Rio revamps poor infrastructure surrounding city in anticipation of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. Facing destruction is the Vila Mimosa, a shanty town outside Rio De Janeiro. The current project proposed by the Brazilian government is a 510 km high-speed train that is proposed to run through Vila Mimosa. The project would link the financial capital of Sao Paolo with Rio, a $22 billion dollar project was promised in the Olympic bid.
Vila Mimosa is Rios working class red light district, the construction of the train would dislocate current residents and workers from Vila Mimosa. The women working within Vila Mimosa have been organizing together and working with Architect Guilherme Ripardo. The businesses that are within Vila Mimosa also depend upon the prostitutes financially, their business bringing in revenue for the shanty town. The business association have been working to draw up plans for a $1.8 million community center. The undisclosed location would include a health clinic, child care, and professional training in subjects from sewing to computer literacy. The nick names for the plan coined by the women is “Cidade de Meninas” City of the girls.
2,000 women work Vila Mimosa 24 hours a day. The area is one subway stop from downtown and is a five-minute walk from a station serving many major bus lines. Major road ways and offices are located close by and easily accessible. The removal of Vila Mimosa in the name of modernization, urban planning, and creation of the new high-speed train line would also mean the loss of livelihood for the thousands of residents. Construction on the $618 million Transcarioca express high way has gone underway and through its construction 1,ooo families have been evicted and 3,000 homes will be raised before the public work is completed. The forcibly removed population has been offered homes 65 to 80 km away, but this is considered an unreasonable distance away from Rio for those who rely on public transportation to get into Rio.
Amnesty International and the UN have openly called attention to the allegations to the abuse of rights of the displace peoples. With residents being removed and evicted in the middle of the night.
“It’s about raising property values, but the big thing is making the city more acceptable to foreigners’ eyes,” he said. “It’s taking people who shock foreigners and pushing them out of the way: prostitutes, street vendors, homeless people. They’re going to clean up parts and throw a rug over the rest of it.”
Investigator at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro