Luiz Cláudio Silva

"Its all going to stay in the memory of the people who lived there and got to know the comunity."

Coming from

Now living in

Luiz Claudio Silva, 53, physical education teacher,

We’ve had 12 years of suffering with this mayor in Rio de Janeiro. There were lots of different reasons given. It was for aesthetic reasons, it was supposed to be parking, for the Olympics, then there was the idea that it denigrated the environment.

Everything lives on in the residents’ memories, and in those that got to know the community. It was a peaceful community, where people brought their children up.  Our family here is in its fourth generation, an old family, which has resisted for 50 years. It was being taken out because aesthetically it was ugly, and it devalued the surrounding properties. We are happy, you know, exactly because it was a peaceful community. There were never any drug gangs here, or a militia.

We have a house, my family, you know, my mother-in-law, my wife and my daughter, us four.

This is my house which was demolished, and these are our supporters which I told you about. My house became parking for the mega event, the Olympics. When did they start works for his hotel here? It was in 2014, then it all intensified. We were under a lot of pressure.

We knew the whole time we had the right to stay here. We had hundreds of meetings and assemblies, with public defenders, people giving their testimonies from other communities. We learned a lot of techniques and they supported us from the beginning. We knew our rights here.

[Did you see your house being demolished?]

I saw it. It was very sad, you see your history there, all of it on the floor, for no reason – it’s just so pointless. Just for greed, an exchange of favours. They presented us with a very crude project, something very simple. It had terraced houses but we didn’t accept that. I think they thought we would be afraid and accept any old thing. The land the houses were to be on was smaller, it was 125m, and the plan didn’t include the residents’ association or the little park,or the playing field. They hadn’t thought about a green area or a cultural centre. Now all this has been included, and on Monday it will start being constructed, according to the plan. The contract as it was didn’t include any of that, we managed to improve it a lot.  But the residents of Vila Autodromo are tired of this struggle.
Of course, there are lots of people who have been through this before, and we talk to those people. It will stay in the memories of those that are still here, and those that left too.

Reporter: Lara Norgaard

Photographer: Lara Norgaard

My journey

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