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Attacks on the Favela communities are currently taking place under the excuse of city development for the forthcoming football and games events.
Land grabs, by any other name, they are usually commercially driven and have been taking place since the very first favela, Morro da Providência, was established over a hundred years ago.
Sadly even this community steeped in history and culture and once recognised for its heritage is under attack on two fronts as commercial interests seek to remove almost a third of the homes and their families, but the community is fighting back!
During our time at the project in Rio we met many of the landless people(MST) who were living at the convent whilst studying at the local university. Despite the obvious language and cultural differences we soon became sympathetic to their cause and greatly impressed by their devotion to the cause.
There is a rising global trend by multi-national corporations to “buy up” surplus land as investments – according to the 1996 census statistics,hhh just 3% of Brazil’s population owns two thirds of all arable land in the country. The land owned by the 3% is often left unused, under populated or turned over to the commercial production of extensive cropping such as bio fuels.
In short, the MST strives to achieve a social covenant providing a self-sustainable way of life for the poor. It could also be argued that the depopulation of the rural areas further exacerbates the problems of increased urbanisation of cities.
The 3% continue to ruthlessly protect their interests as the following article reported earlier this year illustrates.