Nemesis - One Man And The Battle For Rio


052015091820150919 (R4)

With Rio coming under global scrutiny, Rocinha is included in the 'pacification' scheme.

His name was Antonio, but they would call him Nem meaning 'babe' as he was the youngest in his family. From the infamous favela of Rocinha in Rio, surrounded by the comfortable middle-class neighbourhoods of Brazil's party city, he was a hardworking young father forced to make a life-changing decision. If the only person who will lend you money in a crisis is a drug baron, then the only way you can repay him is by going to work for the gang.

Nemesis is the story of an ordinary man who became the 'don' of the largest slum in Rio. It is a story of fate and retribution, of the inevitable consequences of moral collapse and the blurred boundaries of the law. Brazil's most wanted criminal, Antonio (or 'Nem') tried to bring welfare and a crude kind of justice to a favela of over 100,000 citizens; a world governed by violence and destitution, existing beyond the rule of an equally corrupt state. But his period of ascendancy coincided with the nation's attempts to earn international respect first of all through hosting the football World Cup and then winning the right to stage the 2016 Olympics.

This is the story of how change came to Brazil - a country's journey into the global spotlight and the battle for the beautiful but damned city of Rio as it struggles to break free from a tangled web of corruption, violence, drugs and poverty.

Episode 5:

The authorities cannot risk further internecine violence in the city which is due to come under global scrutiny. The policy of 'pacification' is escalated to include Rocinha.

Read by the author, Misha Glenny


MC Godô - Salvei minha filha (I saved my daughter - a favela rap about Nem)

Seu Jorge - Eu Sou Favela

Abridged and produced by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.