Went to visit the community of Cidade de Deus, made famous the world over by the film of that same name, or in English, City of God. The community is much more impoverished than any of the other favelas which I have visited.  There are piles of rubbish strewn everywhere, with a lot of construction work going on too.  Looks like some footpaths, and sewerage systems are being put in.
Interviewed a UPP officer about the social projects that are being put in place for residents of the community under the auspices of UPP.
I also met an Anglican priest from the UK, who came to work in the community after seeing the film.  He said he could not understand how a community named City of God, could be so deprived and depraved, and decided to go there to see what he could do to help.
I went on to interview a resident of the community, Rosineide, who was born and raised in CDD.  She has two daughters, one with special needs.  Rosineide described how the community was before UPP arrived.  Kids as young as nine were enticed into trafficking groups and the young would die young.  They would maybe last until they were eleven or twelve, before being killed.  She remembers teenagers dying every day in the community, and mothers screaming and crying in the street because they did not know where to find the bodies of their sons so that they could bury them.
Often, the traffickers would arrive to a house, and abuse the daughters there before kicking the family out onto the street.  Residents had no eyes, and no ears, she said, and were not permitted to complain or show emotion.  People could be summarily executed for saying the tiniest thing.
All businesses in the community would be forced to pay out on the traffickers birthday, for example, so he could throw himself a party.  When a trafficker was killed, the schools and businesses would all close as all hell broke loose while members within the same faction engaged to shootouts to establish a new top dog.
This was couple with ongoing battles between CDD and neighbouring Gardenia Azul, a community subject to the control of a militia group.
Now, peace has entered CDD, Rosineide says, for the first time ever.  But, everyone is still afraid, because they have no idea what will transpire with a change of governance in the city, or indeed after the games.
Blog posted January 2012, refers to interview conducted November 2011
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