On June 12th, the eyes of the world will be watching Sao Paulo, as Brazil take on Croatia in the opening game of the world cup. For many observers the story of Brazil and Sao Paulo is one of success. Brazil is now the world’s 6th largest economy and Sao Paulo is the wealthiest city in South America.
Not everybody however has shared in the success as 40 million Brazilians live in poverty. In Sao Paulo over 1.6 million people live in favelas or shanty towns. Favelas are often characterised by sub-standard housing, high levels of violent crime and a lack of basic amenities such as water and healthcare. In some ways the world cup has exacerbated these problems in Brazil as thousands have been forcibly evicted from their homes in world cup host cities and police crackdowns on gangs have caused riots and deaths.
With the world cup approaching CAFOD is asking the Brazilian authorities to protect the right to guarantee decent affordable housing for the poorest and most vulnerable people and to ensure that no one is forcibly evicted due to world cup. You can take action by signing CAFOD’s letter to Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff here http://www.cafod.org.uk/Campaign/Take-action-today/Stand-by-Brazil
CAFOD has been active in Brazil since the 1960s. In Sao Paulo CAFOD’s partner the MDF has been working with residents from 40 favelas to improve the living conditions for thousands of families. Click on this link to find out more about the work of CAFOD in Sao Paulo. http://www.cafod.org.uk/worldcup
With so much money being spent on new stadia and transport improvements many feel that Brazil should now turn its attention to eradicating poverty and making Brazil a more equitable place. Journalist Luis Carlos Azenha comments “we have FIFA standard soccer [football] stadiums, we want FIFA standard hospitals, we want FIFA standard schools.”
Luke Moore CAFOD Volunteer