IS IT GOING TO LAST?
I want it to. And to this end I’ll deliver information, independent and objective, bilingual and multimedia, about the momentous transformation that began in 2008 in Rio de Janeiro.
Is it just a mask? In 2017, should we expect the BMWs to revert to pumpkins and the politicians to turn back into myopic rats?
A BLOG WITH AN AXE TO GRIND
I want it to last. I want the changes to be deep and real. I can see that the way cariocas are thinking and talking about favelas and their residents reveals new tolerance, concern and solidarity.
The more we know about what’s going on, the more we can contribute to the process, whether we are cariocas born and bred, transplants like me, onlookers, investors, tourists, transients, or cynics.
I will give you links, original reporting, questions, ideas, images, sounds, reflections, answers and more questions. No bullshit. You won’t have to read between the lines. My only agenda is I WANT IT TO LAST.
This is Rio Real, a blog created in 2010 by Julia Michaels, an American writer, editor and journalist who has lived in Brazil for more than thirty years.
If you speak both languages, I suggest you read both texts. I’ll be providing more context in English and more detail in Portuguese.
We’re still pinching ourselves. Only five years ago you couldn’t walk in Ipanema and talk on a cell phone, for fear someone would snatch it off your ear. Now everyone has a cell phone, everyone walks and talks. You thought cariocas were a relaxed sort.
But only now are they finally starting to chill!
Construction is booming, favelas have an increased police presence (and more social services as well) rents and real estate are up, jobs and income are on the increase, education indicators are heartening, frozen yogurt is everywhere, health and sewage are getting serious attention for the first time possibly ever, the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas is being cleaned, new restaurants and shops are opening, Brazilians are moving here from other cities, the beaches are policed, drunk driving is almost nonexistent, the Olympics are coming, the metro is expanding and best of all, key parts of the city are safer than since just about any carioca can remember. Politicians are buddies: President Lula da Silva, elected in 2002, and then President Dilma Rousseff, after 2011; Governor Sérgio Cabral, reelected in 2010 and mayor Eduardo Paes, reelected in 2012, are working in concert to turn around the decadence that set in back in 1960 when the capital moved to Brasília.
But will it last, will the politicians persist and businesses invest?
Please tell me what you want to know about. Meanwhile, I’ve got tons of questions…
Quero que dure. Para que dure, me lanço mar adentro pelas águas da mídia social para fazer oferenda à Iemanjá: informações, independentes e objetivas, bilíngues e multimídia, sobre a transformação histórica que começou há quatro anos no Rio de Janeiro.
É apenas uma máscara? Em 2017, os BMWs irão voltar a ser meras abóboras e os políticos, ratos míopes?
UM BLOG POSICIONADO
Quero que dure. Que as mudanças sejam profundas e reais. Constato que os cariocas pensam e falam das favelas e de seus moradores de maneira diferente do passado, que revela uma nova tolerância, consideração e solidariedade.
Quanto mais informações tivermos sobre o que acontece, mais poderemos contribuir, quer sejamos cariocas da gema, adotivos como eu, observadores, investidores, turistas, flaneurs ou cínicos.
Vou postar links, reportagens minhas, perguntas, ideias, imagens, sons, reflexões, respostas e mais perguntas. No bullshit. Nada de entrelinhas. Minha única agenda é QUERO QUE DURE.
Chegou Rio Real, um blog criado em 2010 por Julia Michaels, escritora, editora e jornalista americana que mora no Brasil há mais de trinta anos.
Se você fala tanto inglês como português, sugiro que leia os dois textos. O inglês terá mais contexto e o português, mais detalhe.
A gente ainda não acredita. Apenas cinco anos atrás, não se podia caminhar em Ipanema e falar no celular –apesar dos seguranças fortões da Richards e da Mr. Cat— pois um assalto era certeza.
Agora, todo mundo tem celular, todo mundo se dá ao luxo de perambular e fofocar. O carioca tem fama de ser relax, mas só agora a noia está começando a se dispersar.
