Why the 2016 Olympics have come at great cost to many for the benefit of few…

in #politics5 years ago

The 2016 Olympics have arrived and Brazil is going to extreme lengths to show the world an unblemished face

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…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,
source: http://shots.deadspin.com/leo-correa-images-in-the-shadow-of-the-maracana-1587203762

…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.

140417201038-13-rio-0417-horizontal-large-gallerybc6f3.jpg
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.

Olympics infrastructure projects have an established legacy of doing great harm to the communities in their immediate area for the benefit of owning class

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Great article @desmonid. Looks like you did some solid research for this and I'm glad that you're talking about this because I haven't seen enough people doing so at all. I don't understand why Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil agreed to play the opening ceremony. For people who could be consider revolutionary, it saddens me that they'd be complicit with something so destructive.

+1 could not have said it better myself

Great write up, always solid content!

Well thought out and brings to light many points I have never thought about, especially the legacy of oppression that is left behind.

Thanks for reading my article!
Together we can expose the IOC and other human rights abusers.

I was talking to a guy who has been to Brazil and I asked about how bad it was and he told me that oh it is fine as long as you stay in the touristy areas. I thought to myself yea the touristy areas will be nice because they want your money. It's the areas of most of the country you don't see that are so bad. I've read stories about how some barrios have a constant military presents just to keep the innocent people safe from the wide spread crime and corruption.

I would agree, these issues aren’t just exclusive to Brazil and massive scale sporting events, in fact as you know, it is a colonial blue print, which has been used for centuries. Resources are exploited, divide and conquer is implemented within the communities, crippling of the economy takes place, accumulation of as much wealth is concentrated amongst a few, and then follows the exploitation of the indigenous peoples desperation. Puerto Rico, is currently facing the majority of the same issues, minus the large scale sporting event and is causing an influx of people to arrive in Florida.

While, America, is trying to prevent another taxpayer bailout, through restructuring of Puerto Rico’s Debt, it interesting to know the International Olympic Committee, categorizes Puerto Rico, to be it’s own country, even though it is a U.S. Territory. There is an oversight board, which has been put in place and none of who’s members are indigenous to island of Puerto Rico. It is unfortunate, how much destruction can follow, when a concentration of power is restricted to few. We’ve seen it play out in history many times.

I’ve been listening to various new outlets and the pictures painted are ones of carefree and happy go lucky sporting events, providing a huge lift to not only Brazil’s economy, but other world economies as well. One woman is quoted as saying “It’s so much fun here. They have big screen TVs, there’s music, everyone is dancing and having a good time.” Yet, your post, paints a clearly different picture, which mainstream media usually wants to avoid.

You certainly have a lot of valuable things to say. I'd love to see you posting your own social commentary :)

I complain a lot about the NCAA but that is NOTHING compared to how filthy the IOC is. The corruption is flat out disgusting.

Social commentary has always been my fave reading, even disguised as fiction (as one can see in anything Heinlein) keep up the good work!

Thank you for the support! I will definitely be continuing to write social commentaries for the reading pleasure of the steemians. :)

anyone with time please Check out my most recent original post and upvote if you find it worthwhile