Brazil Prepares for World Cup on the Back of the City’s Poorest
Everything has to be big, shiny, nice and pretty for the two sporting events. Marcelo Chalreo, leader of the human rights commission of the Rio chapter of Brazil’s bar association, says, “The city has become the object of big business, big interests and mega-events.”
One couple, Dalvaneide Pequeno do Nascimento and her husband, Jucelio de Souza, were given a choice by city officials. Take the deal on a lump-sump compensation package for their house and move into an apartment in a housing project or leave with nothing. Afraid of being left homeless, the couple chose the apartment. They were assigned a one-bedroom unit in a project in the far-off suburb of Campo Grande. The housing project they were placed in is 35 miles away from their former home and even further from the upper-class home where she works as a nanny.
City officials have acknowledged that about 15,000 families were relocated. Rio’s leaders insist that the moves were only done to protect people in areas that were apt to see mudslides and had nothing to do with the World Cup or the Olympics. For the 2016 Olympics though, city officials have shown plans that they intend to resettle 278 families that are currently living on land that will become part of the Olympic Village.
Amnesty International’s side of the story is quite different. AI claims that 19,200 families in Rio and it’s suburbs have been forced out of their homes since 2009. A group that advocates for affected slum residents says the figure is closer to 100,000 families. Evictions and the Olympics go together like carrots and peas. Rio’s worst-case scenario is far less than the 1 million people forcibly relocated for the Beijing Olympics in 2008 or the 720,000 moved before the start of the 1988 Seoul Games.