Reshaping Rio: The Other Face of Sport
Hosting an event as monumental as the Olympics and the World Cup can be of great glee for a community but it comes at a painful prize for others less fortunate.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's second largest city will serve the 2016 Summer Olympics and will also participate in the 2014 World Cup of which they will host the final match. What should be a joyous announcement comes crashing down like a meteor to the favela residents of this city.
A favela is a slum where many people reside. At first the residents of favelas where victims of diaspora who settled in the urban banks. The state of Rio de Janeiro recognized these citizens and granted them the lands thus giving them a chance to thrive inside their community. In the late years the favelas have improved their living conditions and it's residents have created their own culture and history which is a true Brazilian heritage.
You might ask yourself what danger does the Olympics or the World Cup oppose to the residents of these slums? Well, the danger is that of eviction. The same reason that brought them to the favelas in the first place. Rio's mayor Eduardo Paes is evacuating these areas in the name of progress since the slums stand in the way of the construction and modernization the city needs to achieve in order to meet the goals set by the Olympic council and FIFA to earn their right to host these events.
The problem does not reside with modernization, there is nothing wrong with improving the city and hosting events of this magnitude, the problem here is that they have a deadline to meet, so the necessary arrangements are rushed and not planned for. This hasty project has hurt a lot of the residents of the favelas who have had their homes demolished and their history trampled upon for a trifle compensation that is not enough to secure a new home or a future somewhere else.
The government of Rio is collaborating on new housing projects to relocate the residents but the effort is not big enough to cover all families, and not all people apply to this program since they have to be registered for employment and most favela residents practice informal day to day jobs; also some residents cannot afford the federal payments that need to be met, which makes the project impractical.
The relocation of these citizens has been called unconstitutional, for the city is taking away the lands granted by the state, so even those people who do qualify for the new housing project sometimes oppose it because they see it as a violation of their rights and heritage.
Altair Guimaraes a 58 year old favela resident, builder by trade and activist, is leading the residents on a fight against the city to protect their rights, made his point of view known to the media: "They call us invaders. We are workers of this city and we should have land rights. Governments elected every four years don't have the right to decide my life, my history." Says Guimaraes on a government housing presentation.
Do you think the board of the Olympics or FIFA should interfere on the countries methods to become eligible to host their events?
Here I leave with you a short documentary by Journeyman Pictures that goes more into detail with the current situation in Rio.
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