Cresce o número de construções, temos as UPPs e a ocupação social das favelas, esquenta-se o mercado imobiliário, há mais empregos e a renda cresce, os dados educativos são animadores, as lojas de frozen yogurt se espalham, pela primeira vez a saúde e o saneamento básico recebem atenção pra valer, a Lagoa está ficando limpa, abrem-se lojas e restaurantes novos, brasileiros de outras cidades chegam para morar no Rio, nas praias temos o choque de ordem de verão já adentrando o inverno, a Lei Seca pegou, os Jogos Olímpicos estão a caminho, o metrô se expande, e o melhor de tudo é que partes importantes da cidade estão mais seguras do que qualquer época que o carioca consiga se lembrar. Em todos os níveis governamentais, os políticos se tornaram amigos de infância: Dilma, Cabral e Paes estão trabalhando juntos para reverter a decadência que se instalou em 1960, quando a capital se transferiu para Brasília.
Mas vai durar? Será que os políticos irão persistir e as empresas vão investir— ou seja, se comprometer com o futuro a longo prazo?
Me diga o que quer saber. Da minha parte,tenho muitas perguntas...
Reblogged this on msamba.
Yesterday one of the Curmudgeon’s friends wrote him from the USA: “I feel for you. The hassle of hosting the Olympics. I don’t know why anyone would want to agree to such a thing; it certainly would not be the people who actually live there.”
The Curmudgeon responded that he was wrong, the people who actually live here supported the bid to host the games—in fact, the people of Rio rejoiced!
One reason is that, when the bid was made and accepted, Brazil was in full-fledged growth mode. For the first time in almost a century, the Mayor, Governor and President were all part of the same poltical coalition, so money could be found at all levels of government. Moreover, the “pre-salt” oil boom was beginning and Rio was far and away the biggest beneficiary.
Another reason was that Rio’s bid contained a promise to leave a legacy after the games ended, and people hoped that it might just happen. The promised legacy included cleaning up Guanabara Bay—that didn’t happen. The legacy also included improving urban mobility—that did happen. Rio now has a new VLT, a new Metrô Line 4, several BRT lines, tunnels rather than elevated highways—even the super-crowded suburban trains have been upgraded. Downtown is now a much lighter, cleaner place than it was.
On the other hand, over 22,000 people were removed from their community dwellings to faraway places. The UPP system designed to make the favelas safe has failed, as the number of civilians killed by police (and vice versa) has grown exponentially. All the Olympic infrastructure was completed at the last minute—some with structural defects—at prices well over budget. [Please do not bike to São Conrado from Leblon without wearing an inflatable life vest.]
No one in Rio is excited about a “legacy” public golf course, because almost no one in Rio can afford to play golf. The housing built for the Rio2016 athletes will be converted into dwelling places almost no one in Rio can afford; nothing was built for hoi polloi.
Did we mention that Cariocas remember the “legacy” of the Pan American Games hosted here in 2007? Less than a decade later, a single sports facility built for that event was suitable for the Olympic games. The high-rise complex designed for lower-middle-class housing has become a white elephant, built over a swamp that was never properly drained.
Seven years ago, the Olympic Games of Rio2016 were supposed to be the final building block in Brazil’s campaign to be recognized as “a serious country”. Sadly, most people here (including The Curmudgeon) just don’t believe that any more. Given the political and economic crises, coupled with the vast corruption being uncovered, there’s a generalized sense of regret that Brazil, once again, just missed the boat.
Put another way, many Cariocas feel trapped in a leaky boat, navigating turbulent and polluted waters. But we resist.
The Curmudgeon submits that F. Scott Fitzgerald described Rio 2016 for Cariocas far more elegantly in The Great Gatsby: “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
Well put, Curmudgeon! I would only submit that the celebrations re the Olympic bid may have been carried out by public servants on Copacabana Beach. They’d been given Oct. 2, 2009 as a day off. And I think all of this takes place again a current that so far seems to be bearing us ceaselessly into something that is definitively NOT the past, the current of the Lava Jato investigations. Watching the joy over a young black woman favela resident’s gold medal, today, also gives me hope. A turning tide is always hard to categorize.