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How do Rio’s Mayoral Candidates Stack up on Favelas?

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Mayoral candidates 2016 from left to right: Cyro Garcia; Marcelo Freixo; Jandira Feghali; Marcelo Crivella.

Most of Rio de Janeiro’s mayoral candidates pay lip service to the city’s favelas somewhere in their housing policy proposals, but of Rio’s 11 mayoral candidates only five have offered specific proposals for favelas: Marcelo Freixo (PSOL), Jandira Feghali (PCdoB), Alessandro Molon (REDE), Cyro Garcia (PSTU) and Pedro Paulo Carvalho Teixeira (PMDB).

Freixo’s list is the most extensive: he proposes an end to forced evictions, promotion of land tenure, redirection of Urban Orientation and Social Posts (POUSOs) to fight gentrification and guide densification, implement waste collection and street cleaning, and promote bed and breakfast-style accommodation in the favelas. Several other citywide initiatives would begin with favelas and low income areas, such as free high-speed Internet, affirmative action workplace policies and development of public recreational space.

Feghali’s proposals prioritize favela upgrades, land regularization and titling, and integrating the favelas with public service and transport. She also wants to build access low-cost routes to boost mobility within favelas, such as elevators and slopes.

Mayoral candidates 2016 from left to right: Indio da Costa; Thelma Bastos; Flávio Bolsonaro.

Molon wants to use community participation to develop local diagnostics so he can understand the favelas’ main issues–although arguably Freixo’s 18-month If The City Were Ours research, where he traveled throughout Rio engaging in public debates with residents to define priorities for different areas and demographics, has also done just that. Molon also wants to resume favela upgrading projects.

Garcia and Teixeira have the least substantial contributions: Garcia’s only policy is to end forced removals, while Teixeira, who represents a continuation of the current Mayor Eduardo Paes’ programs, says he wants to resume Morar Carioca to integrate favelas into the city. However, Paes’ record as mayor shows that the program was not a priority for the PMDB, as Morar Carioca was conveniently abandoned by Mayor Paes as soon as the 2012 elections were over.

Migueles’ only favela-related proposal is to create affordable housing options outside of the favelas. Meanwhile, Rio’s other mayoral candidates, Marcelo Crivella (PRB, and currently dominating the polls), Carlos Osório (PSDB), Índio da Costa (PSD), Thelma Bastos (PCO) and Flávio Bolsonaro (PSC) fail to mention favelas altogether in their manifestos, despite favelas representing 24% of the city’s population and its most vulnerable segment.

Mayoral candidates 2016 from left to right: Pedro Paulo; Carlos Osorio; Alessandro Molon; Carmen Migueles.