How Brazil’s World Cup has sold its people short in the Amazon

Jillian Steinhauer, “Brazil Evicts Indigenous People in Violent Clash Over Sports Stadium” Hyperallergic (April 1, 2013).Link to Article

Even before the high profile arrests of many FIFA officials this past month, there were many concerns as to the selection of host states for the World Cup. After its selection for both the World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, Brazil began several sweeping expansions of existing facilities and began to build new facilities to accommodate the requirements of the two events. Part of this preparation was reclaiming unused stadiums within several cities such as Rio de Janeiro. Many of these buildings have sat used since their use in the 1950 World Cup. However, several indigenous people have moved into these derelicts as they have increasingly been pushed out of their homes.

Many of these native peoples have very little say in their government as many are not official registered citizens. This undocumented status have made them the target of several injustices such as the purchase of the land they inhabit without their knowledge or consent, due to the government claiming ownership. As the forests that they call home are destroyed, they are displaced into the sprawling cities of Brazil and are given very little legal recourse against these right violations. Due to this, it became a common practice for entire tribes to move into the abandoned stadiums and take up residence. In the city of Maracanã, an official museum was set up in one of these stadiums celebrating the insidious people of the forests of Brazil.

However, in its bid for the World Cup and Summer Olympics, Brazil promised several new sites, and indeed, it is one of the requirements of FIFA of a state bidding for the opportunity. Maracanã was selected as such a new site.The old facility was to be torn down and a new one erected in its place. Police and armed troops were sent into these makeshift cities to remove people by force, if necessary. Homeless again, the natives were forced onto the streets.

This article highlights the voicelessness of these undocumented citizens and how there is no where for these victims to turn. It is a perfect stepping stone for my research into the government’s treatment of the native people of Brazil because it shows the violence that has already happened.

Cameron Sutherland

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