01 December 2009

The Battle for the Vila Autódromo

Rio de Janeiro
December 1, 2009

Not everyone in Rio de Janeiro is excited about the 2016 Olympic Games.

Residents of the Vila Autódromo, on the shores of Lake Jacarepaguá, gathered on a recent Sunday afternoon to launch an international campaign to save their community. They are mobilizing against the forced removal of their homes in the face of development projects for the 2016 Olympic Games. The Resident’s Association of Vila Autódromo is sending a petition to President da Silva and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, demanding that their constitutional and human rights be respected.

Within 24 hours of Rio’s conquest of the 2016 bid, mayor Eduardo Paes made quite clear that the Vila Autódromo would be demolished to make way for the Olympic Media Center. Since then, the city council has enacted several zoning laws making exceptions to city law in order to stimulate real-estate investment in this booming region of the city. The Vila Autódromo has long been a target of developers and their resistance to forced relocation has been a particular annoyance to the mayor.

The community meeting gained a national profile through the presence of Edson Santos, Special Secretary of Politics for the Promotion of Racial Equality. Secretary Santos, previously a Rio city council member and federal deputy, was surprisingly sharp in his criticisms of the 2016 Organizing Committee noting that the promise of the Olympics had set off a boom in real estate speculation that was destined to turn the Barra de Tijuca region into a new Copacabana. That is, a formerly bucolic setting with disperse settlements of fishermen is designed, in accordance with new zoning laws, to become congested with condominiums and shopping malls in anticipation of the Olympic Games.

Inalva Mendes Brito has always been at the forefront of the community’s struggle to secure their constitutional rights. She penned a letter of protest outlining the resistance of the Vila Autódromo against forced relocation, a battle the community has been fighting since the 1990s. It was her invitation that brought Secretary Santos from Brasilia to Jacarepaguá where he encouraged the community to “create a restrictive environment” for the municipal government to act through protest, occupations, and organized resistance. “Rio can’t pay the bills for the kind of speculation that brings profit to the few,” the Secretary continued, “to what city does the Olympics belong?”

The forty residents attending the meeting enthusiastically received the Secretary’s comments, while organizers circulated through the crowd making sure that everyone had signed the petition.  Children ran about in the playground where a high wall marks the edge of the Autódromo Nelson Piquet.

Once the Secretary had signed the petition, Sra. Brito and Altair Antunes Guimarães, president of the Residents Association of Vila Autódromo, took turns invoking their constituency to action. “Without the constant force of the community, we will lose this battle,” intoned Guimarães. This echoed Secretary Santos’ thoughts, “This is not going to be easy, the forces aligned against you are powerful. However, it is not acceptable to forcibly remove a community of peaceful, working people.”

The battle for the Vila was nearly lost in 2006 when the Secretary of Housing marked all of the community’s homes for demolition. The community lived on because of political pressure from a minority of council members and a supposed lack of funding. The majority of the residents have legal land title and a community history that extends back to the mid 1970s when the Autódromo was constructed.

The project to remove the Vila Autódromo is but one of several forced removals underway in preparation for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games. In addition to the Vila, the communities of Canal do Anil, Gardênia Azul, Parque da Panela, Metrô-Mangueira (near the Maracanã) e Belém-Belém (near the Engenhão) are also under threat of forced relocation. The city government has made critical (and unconstitutional) changes to the plano director (master plan) of the city, allowing gross exceptions to zoning laws that have set off a real estate frenzy in the Jacarepaguá and Port regions.

The city has also begun the process of occupying strategic favelas with shock troops. This is causing other kinds of problems, such as gun battles in the streets, burning buses, and the closing of commercial zones.

There are 6 years until the Rio Olympics. As I mentioned in a previous post, there are myriad problems with hosting a mega-event, the majority of which the city, state, and national governments appear to be content to ignore in favor of advancing private interests, city marketing, and imposing temporary solutions to Rio’s grave problems with physical, economic, political, and social infrastructures.

No comments:


