Antonio Ximenes (A Community Leader Remembered)

On July 27th one of Laboriaux’s most beloved and respected residents passed away. Antonio Ximenes was born in 1949 in the northeastern state of Ceará. He moved to Rocinha as a young man, originally settling in the area around Valão and Boiadeiro. Ximenes, along with Seu Martins and others affiliated with Rocinha’s Catholic Church, played a pivotal role in the development of Laboriaux, from the initial negotiating and planning of the community with government officials, to being one of the first residents to move to the area in 1982. Ximenes, or Torcera as he was also known, was president of Laboriaux Resident’s Association four times, and he is considered by many to be the local leader that accomplished the most for the area. Ximenes was a simple but wise man, with a great sense of humor. His house in Laboriaux, one of the original model homes built by the government in the early 1980s, remains virtually unchanged after all these years. This is a testament to his honesty and humility, considering the mysterious wealth that so many local leaders and politicians acquire during their term(s) of office. Ximenes’ wife Dona Maria, died a couple years before him, and his health noticeable deteriorated afterwards. Both Dona Maria and Ximenes were beneficiaries of Mundo Real’s work in Rocinha, and Ximenes helped us on several occasions as well. Ximenes was a devoted fan of Botafogo Football Club, and to this day the team’s official flag hangs from the side of his former home. Ximenes laid the ground work for the movement against forced evictions, and was passionate about housing rights and bettering the situation for Rocinha’s disabled and sick residents. He was deeply loved and is dearly missed.