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Rio de Janeiro Evicts Poor, Builds Luxury Condos For Olympics

| by Michael Allen

The 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic village will reportedly include 31 towers with 10,160 bedrooms.

The Olympic village, also known as "Ilha Pura," is so fancy that it will be marketed after the games as private condos/apartments, which will sell for up to $700,000 each.

Mauricio Cruz Lopes, the CEO of Ilha Pura, told the Associated Press, "All of the visitors here, the ex-athletes and athletes who know many villages, say this village is amazing. We are doing our best to convince all the 10,000 athletes to stay in this village and avoid staying in hotels."

However, thousands of Rio citizens have been evicted to make way for this glamorous lodging.

The International Business Times reports that 90 percent of the city's Vila Autodromo favela (slum) has been destroyed for Olympic construction.

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However, some 50 poor families are determined not to leave their shanty homes, which often lack water and electricity.

Rio officials claim that the families must move so that roads can be built to Olympic Park, but the residents are aware of the luxury condos that are planned to be sold after the games.

The same scenario happened before the World Cup came to Brazil last year. The country spent billions on the soccer extravaganza while Brazilians protested in the streets for the poor who were displaced.

The poor community legally owns the property, so the Rio government has had to pay them to move. Activists and lawyers have helped some residents get more money for their homes.

Marcia Lemos, 57, who has lived in the favela for 12 years, told the International Business Times, "If they demolish everything and I am the only one left, I'll still stay."

Alberto Murray, a lawyer and ex-member of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, told the Associated Press, "It's not just with the athletes' village, but everything that is being built in Rio is being used as an excuse for real estate development."

Sources: Associated Press, International Business Times
Image Credit: Peteris