set somebody on fire they can do it because they paid the police money to turn thier head lol.

rocinhajj

there is interesting way the traficantes set off their fireworks, much diferent from when people in the favela do it to celebrate a football team win...

the police do nothing...but if the traficantes want to kill somebody, they do it far up in the forest where nobody sees or hears anything.. So the police would never see this anyways..

You have to do something really really serios or bad to have the gang want to set you on fire..This death is called "Micro-onda" or "Micro wave" becase they put tires around you then light you up..this punishment is most comon for X-9 or "snitches"..
this is why I never even think to do anything wrong when I am there..my life is clean and simple and I plan to keep it that way..

Mark

So, when I finally get back to Brazil, if I decide to go to Rio, where should I go? What is there to do there? I'm not much for parties or the club scene, but I would like to go to the top of Sugarloaf and Corcovado. Are those two destinations alone worth going to the city? What else is there for a boring person like me?

Chris

Mark, Really thats all i ever hear of people doing when they go to Rio if they dont like the clubs and partying. theres a beach you can go to or take a favela tour lol I reckon that is about it..Miltion and Kinsey always say there are better places to go than Rio. and there prolly is.

Kinsey

Yeah, some people really like Rio, though, so maybe you should check it out. The beach culture is kind of interesting. You can buy all sorts of stuff from beach venders. Sugarloaf Mountain is a no-brainer. Also, I was really impressed with some of the restaurants there, so you might want to splurge for a few really good meals. Just make sure that if you come to Brazil, Rio isn't your only stop. :)

Mark

I need to get some good suggestions. And Rio will definitely not be my only stop.

rocinhajj

I think Rio has much things to offer travellers, but so does Minas Gerais or Salvador ..depends on what your interests are..If you like city life, you will love Sao Paulo, if you like beach culture Rio is where you should go..

I think of places like Ipanema or Leblon to be like Miami beach..tropical weather, great waves for surf, beatuiful people, great food etc..and Cariocas are friendly people!

Yes to do tourist things is good too...to get to know and understand the city...Cristo, Sugar Loaf, Santa Teresa, etc..

I live in the Rocinha favela and yes, I am a guide here, but I have other intention other than to make my living..

I want people to have a better understanding and apreciation for favela culture and the good things that exist here.....like my family and friends who love to meet foreigners.

Sanskar

I think it's not just a poor in Brazil characteristic eiethr. Watching the Lenny Henry etc series about living in the slums in Kenya (Comic Aid) I was struck by the amazing cleanliness, high standard of dress etc of folks living in the most desperately poverty-stricken conditions.Which brings me to a worry I've had festering for a wee while . why oh why is Africa seemingly the dominant/exclusive recipient of much aid from the UK?Is Latin America left to the fund-raising activities of US and Canada AND of course your good selves!???

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