The 2016 Olympics have arrived and Brazil is going to extreme lengths to show the world an unblemished face
…and the people of brazil are paying the price.
The 2016 Olympics are a continuation of a decade-long effort by Brazil to sweep their poor under the rug for sporting mega-events
Photo of Mangueira slum of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in the shadow of the World Cup stadium,
…like the 2007 Pan-American Games, the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and now the Olympics. In preparation for the world cup, thousands were forcibly displaced to make room for the stadium and its supporting infrastructure. Officially, these displaced residents are largely to be covered under the Morar Carioca program to improve the favelas of Rio. However, this program has yet to be implemented and the total displaced for sports infrastructure and related real-estate projects continues to grow. In preparation for the 2014 World Cup, the lower-cost standing area in the host stadium was demolished to construct additional seating. This move effectively banned the lower classes from attending soccer matches there, and ensured the relatively wealthier international attendees would not be inconvenienced by seeing poor people at the event.
In absence of state assistance, some communities sought their own solutions...
Naturally, those thrown out onto the streets didn't have the time to wait for bureaucrats to provide the aid that was not forthcoming, and sought their own shelter. In April of 2014, members of a Homeless Worker's movement occupied a building which belonged to the Telerj corporation but had been abandoned for twenty years. The building and surrounding area quickly became home to thousands of families.
I would say all human beings have the right to food, water, and shelter, but the state of Brazil clearly disagrees:
"At dawn on April 11, 1.600 heavily armed military police invaded the area. Sleeping women were kicked awake, huts were knocked down, everyone was sprayed with chemical spray"..."Occupants allege that four infants succumbed to the chemical spray and rumors circulated that one of the reasons for keeping reporters out was to prevent them from witnessing the fatalities."
Remember, it is the state which displaced these people in the first place. The fact that these people have been denied their right to shelter, twice, ought to be a national embarrassment for the Brazilian people.
The people haven't taken this treatment sitting down.
Militarized Police Officer Patrols Complexo da Mare http://edition.cnn.com/2014/04/24/sport/football/brazil-world-cup-favela-slums/
Unfortunately, the resistance of the residents of the favelas to the unfair (literal) dismantling of their communities has been met with police occupation. The police have quickly become the largest gang in the favelas of Rio De Janeiro. The police summarily execute the poor people and write up the incident as "Resistance followed by death" - a practice not dissimilar from the many protesters and various rabble-rousers arrested in the United States for resisting arrest and nothing else.
Victims of "Resistance followed by death" account for about 16% of ALL HOMICIDES in the city of Rio de Janeiro in the last five years.
In Preparation for the Olympics the pressure has been increased
The state was greatly embarrassed by the protests of the world cup, (which were hardly covered by international media) and this time around they are preemptively targeting protesters with a draconian 'anti terrorism' law which could criminalize protesters seeking to leverage the media coverage of the Olympics. Freedom of assembly has been completely nullified by this law.
The Olympic campus was built under highly unethical conditions.
The apartments which will house the international media throughout the 2016 Olympics have been built by workers which were subjected to 'conditions analogous to slavery.' The workers lived in structures which had no drinking water, were covered in cockroaches and mold, and had no hygienic facilities.
The construction efforts have also been highly destructive to the environment. Crews have cleared large amounts of forestation and dumped hazardous chemicals with irreverence for Mother Earth. A waterway near the 2016 Olympic village is full of dead fish.
These problems are not unique to Brazil, and they leave a legacy of oppression
After the international circus leaves the Olympics and other sporting mega-events, the host countries are left with massive additional sports and security infrastructure which was purchased to support these events. This infrastructure often serves to further perpetuate the economic inequalities which it originally produced when it is re-purposed or sold off to investors far below cost.
- Almost certainly some of the security-apparatus used to suppress recent protests in Athens was left by their earlier Olympics.
- More than 1.25 million people were evicted from their homes to make way for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
- The Sochi Olympic infrastructure project funneled billions of dollars worth of assets and contracts from public to private hands in a way that was blatantly corrupt
- After being paid for on the public dime, the Maracana stadium, which hosted the 2014 world cup, was effectively privatized after a company bought the rights to manage the stadium for the next 35 years.
- This phenomenon is already brewing in Tokyo, which is set to host the 2020 Olympics, where up to 2,000 households already face eviction to make way for the games.