Text and Photographs by Mirko Cecchi
In Brazil large sections of the population live a “housing stress”: both in the centers of megacities, both in the extreme new suburbs created by the government.
São Paulo is being renewed in view of the World Cup, but at the expense of the weakest. As in the case of families forced to leave an abandoned building that had occupied for years.
In less than a thousand days of the start of the World Cup in 2014, Sao Paulo is preparing for the event. The World Championships are a showcase for Brazil, a country in great growth over the past decade has seen major social changes.
The Socialist government of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has approved a series of measures that have made millions out of poverty. São Paulo, with its twelve million inhabitants, is one of the richest cities in the country, but poverty is widespread, not only in the favelas.
In the early eighties, the center has been gradually abandoned by wealthy families who have moved into luxury condominiums fortified, protected by armed guards and video surveillance systems. In the center only survive shops and some public buildings.
I had documented the story of a building that is located on Avenida 9 de Julho, abandoned by the Municipality two decades ago and later occupied by the associations for the right to housing (Frente Luta Moradia).
Here lived many of the unemployed and people with large families. Life inside the building was organized so as to make it through an independent security service, a nursery and a kitchen.
The building was vacated in the fall of 2010 because the town has sold to property companies. The Frente de Luta por Morado (Flm, fighting front for the home) has asked the city to provide public housing to all residents, but without success. Many people left homeless protested outside the offices of the municipality and the prefecture.
Two other historical buildings of São Paulo, Prestes Maia and Mauá ones, are still occupied.