Impact of the Mega Events on the Favelas in Brazil

Posted: June 29, 2016

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Plan

  1. Introduction
  1. An overview of the mega events and the favelas in Brazil
  2. Thesis Statement: Although mega events attract tourists, they have various challenges on favelas in the country.
  1. Positive Impacts of the Mega Events
  1. Improved security situations.
  2. Improved living conditions such as sanitation and structures.
  3. Improved economic situation especially for construction workers.
  1. Negative effects of the Mega Events
  1. Increased crime rates in the short-run as police flash out drug-traffickers living in the favelas.
  2. Forced eviction of many families living in the favelas causing social misery
  3. Rise of property prices driving out most residents from the cities.
  1. Conclusion
  1. A recap of the main points and thesis statement.

Draft Chapter

Although Brazil is known to be a flourishing democracy with the world’s most eighth largest economy, its favelas have remained to be starched symbols of gross income disparities between the poor and the rich, racial divide and lawlessness (Daibert. P, 2014, 18). However, most mega events that have been held in Brazil such as such as 2014 World Cup have been reported to have a positive impact on its favelas. The municipal government believes with the coming 2016 Olympic Games, there will be more positive impacts on most favelas in Brazil. Wallenfeldt. J (2016, 12) defines favelas as sprawling slums located throughout the city The municipal government of Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro main concern about the 2016 Olympics has been to urbanize Rio’s favelas. They establish that the result of improvements and developments in these favelas could be a large economic boom most particularly for the Brazils construction industry and improving resident’s quality of life. Though the mega events help attract tourists to Brazil, there pose numerous social impacts on favelas in the country.

Initially there was a very prevalent traffic problem in Rio. Most people had to take like three to four hours to commute every day. This problem affects the productivity and also the people’s quality of life in general. The 2014 World Cup games brought about the development of several rapid bus transit lines that all connected the west side of the city to other areas. The west side is a landscape consisting of the rich, gated communities and even malls, with 16-lane highways. However, this did not help develop the favelas, these people who lived on the margins were rather pushed further to the margins (favelas). The government has, therefore, invested in public safety interventions within the city. These changes will not only make the city ready for the visitors globally but also to help build an environment favorable to social change for the city’s poor, those in the slums. Coupled with that, there is very high cost of living hence, the government’s initiatives to reduce the high living standards in most parts of the capital.

The police have raided most of favelas to clean them of drugs supplied by large gangs. Hence, there is increased drug seizures and reduced homicides. More firearms, police vehicles are provided by the municipal government for these exercises. A program known as UPP has been developed to help further this course of action. This activity has also lead to reduced crime rates and street violence in the favelas such as Rio. Besides, due to reduced police killings by drug gangs and robbers, the slums are less harmful and safer. Further, there has been a clean-up done in these areas. Consequently, the environment in these favelas have become healthy. There is widespread positive publicity of these slums. The aura of fear that existed and kept away the outsiders has disappeared.

 In Rio, the cause of violence was from a gang called Commando Vermelho, the biggest gang ever. Through the beefing up of security as a result of preparation of Olympics 2016, the members of the gang have been identified and dealt with lawfully. Most of the gangs have either been arrested or some killed. The police are, therefore, able to enter the favelas where these communities reside without fear, thus increased safety. An example where this has been improved security situation is Complexo do Alemao favela in Rio. In addition, Rocinha, a large favela in Rio de Janeiro, has been a dangerous neighborhood controlled by drug-trafficking gangs for so many years. Here, most residents died from overdoses or drug violence. It has been cleaned up and thus, there are reduced cases of drug instigated violence. Additionally, the pacification has also led to increased crimes. Since the police are offered the freedom to ensure safety, they go overboard. They treat most residents as suspects, raiding their homes without warrants, frisking them without course and being brutal among others (Waldron. T, 2014, 112).

The mega events have led to a transformation of most areas’ environment. Some of the Olympic Games will be taking place on the water in places such as Guanabara Bay and in the middle of Rios wealthy Southside. These water bodies act as Rio’s toilet due to poor drainage and sanitation systems. Once someone flushes a toilet in Rio, the contents are disposed to the Guanabara Bay, untreated and untouched (Athayde. A. T & Wheeland. M., 2015, 89). If these games are to occur on these water bodies, then the waters have to be treated and cleaned. Treating these water bodies, will eventually result in a positive impact on the life of the residents. There will be improved quality of life for the people of Rio favelas.

In addition, through these mega events, the government is relocating people from their homes in the favelas to new housings safe from the risk of floods, landslides among others. It is thus, helping them to improve their living standards. The relocation process is especially for those hill side and river favelas such as Indiana Favela next to river Maracana that suffer most during the annual rainy season.

However, the 2016 Olympic Games have also resulted in negative outcomes on some of the favelas in the Rio.  The government identified 119 favelas that would be razed. Even though the purpose of such a strategy is to give the city a facelift, it also affects thousands of lives of people. More than thousands are forced out of their homes to pave way for building projects for the 2016 Olympics. They are performing this activity claiming that it is social cleansing for the Olympic Games (Gibson. O & Watts. J, 2013, 123). In other words, the city’s mega events are causing eviction of favelas residents. Gibson. O & Watts .J (2013, 124) report that approximately 19,000 families have been evicted just to create space for roads, renovated stadiums, and an athletes village among others. The 2014 World Cup and the coming 2016 Olympic Games have, therefore, brought about the evacuation of most favela residents. The government does these in the pretext of modernizing the city (Worrall. S., 2015, 78).

While very new infrastructures are put in place for the Olympics games, there is a rise in the property prices in the surrounding areas acting as a motivation for the relocations. This scenario has caused a change in how the government’s plans and perception of the city. The city is perceived more as a business to sell to the foreigners and not as a place for residents. For example in Favela do Metro, in close proximity to Maracana Stadium in Rio, residents were evicted only to make way for the development of infrastructure for the World Cup and the Olympics (Waldron. T, 2014, 99). These massive evictions, therefore, have raised a pertinent debate of whether the evictions of most Brazilian families out of the favelas into the cities such as Sa Paulo and Rio de Janeiro benefit them by improving the quality of their lives and ensuring their safety or are just plots to make a country look good before it hosts the mega events (Daibert. P, 2014, 178).

The relocation of these favela residents to other cities has created new areas for living for those tourists who are unable to afford the very expensive Rio hotels or rather are just in search of the authentic culture of the real Rio de Janeiro. Hence, this clearly shows that the residents of the favelas will continue to feel the adverse effects of the mega events even after the tourists will be long gone. Even after the mega events, the evicted families are unable to return to their places of residence hence creating a social problem.

In conclusion, the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics games only help the high class and not the lower or middle class in the long term. If a resident does business during the tournament, there will only be economic development for the period of the games and improved living standards. Once the tournament ends life goes back to the normal. Hence, these mega events cannot be used as a model for long term economic development. Some people claim that these events are what a country needs to develop further which is not true. When examining the long term effects, a country needs healthcare and education more than stadia. The government is delaying or even cancelling the infrastructure projects aimed at improving the quality of life in the favelas just to finish the building of the sports arenas. Nevertheless, the large amounts of money being used to build stadia should instead be used to better the lives of favela resident’s rather than evicting them. Hence, it is important to understand that 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games have brought about both positive and negative impacts on the favelas in Brazil.

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