Why is Brazil such a ghetto

Brazil: The wild life in the slums of Rio de Janeiro

by Jan Christoph Wiechmann
Before the Olympic Games, Brazil is in a deep crisis. But there are places of hope. The Favela Vidigal is to become the model for the transformation of Rio. GEO reporter Jan Christoph Wiechmann and photographer André Vieira lived there for a few months

Nobody knows where the rumor came from, but in early April it's everywhere. The Red Command, Rio's most powerful drug cartel, is planning an invasion of the Vidigal favela. A few days later, school children saw five men with assault rifles in the nearby forest. And then a message arrives from a neighboring favela: There were five dead when the Red Command marched in. Next, they say, it's Vidigal's turn. The main prize.

A few months earlier I moved to the favela on behalf of GEO, to a windowless room by the rainforest, where clothes go moldy faster than fruit. Through the thin walls in the labyrinth of alleys you can hear the neighbors' sex and their children's goodnight prayers, but the view in front of the door compensates for that: it leads across a sea of ​​red houses to the Atlantic Ocean and the beaches of Ipanema and Leblon, those golden stripes between mountains and sea, which made Rio famous for its main export product: lifestyle.

In the past four years, Vidigal has become cool, as the city's first favela. More than a thousand foreigners have settled in the poor district, there are lots of samba parties, even stand-up comedy and fashion shows, luxury apartments and sushi restaurants are being built. Apparently David Beckham and Madonna bought houses, but no one can confirm these reports.

Curious? You can find the whole article in GEO Magazine 08/2016 "The Art of Letting Go".