2014 World Cup Rio de Janeiro Maracanã FIFA 2016 Olympics 2016 Summer Olympics Eduardo Paes CBF Copa do Mundo 2014 Rio de Janeiro Olympics Ricardo Texeira World Cup 2014 Vasco da Gama 2010 World Cup White Elephants mega-events APO UPP BRT Brazil football Flamengo Lula Orlando Silva violence ANT Aldeia Maracana Carlos Nuzman Dilma Eike Batista Rio 2016 Sergio Cabral 2007 Pan American Games Campeonato Carioca Corruption IOC Jerome Valcke Novo Maracanã stadiums BOPE BRASIL 2016 Brasil 2014 Engenhao Joao Havelange Maracana Policia Militar Vila Autódromo Aldo Rebelo Botafogo Henrique Meirelles Medida Provisoria Metro Revolta do Vinagre Sao Paulo Sepp Blatter World Cup 2010 forced removal Carnaval Elefantes Brancos Fechadao Marcia Lins Minerao Morumbi Odebrecht Porto Maravilha Rio+20 Romario Security Walls South Africa South Africa 2010 TCU Transoeste protests public money public transportation slavery transparency x-Maracana Andrew Jennings Argentina Audiencia Publica Barcelona Brazil Carvalho Hosken Comitê Popular Confederatons Cup Copa do Brasil 2010 Cost overruns Crisis of Capital Accumulation EMOP FERJ Favela do Metro Fluminense Fluminese Fonte Novo IMX Jose Marin Leonel Messi London 2012 Marcelo Freixo Maré Museu do Indio Olympic Delivery Authority Perimetral Rocinha Soccerex Transcarioca bicycles consumer society debt idiocy militarization transportation 1995 Rugby World Cup 2004 Olympics 2015 Copa America Banco Imobiliario Barcas SA Belo Horizonte Bom Senso F.C. Brasilerao CDURP CONMEBOL Champions League. Mourinho Complexo do Alemão Copa Libertadores Cupula dos Povos ESPN England FiFA Fan Fest Istanbul 2020 Jogos Militares John Carioca Kaka Manaus McDonald's Obama Olympic Village PPP Paralympics Providencia Recife Russia Salvador Soccer City Taksim Square Tatu-bola Urban Social Forum Vidigal Vila Olimpica War World Cup Xaracana attendance figures cities corrupcao drugs estadios football frangueiro futebol mafia planejamento urbano police repression porn privitization reforms shock doctrine taxes 201 2010 Elections 2010 Vancouver Olypmics 2013 2018 World Cup 2030 Argentina / Uruguay ABRAJI AGENCO ANPUR ANT-SP Amazonia Ancelmo Gois Andrade Gutierrez Anthony Garotinho Arena Amazonia Arena Pernambucana Athens Atlético Paranaense Avenida das Americas BID Barra de Tijuca Blatter Brasil x Cote d'Iviore Brasileirão 2013 Brasilia Brasilierao Bruno Souza Bus fares COB COI COMLURB CPI CPO Cabral Caixa Economica Canal do Anil Cantagalo Celio de Barros Cesar Maia Chapeu Mangueira Chile 2015 Choque do Ordem Cidade da Copa Class One Powerboat Racing Clint Dempsey Comite Companhia das Docas Copa do Brasil Corinthians Cuiabá Curitiba Dave Zrin David Harvey Der Spiegel Eastwood Edge of Sports Escola Friendenrich Expo Estadio Expo Urbano FGV Fonte Nova Gamboa Garotinho Geostadia Ghana Globo Greek Debt Crisis Greek Olympics HBO Hipoptopoma IMG IPHAN ISL Iniesta Internatinal Football Arena Invictus Istanbul Itaquerao Jacque Rogge Jefferson John Coates Jose Beltrame Julio Grondona Julio Lopes Julio de Lamare Knights Templar Korea Lei Geral da Copa MAR MEX Manchester United Mangabeira Unger Maracanã. Soccerex Marina da Gloria Mexico Milton Santos Molotov Cocktail Mr.Balls Neymar Nicholas Leoz Nilton Santos Olympic Flag Olympic Park Project Oscar Niemeyer Pacaembu Pan American Games Parque Olimpico Pernambuco Plano Popular Plano Popular do Maracana Plano Popular do Maracanã Play the Game Pope Porto Alegre Porto Olimpico Porto Seguro Portuguesa Praca Tiradentes Preview Projeto Morrinho Putin Qatar Quatar 2022 RSA Realengo Regis Fichtner Roberto Dinamite Russia 2018 SETRANS SMH Santa Teresa Santos Sao Raimundo Sargento Pepper Security Cameras Smart City Sochi 2014 South Korea Stormtroopers São Januário São Paulo Teargas Templars Tokyo 2020 Tropa do Elite II Turkey UFRJ/IPPUR URU USA USA! Unidos da Tijuca United States government Urban Age Conference VVIP Via Binário Victory Team Vila Autodromo Vila Cruzeiro Vila do Pan Vilvadao Vivaldao Volta Alice Wasteland Workers' Party World Cup 2018 Xavi Zurich apartments atrazos barrier beer bio-fuels bonde capacities civil society comite popular copa sudamericana crack crime dengue dictatorship estádios favelalógica feira livre fiador flooding freedom of information furos geral graffiti guarda municipal host city agreement identity infrastructure ipanema istoe labor rape riots schedule school shooting security segregation social movements stadium state of exception supervia tear gas ticket prices torcidas organizadas tourism traffic tragedy trash trem-bala velodromo wikileaks xingar