June 12 is fast approaching: that’s when Brazil plays Croatia to kick off the 2014 World Cup. Things are totally ready, and … oh shoot, wait. They forgot to clean out the slums.
Actually this is serious business, and Brazilian military police have been trying to occupy Rio de Janiero’s largest, most notorious favelas for a couple of years now. Their are about 16 of the communities that have been plagued by drug gang violence for several years. Brazilian authorities want the favelas cleaned out and occupied by police out before people begin arriving for the World Cup. Some are being razed entirely to make way for new construction.
The problem is that the drug gangs are starting to fight back: unwilling to give up their territory so easily. Si it remains to be seen if the resulting violence will have an effect on the coming tourist wave over the next two months, and two years (Rio co-hosts the 2016 Olympics, don’t forget).
This photo is from earlier today in the Mare favela, where military police are sweeping the community, located near Rio’s international airport. The group of 16 communities house around 130,000 residents.
Meanwhile, another worker has died during stadium construction, this time at Itaquerao stadium in Sao Paulo. The worker fell to his death while installing seats in the upper level, bringing the total of World Cup construction workers killed to eight.
Photos by Mario Tama/Getty Images.