Cosme Vinícius Felippsen

"Say what you will about me. Here I don't pay rent"

Coming from
Morro da Providência Morro da Providência

Now living in
Morro da Providência Morro da Providência

Cosme Vinicius Felippsen, 27, tourist guide, Providencia

The Providencia favela was the first favela in Rio de Janeiro, we have a lot of history. I live in the Ladeira do Farias part of Providencia. I have lived in that house for five years. City Hall started to take out some residents, I lived at the top of the favela, which could have been taken out too. City Hall took out a lot of houses. The Porta Maravilha project began in 2009, which was when the project was approved, these transformations in the port zone started happening. In 2010, the police pacification unit came up to Providencia, and in 2011 City Hall’s works began. I found out about it when the Porta Maravilha was launched in 2009, 2010, and we knew it would reach the whole of the port zone, and that they would also do some works here in Providencia, including the cable cars, and they would remove some residents, but we didn’t know how many. So I already knew about the works. It was only in 2011 when City Hall came here, without any public consultation, any kind of public audience, they already came here with the project ready to take out residents. When they started taking people out of Ladeira do Farias, and those houses ended up empty, we started to occupy some of those houses.

City Hall came to take out 832 houses. It was practically the whole favela. That was when a group of residents got up and went to the Public Defender to open a case. In 2012, there was an injunction which is still valid today, banning the evictions. City Hall still hadn’t marked my house out then. But in 2013 the mayor Eduardo Paes came here in this room, to talk to the residents, and found out I was living in the Ladeira do Farias, and in a formal conversation after the meeting, he said he would offer me two apartments to leave. The mayor told me this directly. After that, they went away.

Two apartments, for someone who has a history here, is not what we want. We want the favela to stay, and that this money that was used for the cable cars, all of it could be used for basic sanitation, for healthcare, for education. I’ve got my whole family here, my whole history, and I don’t have a way of leaving all this behind. But also I think after the Olympics they won’t be messing around with many things.  A lot of things will be dropped.

Reporter: Lara Norgaard, Matheus Wenna

Photographer: Lara Norgaard

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