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On 15th of December 2013, elections took place in the Laboriaux sub-bairro of Rocinha, which re-established the residents` association of Laboriaux, AMAVL (sometimes known as AMAVLVC). AMAVL stands for the Association of Residents and Friends of Vila Laboriaux. When the VC is included (as in AMAVLVC) it is because the sub-bairro of Vila Cruzada, which is located at the very bottom of Rocinha on the border of Alto Gávea, is included within the administrative region of Laboriaux Residents` association. The election, the entire process going back two months, is widely considered to have been the most transparent and democratic in Rocinha’s recent history, at least since the early 1980s. This was the first election in years in which intense clientelism and voter intimidation did not play a role and it was the first local election to take place since the so-called pacification process began in November of 2011.
There were only two tickets, or Chapas as they are known in Brazil, for the community of roughly 3700 residents, plus another 2000 or so in the sub-bairro of Vila Cruzada. Chapa 1, with José Ricardo and Itamar Pontes, and Chapa 2, with Nena Mendes and Carlos da Silva. The campaign was friendly and the candidates in the two Chapas were and remain friends and neighbors. There was a fear that the larger more polemical residents’ associations at the base of Rocinha would interfere, and in fact in the very early process they tried to, but in time they realized that Laboriaux was not going to be an area easy to dominate, not anymore, and Chapa 1 easily won the election in which 440 residents voted, 300 to 140 votes.
José Ricardo, the new present, recently told us that now the real work will begin, we are starting from zero, with zero resources but we are energized and ready to fight to improve the quality of life in Laboriaux and Vila Cruzada, and all of Rocinha.