Thursday, February 02, 2006

No pay phones

In a little noticed decision from two weeks back, Brazil's largest telephone company won a court ruling that it is not required to install phones in Rio's favelas. This ridiculous ruling--based on a mistaken, outsider's view of what life is like inside the favelas--is a piece of legalized discrimination. There are lots of 'asfalto' operations (businesses owned by outsiders) that are operating in Rocinha and other favelas that never had to pay a 'vig' to the traffickers. Beer distributors have no problem distributing to the favela. Building supply firms too. The power company has run legal electric lines and sends employees to read the meters. But, somehow, the community is too dangerous for the phone company?

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