Spotlight on Brazil: Seven facts about the Olympics and Brazil
5 August 2016
This summer Rio de Janeiro will host the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It is the first South American city to host the games, and only the third city in the southern hemisphere after Melbourne and Sydney.
Whilst the Olympic flame burns in Rio, our everyday heroes in Brazil are blazing torches for community and environmental rights.
Here are seven things you might not know about the Olympics and Brazil:
1. In Brazil there are enough people living in poverty to fill the Maracanã Stadium 331 times.
25.8 million Brazilians live in poverty,that’s enough people to fill the Rio de Janeiro stadium – where the opening ceremony takes place on Friday 5 August – more than 300 times over.
2. There have been 11 Olympic Games since CAFOD started working in Brazil (the Rio Games are the twelfth).
We have been working with partners in Brazil for 46 years. Over this time Brazil has gone through a period of economic growth, but is now facing its worst economic and political crisis in decades.
3. Over 7 million tickets have been issued for the Olympic Games.
Approximately 3.8 million of these will be available for 70 Brazilian reals (£22) or less. However, as our partner Maristely explains: “for the poor people of the city of Rio in a time of recession (and the high cost of living) this price is still far too expensive.” The cost of living in Rio and elsewhere is rising. Basic food for one month costs £87 in São Paulo, more than half of the minimum monthly wage of around £170 (880 Brazilian reals).
4. 77,000 people have been evicted from their homes so far for the Olympics.
They have been protesting to protect their homes. We work with our partners the Movement for the Defence of Favelas (MDF) and APOIO in São Paulo to help communities improve conditions for people living in informal settlements, and ultimately for them to have land titles and home ownership.
5. The capacity of the Olympic Hockey Centre in Rio de Janeiro is 15,000: the same number of people currently sleeping rough on the streets of São Paulo.
Housing is a major issue across Brazil, where over 11 million people live in favelas.
Watch this short video about our partners’ work helping poor and disadvantaged families living in urban areas:
6. Brazil’s Olympic Torch relay has seen it travel through 329 towns and cities and all five regions of Brazil.
In 2012, CAFOD’s John McBride carried the Olympic torch for part of its journey through the town of Barnard Castle in County Durham. He ran in solidarity with the communities we support overseas.
7. The Amazônia Arena in Manaus is the only venue in an Amazon city to host the Olympics.
The stadium will host six matches in the group stages of the football tournaments, and is built in the style of an indigenous basket of exotic fruit. We work with indigenous peoples living in the Amazon rainforest to help them protect their land and livelihoods. Indigenous peoples in Brazil are being murdered, criminalised, threatened, evicted from their land, and their rights to health and education are systematically violated. In 2014, there were 138 murders of indigenous people across Brazil, many linked to environmental and land conflict.