Voices Rise Against “Gaza Wall” Around Rio Favela, in Brazil

Favela Dona Marta in Rio, Brazil Environmentalists, human rights activists and residents of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, are opposing plans to surround a Rio favela (shantytown) with a 650-meter-long (2,132 feet) concrete barrier. They describe it as "discriminatory" and in the best "Gaza wall" style.

Authorities say the "eco-barrier", which will encircle part of the famous Dona Marta favela in the southern part of the city, is intended to protect the nearby Atlantic rainforest from illegal occupation as well as improve security and living conditions for residents.

"This is something that is very similar to what Israel does to the Palestinians and to what happened in South Africa," said Mauricio Campos, from the Rio human rights group Network of Communities Against Violence.

He said a wall would serve only to "segregate" slum residents from the rest of society.

The wall is expected to be completed by the end of this year and, according to reports in the local press, may be followed by similar barriers around Rio's other favelas.

In a statement, the state governor, Sergio Cabral, who ordered the "eco-limit" fence to be built, said it was part of moves by his administration to improve living standards and protect slum residents from the armed gangs that control many of Rio's 700 or so favelas, with an estimated 2.5 million population out of a total 10 million.

"What has happened in Rio de Janeiro over the last two decades has been the passivity of authorities in relation to the uncontrolled growth of the slums," he said. Such walls would, Cabral said, help the city deal with "drug trafficking and vigilantes, by putting limits on uncontrolled growth".

Dona Marta is home to an estimated 7,500 people. The favela was the setting for an award-winning documentary about cocaine by the British film-maker Angus Macqueen, as well as a 1996 Michael Jackson music video directed by Spike Lee.

Jackson's producers were forced to negotiate access with the local drug traffickers. Since last November, however, the shantytown has been under 24-hour police occupation as part of a state government initiative to make Dona Marta a "model favela". In December, Rio's security secretary boasted that the slum was "free from the law of the rifle."

The pilot project aims to rid the favelas of traffickers using a mixture of military force and "hearts and minds" community policing.

Silvio dos Santos Ferreira, member of a Dona Marta residents association attacked the idea of the wall saying that the "alleged environment protection" is nothing else but an "Israeli type policy" like that applied with the Gaza Wall.

"It's nothing else but a system to segregate and further discriminate against the poor people of the city," he added.

Mercopress

Tags:

You May Also Like

Brazilians Are Marrying More and at Older Age

The number of weddings grew 35% in the last decade, even if Brazilians are ...

Brazil, the Original Leader of the Americas ”“ Part I

In November 1807, when Napoleon’s army invaded Portugal, the day before the French forces ...

Brazil and India Join Forces to Build Railroad Wagons

The city of Santa Maria, in the southernmost Brazilian state of Rio Grande do ...

With Exports to Argentina Cut in Half Brazil Threatens Retaliation

The Brazilian government is thinking about filing a complaint at the World Trade Organization ...

Ethanol: With an American Friend Like This Brazil Needs No Enemies

In a recent letter to President Obama, the Republican Senator from Iowa, Charles Grassley, ...

Brazil Ready to Take Seat Among World’s 10 Top Oil Producers

Petrobras, the Brazilian government controlled oil and gas multinational on Friday lifted the first ...

Waiting for President Godot in Sí£o Paulo, Brazil

Yesterday Ibope and Datafolha both published their latest polls. According to Ibope, compared to ...

Brazil Accuses US of Lying to the WTO on Amount of Farm Subsidies It Grants

The price of suspending the negotiations of the Doha Round in the World Trade ...

Who and What Is Killing Tourism in Brazil?

My wife and I have been engaged in the hospitality & tourism industry in ...

Presidential Candidate Serra Presented to Brazilians as Experience Vs Adventure

Former São Paulo governor and former Health Minister José Serra, launched by a coalition ...