Episode
October 11, 2011

Favela residents face eviction for World Cup and Olympics prep

Brazil’s government is undertaking a massive cleanup of its urban slums, also known as favelas, but some residents are being left behind.
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Brazilian authorities are evicting thousands of favela residents from their homes in Rio de Janeiro and other major cities to make way for new infrastructure developments in preparation for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

While many residents have already been relocated and re-housed, some remain homeless, and re-housed residents say the new homes provide are less desirable and offer poor security. About 1 million of Rio’s 6 million residents currently live in favelas.


View Favelas-Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in a larger map

Residents who refuse the government compensation and relocation packages have reportedly been forced from their homes. In some cases, demolition in a favela had begun before replacement housing had been fully built, and families were forced to remain in homes surrounded by rubble.

Amnesty International and other advocacy groups have spoken out against the evictions, but Brazilian authorities argue that newer housing developments offer residents a healthier and more permanent living environment.

The demolitions are part of an ongoing effort to manage drug trafficking and violence endemic to Brazil’s sprawling urban slums. In recent years, authorities have installed “pacifying” police units (called the UPP) intended to eliminate the influence of gangs in the favelas, but military police under the authority of the central government stepped in after UPP officers became embroiled in the drug trade themselves.

What do you think? Are these evictions necessary? Do the economic benefits of hosting these sporting events outweigh the negative effects linked to their preparation? Tweet your comments using the hashtag #AJStream.

In this episode of The Stream, we spoke with Theresa Williamson of Catalytic Communities, a non-profit group in Rio, and Manuel Thedim, Executive Director of the Institute for Work and Society in Rio de Janeiro.

These are some of the photos featured in this episode of The Stream.
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