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Favela Photos

By Jack Berglund

Rocinha is one of the oldest favelas (slums) in Rio de Janeiro and the largest in Brazil, perched on a steep hillside overlooking the city. I am lucky enough to be taken round by Alberto, a resident come tour guide for a close look at the streets, back alleys and to my surprise his own home in the favela.

Kids playing on a home made table tennis table with make shift bats in Rocinha

Two weeks prior to my visit, the Rio police occupied Rocinha in force in an attempt to drive out drug dealers and return order. Hundreds of special forces police and navy commandos backed by armoured military vehicles and helicopters moved into the slum before dawn.

Rocina Favela with a heavy police presence

From what I can tell, this was a move generally welcomed by the majority of residents who are hoping for a reduction in crime and better prospects for the future.  My guide, Alberto, has lived in Rocinha for over 30 years and took a ‘for now its good but we’ll wait and see’ attitude.  As a photographer, the good news is I am able to openly take photos which would have been impossible before the police action.

One of the many back alleys in Rocinha

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