In Rio, evictions are taking place in slums across the city, including the Metrô favela near the Maracanã stadium, where residents who refused to move live amid the rubble of bulldozed homes. The evictions are stirring ghosts in a city with a long history of razing entire favelas, as in the 1960s and 1970s during Brazil’s military dictatorship. Thousands of families were moved from favelas in upscale seaside areas to the distant Cidade de Deus, the favela portrayed in the 2002 film “City of God.”
The article points out the para-military approach the government is taking, invading communities and engaging in hand to hand combat with residents. And it highlights how the authorities denigrate communities to make it appear as if their eviction is for their own good. Take Vila Autódromo, a Rio favela slated for destruction to make way for the Olympic Park. Here's Rio's housing czar, Jorge Bittar, on the state of the community: “Vila Autódromo has absolutely no infrastructure. The roads are made of dirt. The sewage network goes straight into the lagoon; it’s an absolutely precarious area.” But, as the Times reports, Vila Autódromo actually has spacious houses that the residents built themselves, with guava trees providing shade in their yards. And, though the roads may be dirt, people own cars, which the Times notes is a sign of making it into Brazil’s expanding lower middle class. "We’re victims of an event we don’t want," Inalva Mendes Brito, a schoolteacher in Vila Autódromo, told the paper. "But maybe if Brazil learns to respect our choice to stay in our homes, the Olympics will be something to celebrate in the end."