AP PHOTOS: Brazil's poor, Rousseff's solid support

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Children play amid tumbledown shacks in some of Rio de Janeiro's poorest hillside "favela" slums, places where armed drug traffickers lay down the law, stray bullets fly and raw sewage oozes into the streets.

For the poorest of Brazil's poor, daily life is a struggle.

This Sunday, they get a chance to make their voice heard when they join in the second round of voting for president, and they're expected to resoundingly support incumbent Dilma Rousseff and her Workers' Party.

Marcio Macedo, who lives in the Dona Marta shantytown, said he'll vote for Rousseff because she needs another term to fulfill her plans. "Even though she wasn't able to do all of her projects the past four years, she'll get to them now," he said.

While their circumstances remain dire, the lowest echelons of Brazil's social pyramid have seen the greatest improvement in their lives over the past decade during three successive Workers' Party governments.

A host of new social programs are providing tiny but steady sources of income, helping lift tens of millions of Brazilians out of hand-to-mouth survival.

Those programs have the turned the poor into Rousseff's bedrock support. Polls say the poor overwhelmingly support her against opposition candidate Aecio Neves.