24 | NOV 2017
ECO SWITCH
18 FEB | 2014
Øthers from Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The World Cup is already present in La Rocinha, but the promised improvements are yet to be seen
Teenagers play football in an alley of La Rocinha, Río de Janeiro. [Riccardo Romani]
The urbanisation process of the main shanty town of Rio de Janeiro appeared to be a strategic objective of the Brazilian Government, but so far only security has been improved, and at a high price.
A

visit to Rio de Janeiro does not necessarily include a visit to La Rocinha. Rio's main favela imposes its presence in the horizon and forces visitors to keep distance, without daring to go in. But in recent times, the militarisation that took place in the area changed the daily life of their inhabitants. In order to improve security, the people soon found out it was going to be more difficult to move freely in their own neighbourhood. Without the drug-traffickers, that were moved to the north of the country, the presence of the military in the favela is still strong. And the people who [...]

Journalist, writer, producer and director. Has been following stories worldwide for over 20 years. His reportages include chronicles from Somalia, Iraq, Mongolia, Haiti and Afghanistan. Works for Sky Tg24 and has written and directed The Election Game and Coca Nostra. In 2007 he has produced The Possibility of Hope with Alfonso Cuarón. His first novel is Le cose brutte non esistono.

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[...] live there, still without drinking water or sewers, now must go through several checkpoints to enter or leave. It's a little Palestine.
 
The perspective that I had, of a serious improvement prior to the World Cup and the Olympic Games, for the residents of Rocinha so far had meant nothing but a facelift, without definitive solutions. And we know that, once the World Cup is over, many of the promises will stay that way: as empty promises.

Meanwhile, in the endless corridors of Rocinha is possible to find people smiling and playing football, as this recent picture proves. Playing football against the wall, the kids remain as prisoners of their environment. 
 
The only true improvement that the World Cup has brought is regarding accomodation: due to high prices of hotels and inns in the city during the World Cup, people of the most famous favela offer their homes at an infinitely better price. They promise an "authentic experience" in Rio. There is no doubt about it, but is there anyone at all willing to pay for a true Rio experience? Or those who attend to watch their national teams will prefer the artificial Rio found in artificial tourist posters?

One way or another , it will be very difficult to see Rio 's Rocinha integrated to the city's heart in the near future. It's a lost opportunity. The Olympics, hopefully, will bring a second chance. [Ø]

Riccardo Romani
@riccardinoUK
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