Earlier this week after class we were speaking to Jen, who informed us that the government had recently unveiled its plans to build a cable car, with 6 station stops and 2 lines to connect to the cities Metro service, which will run from the entrance of Rocinha to the very top. While the President and Mayor of Rio have urged that this development will be beneficial to the residents of Rocinha, the reality is not as bright!
Rocinha already has an abundance of tour companies operating whats known as the 'Favela Tour' which more often than not involves rich middle class tourists being walked through the favela (protected by their tour guide of course as all the guide boks say dont go to Rocinha alone only with respected tour companies) so they can see the 'real rio'. In my opinion the building of this cable car will bring with it an greater influx of tourists, who now wont have to walk around and see the poor sanitation and unhygienic way these people are forced to live, they can simply pay money to a cable car operator and get a lift which takes them straight to the' beautiful view' of the coloured houses piled ontop of each other cascading down the to mountain, and from that vantage point they can take some pictures to show everyone that they went to a favela!
The build itself will not only mean a rise in tourists, but also huge destruction to this community as they will have to demolish a substantial amount of houses and businesses to make way for the new stations. Jen's house is situated at the entrance of Rocinha and this will be the site of the ground cable car station, meaning her building along with many of her neighbours will be torn down. When discussing this she stated that many families in her building have lived there for generations, and are being forcibly evicted from their family home and there is nothing they can do about it. according to Erin(another 2bros volunteer) people of Rocinha lack the education which would provide them with a voice to mobilise and rally together to reject this proposal. They are caught in a viscous cycle because they are not educated enough to realise the injustices being done against them. It seems this is exploitation of those who are most vulnerable and it will continue as long as someone is making a profit!
With 6 open sewers still running through the streets of Rocinha Jen highlighted that basic sanitation improvements are the priority for most residents, along with improvements in education and a most efficient garbage collection.Even the architect, Luiz Carlos Toledo responsible for the plans claims "it will not bring any great benefit to the community" it will simply be a coup to bring more toursim and benefit the big companies who orchestrated this remodelling.
Masters Student from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London