The Brazilian government announced an investment plan worth over $1.5 billion (USD) to improve living conditions in Rio De Janeiro’s shantytowns. The police has stepped up police presence over the last 3 months, mounting operations which have left several dead and many very angry. The shantytowns, or favelas, were created as large populations of Brazil’s poorest were displaced. It allowed them to be close to work, without having to live in an area they felt unwelcome. It is important to note that Brazil’s favelas are a consequence of the country’s unequal distribution of wealth.

In fact, approximately 20% -or over 1 million- of Rio De Janeiro’s population live in favelas, most of which are a stone’s throw from multi-million dollar estates. Residents live on less than $100 (USD) per month, in houses made of brick, metal, and cardboard. Police raids targeted drug gangs which rule a majority of the city’s 600 slums. These drug lords provide food, medicine, gasoline, and protection for the residents. They have slowly gained support because of a failure of government leaders to come up with a solution to this growing problem. The money will be used to improve sanitation and provide running water. President Luiz Silva said the effort would help combat ongoing violence which plagues almost all of the favelas.

The money could just as well be a way for the government to delay coming up with a permanent and effective solution to the ever-growing gap between rich and poor. Nevertheless, this is a step in the right direction. Although it will be a difficult task, the residents must also unite to curb the violence and improve their living.,4670,BrazilViolence,00.html  

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