Ramblings & ephemera

Favelas, the slums of Rio De Janeiro

From Alex Bellos’s “Coke. Guns. Booty. Beats.” (Blender: June 2005):

In the slums of Rio De Janeiro, drug lords armed with submachine guns have joined forces with djs armed with massive sound systems and rude, raunchy singles. Welcome to the most exciting—and dangerous—underground club scene in the world. …

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is the glamorous city of Carnival, the statue of Christ the Redeemer and Copacabana beach. But the poorest fifth of its residents – about a million people, many of them black – live in the favelas, the claustrophobic brick shantytowns that cover the hills and sprawl chaotically out for miles into its outskirts. In the favelas, the city police have effectively relinquished control to armed drugs factions, who run their territory according to their own strict codes. Estimates put the number of young men involved in drug trafficking at between 20,000 and 100,000. It’s just like the movie City of God – only much more violent.

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