Colin Burke: A letter from Rio and why we have a lot to be thankful for
ABOVE the hilltops in Ipanema lies La Rocinha, a favela of some 70,000 people and most recently the residence of Rios biggest druglord, Antonio Lopez. Busted and imprisoned last week after 15 years of control. He is only 35.
This is one of 600 favelas that sprawl across ´The City of God´. They line the motorways, crawl the hilltops and climb the mountains building layer upon layer on top of each other - shantytown skyscrapers.
According to our guide, Manuel, there´s approximately 1200 favelas in Brazil churning out drugs, guns and gang warfare but they´re also the birthplace of some of Brazils most famous footballers - Ronaldo, Romario, Ronaldinho and the greatest of all, Pele. Alot of art, craft and music also comes from these amazing habitats - a point Manuel insistently refers to.