Widespread homeless occupations in Rio de Janeiro

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Mike Harman
Joined: 7-02-06
Jul 28 2007 15:27
Widespread homeless occupations in Rio de Janeiro

Faced with a situation where even professed left-wing political parties refuse to take the measures necessary to prevent the deaths of people who have lost their homes and livelihoods, homeless families in Rio de Janeiro have taken matters into their own hands. Across the city, occupations by families of empty government and private buildings have sprung up. The occupations are very diverse in nature – some are organized out of pure necessity without any kind of political agenda. Others are carefully planned out by the different movements operating in Brazil or are set up as temporary political stunts.

I had the chance to visit five different building occupations in Rio and one social/cultural center. I witnessed the unique challenges and characteristics of each space, which are outlined here in this article. When names are used, they have been changed to protect the identities of the participants in the movements.