August 21 2014

8,000 Families in Minas Gerais, Brazil Face Mass Eviction & Displacement

More than 8,000 families will be evicted from their homes without alternative accommodation in the near future. The government of the state of Minas Gerais said that they are planning a “mega-operation” that will dislodge the families of three communities of the Isidoro region in the city of Belo Horizonte. Legal experts say the process has not yet ended and expulsion is considered irregular.

The communities affected by the eviction will be Vitória, Rosa Leão and Esperança, which originally arose spontaneously, but are organized urban occupations today. Residents tried to strike an agreement with the Municipality of Belo Horizonte and the Minas Gerais government in October 2013 but the state government abandoned the negotiations on July 24, 2014.

An example of an informal settlement, or "favela" in Brazil.

In his blog, Frei Gilvander Moreira, a supporter of the occupations, published a list of 15 reasons for authorities to heed in order to avoid “a tragedy of unimaginable proportions.” According to him, “the people will not allow their homes to be demolished,” because many were built with loans and minimum wages. The fear of a violent police attack is great.

On August 6th and 7th, residents met with the state government and the Military Police. According to Rafael Reis Bittencourt, a member of the Popular Brigades, the meetings served only to “inform” the residents of their impending eviction rather than offer any sort of conciliation. “We believe that this attitude is too hasty, even without exhausting peaceful means,” he said.

An example of the type of houses found in favelas in Brazil.

He points out that prosecutors filed Civil Action lawsuits, demonstrating legal errors in the mass eviction, including the absence of providing alternative housing to families. Last week, the president of the Court of Minas Gerais presented a proposal for mediation of the conflict, which was also not taken into consideration by the local government. Without the right to legal defense, the residents held their own meetings to decide what to do and chose unanimously to remain in their homes. On alert mode, human rights defenders claim that “this may be one of the largest mass evictions in Brazil.”

How have other communities around the world dealt with threats of forced displacement? Do you know anyone who’s been affected by a mass eviction? 

Original article, originally published in Portuguese, here.

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Nora Lamm

Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Nora grew up surrounded by the varied architectural styles and geographies of the Southwest U.S. After graduating from Middlebury College with a B.A. in Latin American Studies and Geography, Nora moved to Washington, D.C. to work in the affordable housing industry. After studying Portuguese and Spanish and traveling in the southern cone of South America, Nora is looking forward to providing the readers and followers of The Grid with translations of Brazilian blogs that provide the most insightful and local perspectives related to environmental design.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, August 21st, 2014 at 9:54 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Government/Politics, Housing, Nora Lamm, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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2 Responses to “8,000 Families in Minas Gerais, Brazil Face Mass Eviction & Displacement”

  1. M. Filho Says:

    I was raised not too far from these communities and actually have family living in Esperança. I completely agree with the displacement and grow hopes that both the city and the state government do a complete eviction action regardless of the allegations of a ready relocation plan or its non existence. Trust me, I am not one of the rich brazilians trying to push out the poor. Matter fact I am still a struggling lower middle class today, which was homeless for a long time and know in detail what it is to struggle. Those families, specially the Minas people, are raised from birth to believe that everybody else owe them something and they will resource of every little sentimental strategy to get something for free and to just build whatever they want, wherever they want. They are the kind of people that tell their kids NOT to pass grade in school and keep failing so they can be fed at school for free and they parents don’t have to work to feed them. This displacement will draw out of the shadows the real love like affair the Minas people have for the drama, nostalgia and sense of entitlement they have and which, drives the entire region to static. Not to mention that most of these families finance their laziness with the votes their sell to the dirty politicians and drug trafficking gangs established on the locations. What I am saying is don’t be fooled by the threat those people are basing their claims on. They need to get out of those favelas and build a better live for them, instead of concentrate their efforts on scam something for free from somebody in somewhere. Trust me, I know those people, there is where I came from.

  2. Brazil: Time For a Property Rights Revolution | ISIL Says:

    […] communities, however, have unanimously decided to stay in their homes after the state government pulled the plug on negotiations with them. The land is said to be wanted for development and projected to be worth $6.5 billion, […]

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