Don’t Displace Brazilians to Build Olympic Village

Target: John Kerry (Secretary of State) and Thomas Shannon Jr. (US Ambassador to Brazil)

Goal: Don’t allow displacement of Brazilians in the Maracana Village in order to build Olympic village

Depending on who you reference (the UN, IMF, CIA, or World Bank), Brazil now has either the fifth or sixth largest economy in the world. Thanks to this recent economic success in a relatively undeveloped region, Brazil is desperately trying to legitimize its position amongst the world elite. The question is at what cost?

In 2014 San Paulo and the legendary Maracana stadium will host the FIFA World Cup, then in 2016, Brazil’s capital city will also host the Olympics—two enormous opportunities for Brazil to showcase its new found success on the world stage. However, in order to make space for a luxurious new Olympic city, which can adequately display Brazil’s newly modernized look, they must destroy a historical village with incredibly important cultural ties to the indigenous people.

Not only does the Maracana Village provide cheap housing for a huge section of the indigenous population in San Paulo, but it also provides a vibrant community with strong ties to Brazil’s cultural history.

On January 12, 2013, the police, suited in full riot gear, surrounded the Maracana village and attempted to force everyone from their homes and places of business in order to start this construction.  Moreover, the government sanctioned this without a proper warrant or any sort of warning to the local residents.

Fortunately, a group of 200 local activists were able to impede the police and allow time for negotiations between the two sides. The Federal Deputy Marcelo Freixo of the Party for Socialism and Liberty (PSOL/RJ), and President of the Commission for the Defense of Human Rights and Citizenship helped to mediate, though no conclusive agreements were made.

While the opportunity to showcase the modernization of Brazil’s economy to the world is extremely important for its continued growth, economic development cannot be considered a higher priority than the welfare of Brazilian citizens and the preservation of their country’s cultural history.

The United States government must step in and pressure the Brazilian government to find a respectable way to deal with the residents of this community and retain the cultural landmarks within its limits.

Please sign this petition and speak out against these human injustices.


Dear Mr Kerry and Mr. Shannon,

With not only the Olympics but also the World Cup coming to Brazil in the next few years, Brazil is under enormous pressure to show the world what its modernized economy can do on the world stage. However, in order to make way for a modern Olympic village capable of impressing the wealthy foreign masses about to descend upon San Palo, the government is harassing the indigenous people living within the historical Maracana village and attempting to forcibly evict them from their houses.

On January 12th, 2013 the police force, suited in full riot gear, surrounded the Maracana village and attempted to force the indigenous population from its midst without a proper warrant or any sort of official warning. Fortunately, a group of protesters were able to slow the police’s movement and allow for negotiations.

Despite the show of progress, no conclusive agreement was reached.

The question of how and, more importantly, where the World Cup and Olympic villages will be built are still very prevalent and the world community must step up to ensure that the indigenous people living in Maracana village either retain their current homes and the location of the village is moved, or they are fairly compensated so those who have to leave are able to keep a roof over their heads.  Moreover, if the residents of the village are relocated, the cultural monuments within the village must remain intact.

If Brazil desires a major role on the world stage, the world leaders must demand they raise their standards of human rights.


[Your Name Here]

photo credit: Sofia Yu -Living in the End Times via Flickr

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One Comment

  1. J Davidson says:

    This defeats the purpose and ideology of the Olympics.

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