Ocimar da Silva
"City Hall didn't want our community to mess things up. Because only rich people are going to live there"
Now living in
This is my home at the moment, you know? Before I lived with my wife in Colegio, then when we got married we came to live in Vila Autodromo with my cousin. We had some land at that time, and we built a humble house until we received notice that we were in the situation of eviction or resettlement of Vila Autodromo. I lived there for more than 10 years, I arrived there in 2002, 2003.
The man informed us that they were going to build the Olympic Park and after that they would build luxury accommodation, and they didn’t want the community there, because it would interrupt economic growth, because only the rich were going to live there. Only the rich. It was a farce, to have the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil, to give money to big companies, real estate speculation, so these Olympics are all a big con, first they said they wouldn’t rehouse anyone, then they rehoused 150 people, now there are 20, 25 people being rehoused there, it’s a lot.
If they had bought my house, I would have to buy one in Belford Roxo, what they offered was below the market rate in Barra de Tijuca. If it is worth 12,000 reals per square metre there, they gave me 1,500 reals per square meter for my house. It was exactly that. I want my rights, I don’t want anything other than what I’ve got a right to. I want the same as everyone else. Everyone is leaving with two million, three million, it has to be the same for everyone.
[What was it like for you to come here?]
So they opened this process, sometimes it went wrong, but I was living as a guest in my father-in-law’s apartment. There was a huge network, the news spread all over the world, the Olympics of blood, that they took people out of their homes by force, with hate, with anger, with blood.
So what happened with the warrant for posession. I went to the deputy mayor’s office to make the deal to leave, as they were asking people to go there to have their homes evaluated, so they could get an apartment or compensation. I arrived there and asked for an apartment worth 600,000 and he said no. It’s not worth that. Then another day, he sent me to court, for 122,000 reals, without an apartment, nothing, and an eviction notice.
And so it went on, until a judge, without seeing my case, after only hearing the City Hall, she sent them to carry it out. Just that God is so great, the whole world ended up seeing that the Brazilian Judiciary made a mistake. It just makes mistakes, it never does things right.
[So the police came to evict people?]
Yes, the police, the municipal guards, it was as they say, bullets, punches and bombs, as we say here in Brazil. And there was blood, my father-in-law got beaten up, my nephew got beaten up, and lots of other people as well.
[What did you feel when you saw your house being demolished?]
When I was there, I felt like I wanted to cry. I sweat a lot [to build it], I worked hard, working in a combi van day and night, I also worked driving a truck, building my house with sweat. It was clean money, it doesn’t come from drug dealing or stealing, or political parties, it doesn’t come from anyone. It comes from the sweat of a working man, a fighter, it was made from honest sweat. There was nothing in that house that wasn’t gained honestly. It was the struggle that every Brazilian goes through, trying to reach his objectives.
It’s not bad to live here, it’s good, you know, but I liked living there, I won’t discredit that, just that I see some injustice going on, I want what is my right. I’ll never stop asking for that. The way I went out of there, it wasn’t done the way I wanted. I would have liked to have gone out. I wanted to leave under the same conditions as everyone else.
It’s logical, I have the right to resettlement. Where I was was in an area… There is a law in City Hall, I don’t know where it comes from, it is only a law which exists on paper. There is the law about a certain area, and I lived in it. If I lived in a part which had the right to be resettled, he didn’t give me that right. There were people who weren’t living there who are now being resettled. I don’t understand what is happening.
[Do you miss Vila Autodromo, where you used to live?]
I do, because it was a good area, it was cool to live there. I knew everyone there. There was nothing bad there, no drug dealing, none of that. It was a place where you could make a lot of friends, you could make yourself at home, you know? I’ve got an apartment, which I deserved to have, but I want a house, I didn’t want an apartment. I don’t feel good in an apartment, you need a private space, if you have a family, you need a garden, you don’t want to have to keep going up and down the stairs, passing other people’s doorways. My privacy is gone, that’s what’s changed. I don’t have anymore privacy.
Reporter: Jessica Mota