Saturday, June 11, 2011

who benefits?

With the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics two years later, it seems that authorities in Rio de Janeiro are following a well-worn path: remaking the city in ways that help the rich and hurt the poor. First on the list--a project called the Transcarioca--an express bus route that would link Barra da Tijuca, one of the city's toniest neighborhoods, with the international airport in the north. 

The Associated Press reports that 1,000 families have been moved to make way for the Transcarioca. All told, the government says, 3000 homes will be demolished, and these city residents will be relocated 40 or 50 miles away. Several favelas, like Vila Autodromo, have also been targeted for extinction, and The Rio Times reports that Amnesty International has concerns about human rights abuses. Theresa Williamson, of Catalytic Communities, a local watchdog group, told Rio Times that the city is violating its own rules, which require residents to be relocated within 7 kilometers of their existing homes.

“I don’t think the idea of having games here is to harm anyone,” an Olympic official told the AP. “Everything will be done with a very human touch.” But how human is it to put people out of their homes?