Josué dos Santos Lima

"If it was because of a war or a bomb, we could have accepted it. But because of the Olympics?"

Coming from
Favela Metrô-Mangueira Favela Metrô-Mangueira

Now living in
Metrô Condomínio Mangueira 1 Metrô Condomínio Mangueira 1

We went through such a hard time up until we got here, because of the Olympics. They claimed the favela was getting in the way, bothering the world’s vision, that gringoes couldn’t see the favela next to the Maracana stadium. What a lie! Because the favela is there now, destroyed. We didn’t know that City Hall said that these apartments were ours, and they went marking number by number until they arrived at the total value of our houses.

So, when we arrived here, no one knew anything. And they turned up, and kept repeating the same phrase: Cosmos or the streets. And everyone was in a state of shock. “And now? What are we going to do?” So we went to the Public Defender, we got a temporary injunction, but there were already a lot of people going because they were afraid of ending up on the streets. Those that stayed, fought.

Injustice is injustice, and we didn’t accept that, but if someone turns up and says to you “it’s the streets or nothing!” that person is going to feel frightened, it’s better to take what’s on offer rather than end up on the streets. Was it wrong? I don’t know. Was it through fear? Maybe.

My house had three rooms, a living room, kitchen, two verandas, behind and in front. I lived there, with my mother, my brother and my stepfather. I don’t like to remember it, we built a life there. And to see it all being destroyed because of the Olympics? It’s not cool, if it was because of a war or a bomb, we could have accepted it.

But because of the Olympics? It’s no use having the Olympics here. It’s only good for big contractors, as we are seeing with this government. Everything that’s appearing showing that the Mayor and the Governor are getting money. And the people get screwed once again with us here, like all of us who live in favelas, and the improvements? What is there? Nothing, nothing at all.

“I can’t go beyond your look, I can’t imagine the richness that you have inside yourself…” That’s what it is, do you know what I mean? It’s the song that fits the profile of anyone who fights. It’s so difficult to talk. It’s difficult as hell. Anything that hurts this much, we feel emotional, you know?

Reporter: Luís Gustavo Soares e Gabriel Santiago

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