KATTY KAY, BBC CORRESPONDENT: There's a stubborn stubborn cloud hovering hovering over Brazil's economy these days. What seemed seemed an endless rise has given way to talk of recession, recession, gravity gravity has struck. But this black sheep of emerging emerging economies has done one thing very well very well It has brought people like Ronaldo Marinho out of poverty.
Ronaldo got a scholarship to study English in Vancouver. He is about to start University and he is heading up heading up into Brazil's new expanded expanded middle class.
RONALDO MARINHO (cable car operator): I went to get a degree in international relations and I really want to work with big events. You need to work hard. It's not like you can go to the beach, enjoy your day and it's not like that.
KATTY KAY: Why would you want to live in Canada?
RONALDO MARINHO: Oh, the country is amazing.
KATTY KAY: Ronaldo took me back took me back to his home, deep in one of Rio's famous famous shantytowns. These neighborhoods have been notoriously notoriously violent and they can still explode. This is a long walk every day.
RONALDO MARINHO: Oh yeah, this is.
KATTY KAY: Ronaldo's background is definitely humble, humble, but Brazil is full of contradictions. Poverty today comes with a large flat screen TV and Anisio, his father, has seen a lot of change even here.
ANISIO MARINHO SILVA (street cleaner): It's not ideal obviously, obviously, but compared to what we had in the past, not just for my family, but for this whole whole neighborhood, it's a lot better. Now, we have light, we have running water, the streets are paved.
KATTY KAY: From father to son, the fortunes of this family have changed because of a deliberate deliberate government policy to reduce reduce inequality. Brazil's success in bringing millions out of poverty is undeniable, undeniable, but you have to be honest. These favelas are still very poor, especially especially when you set them against the extraordinary wealth to be found just a couple couple of miles away.
Welcome to ritzy Rio and a world of big spenders. Despite Despite all the policies, Brazil is still the 12th most unequal country in the world and in Rio, the slums seem seem to tumble right into the rest of the City.
The expanding expanding middle class exploded onto TV screens with this massively massively popular popular soap opera. Avenida Brasil grabbed grabbed the reality of classes getting closer, which is why the show's writer, Joao Carneiro thinks it was such a hit.
JOAO EMANUEL CARNEIRO (screenwriter, Avenida Brasil): If you talk about the population of Rio and if you talk to someone that is a driver in a cab or someone who is a doctor, you should talk about more or less the same revenue. That's a big change for Brazil.
KATTY KAY: Not everyone has seen that change. Asinio Marinho will never know his son's dream of dream of a life abroad. abroad. He is stuck sweeping streets. As he says, it's good and it's bad.