Favela centennial shows Brazil communities’ endurance

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SAO PAULO (AP) — One of Sao Paulo’s biggest favelas is celebrating its centennial — a sign of the permanence and resilience of poor communities that were once thought of as temporary. Paraisopolis community leader Gilson Rodrigues says that authorities didn’t do much to help the local residents, “so we learned to organize ourselves.” Across Brazil, 11.4 million people live in low-income neighborhoods that the national statistics institute classifies as “subnormal agglomerates.” That includes not just favelas, but also invasions, grottoes, lowlands, stilted houses and the like. They share histories of irregular occupation and deficient public services.  

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