Past the Glamour of Olympic Medals

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RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL– Millions of people tune in once every two years, including the winter Olympics, to one world center for the Olympics. However, this year at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, many of the residents in Brazil were upset because there are insufficient funds to pay for the stadiums and staff, and the money could have gone towards more important causes.

Rio de Janeiro is described as a tropical paradise, bursting with life and culture. The media has been advertising the event to millions of people all over the world, for months. The one thing they don’t include though, is to stay away from the favelas, the slums of Brazil in the surrounding urban areas.

Look past the flashy Olympic village and the new hotels at Copacabana Beach, and you’ll find the rundown favelas that house about 25% of the city’s population. Here the streets are covered in raw sewage, electricity shortages are common, and houses are repeatedly being patched together.

Residents were evicted from their homes, so those  houses could  be bulldozed for land to build Olympic stadiums. And when someone tried to resist, authorities were called in to coerce them. If residents still decide to resist, then it sometimes escalated to the point where there were reports of police brutality.

After these people were left homeless, developers failed to provide alternative from of housing. Many dispersed all over brazil, leaving behind what they used too call home.

The favela Vila Autodroma once housed 3,000 people, but as of this time, it’s now a parking lot for visitors at the Olympics. Nearly all of the inhabitants refused to leave, but were eventually evicted.

Officials justify their choices for taking these homes, by bluntly saying that there was no room for the poor anymore. However, activists fired back by bringing up the point that after hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2014, the country fell into an economic recession and all of its resources were used up.

The leaders in these communities also pointed out the Olympic committee went $1.6 billion dollars over budget, and those funds could have been used on the education system and the homeless that were kicked off Copacabana Beach and out of their homes.

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