Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Could be good news for the favelas

On the surface, this seems like great news: $1.7 billion in real infrastructure for the very real residents of Rio de Janeiro's favelas. Finally, these communities will have government-sponsored water systems and other basic services. Brazil's president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, sounds a strong note of solidarity, refusing to blame the residents for the opportunistic drug gangs that occupy many of the favelas. "If the state doesn't fulfil its role and does not provide (adequate) services for the people, drug traffickers and organised crime will," President Lula said. "We want people to have road access, street lighting, hospitals and schools." BBC NEWS has details.

The devil, of course, is in the details, and it remains to be seen how this infrastructure program will be carried out and who will truly benefit. Let's hope it's more than hot air.

I hope any readers from Rio will keep us posted on whether this is one promise Lula will keep.

[thanks to Bryan for the link]

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