Increased Tourism In Rio’s “Pacified” Favelas: Encouraged by The Brazilian Government, But Is it Ultimately Fair to Inhabitants?
The traditional conception of a favela is being subverted in Rio. Every day, dozens of tourists are led through some of Rio’s most dangerous slums to witness the conditions of the favela.
In the wake of U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent visit to Rio de Janeiro, which included a tour through the notorious City of God slum, questions have been raised regarding the fate of Brazil’s hill-draped favelas. Brazilian and foreign officials have expressed concern related to the crime-infested favelas, especially in light of the upcoming Brazil-hosted 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
In an effort to calm international and domestic anxiety, municipal and federal forces are acting together to combat drug lords and rid favelas of potentially spoiling transgressors who could have a devastating impact on the country’s image. However, law enforcement agencies are not the only factions trying to bring about severely needed change. Favela tourism is also playing a role, with tourists acting alongside government officials to revise global attitudes toward these impoverished communities.
Favela tour guide Vitor Lira Adão, 30, says that he was already bringing tourists on tours through the favelas before they were “pacified.” He is one of the monitors of Rio Top Tour, a project created a year ago by the state government in order to incentivize favela-dwellers to bring in tourism.
“Foreigners have always been curious, even though they are aware of how dangerous it used to be,” says Vitor, who says that he never had serious problems while giving tours, except for one time when he quickly had to hide from gunfire…
…And Below is another video of a Brazilian Favela tour from Current TV.
In this video, Current TV producer Dre Urhahn follows a group of tourists on a favela tour to examine whether they exploiting the communities or helping them…
Here’s a decent article that touches upon the discomforting nature of the concept of a tour through a human-filled ghetto: Globalization or Zoo-Like Exploitation? Slum Tours on the Rise
So, what’s Portuguese Blogger’s take on all of this? Well, gringos obviously have a natural curiosity for what third world poverty looks like in a country so fun and “cultural” as brazil, they also clearly get an adrenaline rush from the possibility of witnessing violence. So, all in all i’d say that these favela inhabitants could make a good business out of this, just as long as the potential for the tour to be dangerous still lingers, in order to preserve that element of brag-worthy excitement. But it is slightly bothersome to me that the government wants to turn the favelas into some sort of “reality” Disneyland, it does seem disturbingly like a zoo, but i guess we’ll see what happens by 2016…
Also, watch this music video….