Brazil: 30,000 people displaced for sports events

A total of 3,099 families have been removed from their homes in Rio de Janeiro and another 7,843 have been threatened with removal as part of Brazil's preparations for hosting the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, according to a study released on May 15 by the Popular Committee of the World Cup and the Olympics. The group estimates that 30,000 people have been affected, based on the average number of people in the households. The study, "Mega-Events and Human Rights Violations in Rio de Janeiro," was produced with the collaboration of the impacted communities, the Institute for Urban and Regional Research and Planning (Ippur) and groups including the nongovernmental organization Global Justice

The city government initially offered 18,000 reais (about US$8,872) for each home. Residents said this wasn't enough even to buy the land for a new house. The city finally agreed to pay 40,000 reais (US$19,735), which residents said would pay for a two-bedroom house in the hills. "What we're seeing is an urban restructuring project without any participation of society," said Orlando Alves dos Santos Junior, an urban planning professor and one of the coordinators of the May 15 study. "In fact, what's going on under this pretext [of preparation for the sports events] is a serious urban intervention, on the basis of the real estate industry. The presence of inhabitants from the poorest classes has become an obstacle to be removed from the path." (Adital, Brazil, May 17, from Canal Ibase, Brazilian Institute of Social and Economic Analyses)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, May 19.