Brazil Hopes Mega Reurbanization Project Will Steal Drug Traffickers’ Thunder

Brazil's Lula in Rio favela It was a rare scene: Brazil's president and his entourage visiting a favela in Rio de Janeiro. But there he was, this Friday, November 30, president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on a surprise visit to the Cantagalo, Pavão and Pavãozinho shantytown complex, in the heart of Rio's affluent South Zone, to announce the start of a national reurbanization project.

Most of these slums have been taken by drug traffickers and are very dangerous even for the military police. But, at least for one day, authorities exercised their authority using a strong security apparatus that shut down access to the area.

Just last week, the Rio police traded gunfire with Cantagalo's drug traffickers while they searched for a suspect that they believed had caused the death of an Italian tourist in Copacabana.

It was Lula's first visit as president to a favela. Talking to a group of slum residents the president said that the poorest of Brazilians keep "the Brazilian race essence" and promised dignity to the favelas dwellers.

"When a rich person lives in the hills he is chic," stated Lula. "When it's a poor, it's slum and shame. We are not going to build mansions, we have no money for that, but we are going to turn the places where you live into a decent and dignified place, you may be proud of."

In Cantagalo, the main project will be an elevator, which will link the hilltop to the Ipanema square, where a subway station is expected to be built. The president was cheered by the residents when he told his audience: "There are people who are going to say: why do poor people need an elevator. Elevator is for poor people naturally, to go up this hill with bags, gas cylinder."

40 billion reais (US$ 22 billion), according to Lula, will be invested in the next three years in the 13 biggest Brazilian metropolitan areas through a project known as PAC (Growth Acceleration Program).

The plan is to tackle sanitation and urbanization of the neediest communities. The state of Rio de Janeiro will get US$ 1.15 billion of this money at a clip of US$ 5.5 million a month, creating 10,000 direct and indirect jobs.

The government hopes that this injection of capital will weaken drug traffickers, who in some cases are the biggest employers in the favela. But the police will be alert just in case the drug lords decide to reclaim their territory.

"The money for the projects is much more than what is changing hands through drug trafficking. There's no competition there," says Vicente Loureiro, Rio's undersecretary for urbanization projects.


  • Show Comments (8)

  • Lloyd Cata

    Comic Relief for the Poor
    $22 Billion for the favelados? I don’t think so!

    A few of these favelados will benefit, but you will see as this program goes forward that many will be driven from their homes to make way for condos. This is not new at all. Bush gives $90 Billion for Katrina, but New Orleans is not a place you can be poor anymore. Does Lula give a job and then the house?

    Old Favela, New Condos. Same game – big program, lots of money, poor people will get nothing and lose their home. This is not prediction because it is same story with different faces.

  • Jony

    your reading and comprehension is as good as your basic math!!!! laugh laugh laugh
    The plan is to tackle (SANITATION AND URBANIZATION) of the neediest communities. The state of Rio de Janeiro will get US$ 1.15 billion of this money at a clip of US$ 5.5 million a month, creating 10,000 direct and indirect jobs.(FOR SANITATION and URBANIZATION) There are several aspects involving projects of such complexity and magntute that you WILL NEVER BEGGIN TO UNDERSTAND and it will cost at least 1.15 Billion Dollars. You basic 3 rd grade math that we are all sick and tired off should be kept for yourself only PLEASE!! Like Joao said You are not smart at all!!! You are a very simple minded man!!!Very!!!

    Your quick dammass spread sheet just dosen’t work does it?

  • ch.c.

    and the great Lula “”When a rich person lives in the hills he is chic,” stated Lula. “When it’s a poor, it’s slum and shame.”
    well it all depends of the house and the square meters…in my humble view !

    If he is not building new low housing, it means people will continue to live in their existing very poor houses…by defintion.

    But lets do another simple math even assuming the US$ 1,15 billion is correct :
    – a low cost housing, with water, electricity, sewage and roads would cost at least BRL 80’000 per house…even if small ! Or Us$ 50’000.- !
    Correct ?
    Then US$ 1,15 billion would build 23’000 houses….over 3 years, or 7666 houses yearly.
    In a city with over 3 millions people in favelas……whoaaaaaaa……what a difference that makes ???????????

    Ohhh I am wrong? The price is half that ? Doubtful it would cost that cheap but the result would be 46’000 houses…over 3 years !!!!!!!
    For a population of 3 millions in favelas.

    Whatever way you look at it, it doesnt smell good…..the basic maths…..made by Brazilian PhD, University degree with a grade of excellence…of course !!!!!!

    Laugh….laugh….laugh….laugh….laugh….laugh….laugh !

    Funny that no one pinpointed this “small” discrepancy in the announced budget !!!!!
    Normal….no one knows what he is talking about. After all, this describe the derepitated state of your education !

    😉 😀 😉 😉 😉

  • ch.c.

    “Let the building begin.” but cant be finished !
    do the basic maths again for Rio :
    US$ 5,5 millions multiplied by 12 months equals US$ 66 millions per year multiplied by 3 years equals US$ 198 millions…….NOT US$ 1,15 billion !!!!!!!
    You are all as great as Lula……..ysouuuuu the Brazilians !!!!!!!

    And you all should know by now what Lula promises are worth.
    Did he not promise to pave BR 163 ????? Promises made already by his predecessors….30 years ago. Not finished…..yet !
    Did he not promise to irrigate the North East with the Sao Francisco River years ago. Barely started by now !
    Did he not promise a reduction in corruption. It grew
    Did he not promise 400’000 MST settlements during his first mandate. Less than half were settled.
    Did he not promise 10 millions new jobs during his first mandate. Around half were created.
    Did he not promise 1 billion free condoms yearly and then 1,5 billion. Only 500 millions were given….and paid with a loan from the World Bank, instead of using the foreign currency reserves.
    Did he not promise a reduction of crimes in both the favelas and non favelas areas….year after year ! He sent the army a few times.
    Results? As many crimes as if neither the police nor the army ever existed.
    Ohhhh and I could continue on and on and on for a while.

  • James in Philly

    It’s about friggin time the Lula Govt has attempted to deal with the Favelas in a positive manner.

  • Farker

    Where were the crimminals when we need them?
    Incompetent dealers did not even attempt to shoot the fucker!! 🙁

  • João da Silva

    [quote]Let the building begin.[/quote]

    Trying to recall who uttered this phrase originally 🙁

  • AES

    Let the building begin.

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