After nearly two weeks away, much has changed in Rio but everything continues along the same trajectory.
A new UPP was installed in the Mangueira favela, closing the “security belt” around the Maracanã . Many communities are clamoring for the installation of UPPs, but some places are more critical than others to mega-event security and those receive military occupation first. Even O Globo can be heard to clamor for more rapid investment in urbanization and social programs to accompany the changing of one form of martial law for another.
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They're going to steal public money?
Eiii! Whose hand is this without a finger?
The Federal Government is trying to hide the real costs of mega-event construction at the same time that the tight relationships between Rio governor Deputy Dog Cabral, Eike Batista (the richest man in Brazil) and Delta Construction (recipient of more than a billion in tate contracts in the last 3 years) were revealed because of a helicopter crash that killed the girlfriend of Cabral’s son on the way to a private party in Bahia state. Batista gave R$750,000 to Cabral’s re-election campaign in 2010. Delta is part of nearly all public works projects in Rio de Janeiro. These insider relationships and the closing off of mega-event budgets to public scrutiny because they are considered “state secrets” has not done much to improve public opinion about how, where, why, and how the tens of billions of public R$ are being spent.
On the good side, there is an increasingly coordinated public movement against the autocratic turn in Brazilian politics. On Tuesday (tomorrow) there is a rally in front of the Municipal Government to call for a CPI (Parliamentary Inquisition Commission) to investigate the forced removal of thousands of homes and the destruction of communities and livelihoods that have been the subject of so much national and international media attention. As ever, Eliomar Coelho is at the front of this movement and is struggling to get a few more city council people to get on board. The majority of the city council is in the pocket of El Principe (mayor Eduardo Paes) and are undoubtedly making tons of money.
The international NGO Witness was in Rio a few weeks ago and produced this video about the removals in the Favela do Metrô, which is being destroyed to make way for a parking lot for the Maracanã. There are a series of videos about other communities in Rio that can be linked to from this youtube clip.