20/11/2013 08:19 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

England's World Cup Hotel Location a Nest of Social Unrest


A view of England's hotel from inside the Favela Da Rocinha

Photo:Mohamed Soudy

The England team has qualified, the thousands of faithful followers are booking their flights and everyone is on their way to have a jolly old party in Brazil.

The FA has also indicated that Roy Hodgson and his men have confirmed they will be staying in the luxury five-star Royal Tulip hotel in the beautiful city of Rio de Janeiro.

But as fancy and tranquillo as the location sounds, it could be a concern for the team and heap misery for the surrounding residents that reside a stone throw away in South America's largest slum, the favela da Rocinha, for a number of reasons.

The hotel is a small distance away from the famous spots of Ipanema and Copacabana, but it's also a stone throw away from Brazils most notorious shantytown.

The hotel is also infamously known in Brazil for a stand off between 10 armed drug traffickers, who took 35 hostages inside, and Police in 2010 when called "The Intercontinental Hotel".

Despite harsh conditions, residents sandwiched on top of each other in close quarters, are hard working, resilient, friendly and make do with what they have.

But there is also a long history of gang culture and social oppression due to years of state neglect.

Rocinha, was previously a no go police zone and was controlled by a heavily armed gang, The ADA, Amigos dos Amigos (friends of friends).

However, in November 2011 the governor of Rio, Sergio Cabral and Mayor Eduardo Paes, ordered a military type assault in the favela to reign in the drug gangs to liberate the residents from their control. This new controversial strategy was called "Pacification".

The next step was to improve social conditions, security and maintain a permanent police unit inside the favela.

However, two years after pacification, residents in Rocinha still live without the most basic services expected in the 21st century.


Kids from Rocinha protest for better social,Education,sanitation and living conditions

Photo:Mohamed Soudy

Many have no hot water, suffer constant water and power cuts, slow garbage collection, which results in piles on the streets and down residential alleyways, and the biggest concern amongst the locals is the many open sewers that still have not been covered.


Open sewers and slow or no garbage collection is still a major health hazard and concern for Rocinha residents

Photos:Mohamed Soudy

Security could also be a concern. The recent shooting of a German tourist in Rocinha, continuous shootouts between rival gangs and police and the recent tragic sexual abuse and murder of a nine-year-old girl, indicates changes since the announcement of the World cup and the decision to pacify Rocinha and other favelas such as Complexo do Alemao and Manguinhos.

While these crimes are committed globally and not only by residents of favelas, it demonstrates the lurking dangers since pacification, as these crimes were rare and almost non-existent before the pacification process.

For years favelados, (favela residents), have complained of mistreatment, abuse and heavy-handed police approaches during security operations.

These allegations have increased since the security clampdown for the world cup and the existence of a permanent police presence inside the slum.

An example of this was the tragic story of 43-year-old, father of four, Amarildo.

The Bricklayer was allegedly taken into police custody while on his way home and has never been seen again, although Police claim they released him.

The incident caused a lot of media attention and subsequently ten police officers and their Inspector have been arrested on allegations of his torture and murder.

The presence of the England squad less than a mile away has concerned the locals as fear grows security forces will be even more heavily handed on residents in the name of implementing security.

Another worry for the residents of England's presence is the continuing high costs of living during the tournament, an already controversial issue in Brazil that has seen many violent protests in recent months.

Most Locals will not afford to go to the games and will struggle to afford the rising prices on everyday product due to the influx of football tourists.

All the major hotels and hostels will be fully booked or too expensive, so fans will be looking for cheaper alternatives while also experiencing Brazilian culture by renting in favelas.

Elliot Rosenberg, founder of the favela accommodations site for travelers "Favela Experience (" said

"Besides being significantly more affordable than other accommodation, staying in a favela is the way to authentically experience Brazilian culture when most neighborhoods will be overrun by tourists."

Rocinha, is currently experiencing a transitional period, the heavy military police presence, the occasional sound of gunfire during the day or night and the constant protests for social changes that's all happening in the surrounding proximity of England's hotel, could turn out to be a volatile neighbourhood for the team to stay.

It could also be argued that its morally wrong on behalf of the FA and England staff to reside there due to the allegations of abuses, neglected social projects and poor living conditions the residents suffer on the doorstep of the luxury five star hotel.