Olimpiada Rio 2016

Mangueira Slum Has ' V.I.P Area' with Funk and Barbecue During Opening

Christ the Redeemer is high above, with Maracanã exploding in color around its feet. Surrounded by the slums of Salgueiro, Formiga and Andaraí, Roselena Anastácio's window is opened wide to the stadium.

The pulsating noise of helicopters mixes with the beat of samba and funk. With one eye on the TV and the other on the stadium, she doesn't tire of repeating: "Guys, it's so beautiful!".

Ever since she was born 36 years ago, Rose, as she prefers her name, has lived in Mangueira in an area called Pedra.

"It's a special moment. At least for now, isn't it?", she muses. "The city was all made over in a hurry. These patches won't last long. And then Rio will go back to normal", she complains. "It's only for gringos and the press to see".

And journalists certainly weren't lacking at the Olympic opening night on Friday (the 5th) on Mangueira's rooftops. Celebrating with lots of samba and song, the favela attracted flashes and cameras from all over the world.

Only at Rose's neighbor's house, which faces Maracanã, there were 14 teams with 26 journalists, nearly all foreigners.

The housekeeper's family rented out five rooftops. Some of them were worthy of V.I.P areas, with service including samba, beer, barbecue, vinaigrette and farofa - and tasty, salty appetizers.

Mangueira was 'pacified' in 2011. For Robério Vaz, 31, a guide, the Olympic opening night was special for the slum residents and especially so for him. He guided 50 journalists and members of the press to the rooftops with their spectacular views of Maracanã.

"I've gotten to know people from Germany, Argentina, Chile, Portugal and the United States, all tonight. Everyone is cool, everything is great", he commemorated.

Each news team paid R$ 120 (US$ 38) for a rooftop location. Beer, soft drinks and barbecue were charged separately. Mototaxis ferried the teams. On a normal day, a ride to the top costs R$ 3 (US$ 1) and on the weekend the price goes up to R$ 5 (US$ 1,50).

Baggage had its own price list: with cost varying from R$ 4 (US$ 1,25) to R$ 6 (US$ 1,80) per piece, depending on weight, estimated on sight.

According to Thiago Santana Peçanha, 31 Vice-President of the Mangueira Residents Association, the money collected was divided between the guides and the owners of the rooftops.

"We didn't receive any benefit whatsoever from the Olympics", he complained. By his calculations, the money used to refurbish the Maracanã stadium was more than six times the amount that the community needs for basic infrastructure work. "The party is happening in our backyard, but, unfortunately, we weren't invited."

The act of opening up the alleyways to the worldwide press can have repercussions beyond a simple tourism visit. It can also be good for Mangueira.

He explains: "With the press wandering around in here, we have the opportunity for the world to discover how we live, as a community in a poor place, and so, we can pressure the authorities".

Translated by LLOYD HARDER

Read the article in the original language

Diego Padgurschi/Folhapress
Mangueira slum has ' V.I.P area' with funk and barbecue during Olympics opening ceremony
Mangueira slum has ' V.I.P area' with funk and barbecue during Olympics opening ceremony