Brazil: World Cup’s Nationalist Hype Fails to Curb Struggle Against Displacement

Dispatches From Brazil’s World Cup:  Real Estate Frenzy Provokes ‘Psychological Attack’ to Oust Favela Residents
Dave Zirin, The Nation, on June 18, 2014
Graffiti on the walls of Vila Autódromo. On the Brazilian flag, instead of "order and progress", "freedom" is written across the iconic blue globe. June 17, 2014. (Photo by the author)

Graffiti on the walls of Vila Autódromo. On the Brazilian flag, instead of “order and progress”, “freedom” is written across the iconic blue globe. June 17, 2014. (Photo by the author)

 

Before returning to the favela Vila Autódromo for the first time since 2012, I had already been told that the community would not look the same. As a friend said to me, “It will resemble a perfect smile with several teeth knocked out.” Vila Autódromo is situated just yards away from the site of the 2016 Rio Olympic village, and Olympic planners as well as construction interests have long targeted this close-knit community for demolition. Located on an achingly beautiful lake, where glittering new high-rise condominiums have sprouted “seemingly overnight”, the city’s business and political leaders see prime real estate, with pesky favelados in the way of their development dreams.

Despite a fierce resistance to their removal that has stymied the efforts of Olympic planners, I had heard before arriving that 150 of the 500 families living in Vila Autódromo had left. I expected many of their homes, places I had visited, to now be piles of rubble. What I did not expect was the absence of trees. Continue reading

Reaching for “World-Class” Glory, the Brazilian State Unleashes a Reign of Terror in the Favelas

[In Brazil, the international promotion of a global sporting event, the FIFA World Cup of 2014, has driven a “sophisticated, cosmetic” PR and brutal policing and counter-insurgency program.   In this article, The Guardian describes the deadly repression of the poor, and  the “charm-the-tourists” propaganda campaign of the Brazilian state. — Frontlines ed.]

———————————-

Brazil’s favelas are in big trouble, despite the World Cup marketing push

, theguardian.com, Sunday 18 May 2014
'In Rio de Janeiro, the number of deaths in conflict with the police rose by 69% from 2013 to 2014.'

‘In Rio de Janeiro, the number of deaths in conflict with the police rose by 69% from 2013 to 2014.’ Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images

This week, a study by Amnesty International revealed that 80% of Brazilians are afraid of being tortured by their own police force on arrest. In a survey across 21 countries, Brazil was found to be the country where people feel most unsafe in the hands of authorities, almost twice the international average of 44%.

In Rio de Janeiro this fear is very real. Although the media has reported the efforts to pacify favelas across the city, armed violence has once again escalated in the city – weeks before it will receive thousands of football fans for the 2014 World Cup.

Back in 2008 favela residents dreamed of a life without violence as the government unveiled a project to build Pacifying Police Units (UPPs) in which policemen would be stationed to take back territory controlled by drug gangs for decades. Today the failures of this programme are starting to show – and a corrupt and violent police force is the main cause. Continue reading

Brazil: “The Validity of revolutionary violence”

By R. Mineiro, Posted on 18/06/2013 in the blog of the newspaper, The New Democracy (rough translation by Revolutionary Frontlines)

We can see in the streets, the sizzling legacy of the Confederations Cup. Thanks FIFA.

The powers and communication monopolies, astonished, say they do not understand the meaning of such revolt. Isolated in their artificial paradises, they  are scared to face the country. After ten years, hope returns, and things like this happen. The day dawned, “Every night has its dawn, rays of light break through all the darkness.” “Brazil woke up”, this phrase could be read on posters of many walls. Waking to dream.

In a historic night, lucky are those who could not sleep. The restless eruption of that attack is much more heartening than anything the defenders of the old fort have ever done.

The reactionary ruling classes, amidst the nightmare of the streets, make its plans to empty the demonstrations. Last week we saw the venomous attacks of its spokesmen. Arnaldo Jabor said that the youth was not worth a penny, Luiz Datena called us vandals and troublemakers. After it became clear that repression only increased the rebellion, the discourse changed. Yesterday, Jabor spoke of a generation that finds ideas; Datena told the CQC, which despite being in the media police, his specialty is human rights.

What a change in just one week. Now watch their “security experts” explain the demonstrations. The media often gives tips on how to behave in a job interview. But now we hear news reporters give us lessons about what we should or should not do in our protests. Continue reading

Brazil under fire for World Cup slum evictions

By Stuart Grudgings

RIO DE JANEIRO | Tue May 10, 2011

(Reuters) – Like his house, Jose Santos de Oliveira is an island of resistance.

The middle-aged gardener and his home stand amid the sea of rubble that remains of the slum community of Vila Recreio 2 in the west of Rio de Janeiro.

The mistake of the around 200 families who used to live here? They were in the way of Brazil’s make-over to host the world’s biggest sports events in the coming years — in this case, one of three new bus routes aimed at easing congestion.

The 2014 soccer World Cup and the Olympic Games in Rio two years later are spurring a multi-billion dollar drive to upgrade Brazil’s creaking infrastructure. But as work gets under way it has run up against a barrier — Brazil’s unequal society and chaotic urban planning that has seen hundreds of slums spring up throughout cities like Rio in recent decades.

Rights groups say poor residents appear to be losing out, raising early questions over whether the double-header of sporting “mega-events” will help heal Brazil’s deep social divisions or worsen them. Continue reading