By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives John Boehner visited one of Rio’s favelas yesterday, as part of the three-day official visit to Brazil. Boehner visited the Vidigal community in Rio’s Zona Sul (South Zone), which was recently taken back from drug traffickers is a high-profile pacification operation also involving Rio’s biggest favela, neighboring Rocinha.
Armed security officers were present throughout the visit, as the group of U.S. lawmakers visited the famous “Arvrão” viewpoint on the Morro do Vidigal.
Rio Security Secretary José Mariano Beltrame discussed with the delegation the concept of divided cities, drawing attention to the contrast between favelas and neighboring Leblon’s record high real estate price tag.
Beltrame added that the UPP (Police Pacification Unit) in Vidigal would be set up by the end of the month.
“What’s happening Rio – which, like Brazil, is going through a lot of progress – is a great example of action aimed at bring a society together,” Globo News quoted Boehner as saying, who later went on to meet Rio Governor Sérgio Cabral.
When U.S. President Barack Obama visited Rio de Janeiro in March 2011, he took a look at famous Cidade de Deus (City of God) favela in Zona Oeste (West Zone).
In the U.S. political system, the Speaker of the House is second in the United States presidential line of succession after the Vice President. Also U.S. Ambassador Thomas Shannon and Consul General Dennis Hearne accompanied the U.S. Congressmen Delegation on this visit.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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