[www-editoriales] urgency - propose - The far largest squatted highrise building of South America is under threat.
toya en riseup.net
toya en riseup.net
Mie Feb 8 13:17:26 PST 2006
hi i am only on editoriales list so please, if ppl from features believes
the proposal is ok let me know or in editoriales or at my personal email,
toya at riseup.net
i will send a photo later.
São Paulo - Brazil.
The far largest squatted highrise building of South America is under threat.
The "Prestes Maia", far out the largest squatted highrise building on the
South American Continent is under threat of eviction. With it´s 468
families, accounting for more than1600 previously roofless people,
including children, elderly and disabled, the building will shortly be
returned to its 'lawful' owner, Mr. Hamuche & Co., who in the last 15
years of 'ownership' accumulated a debt in municipal taxes of some 5
million reais (approx. 2.2 million dollars / 2.1 million euros). More than
the building is worth. This enormous debt, together with long years of
abandonment, should well justify (even according to law) the local
municipality to claim the building as public property, but nevertheless
will be returned to its owner, putting hundreds of people back onto the
The 468 families, united in the Downtown Roofless Movement (Movimento sem
Teto do Centro (MSTC) of São Paulo, that since 2002 live in the 22 storey
highrise, cleaned out tonnes of rubbish and litter (200 trucks to be
exact!), organized it, expelling drugs and other criminal bosses always
there to take advantage, turning it into an exiting and lively human
dwelling, after being simply closed down for years and left in deplorable
condition, serving as shelter for rats and cockroaches, as is the case of
many buildings in downtown São Paulo.
Last January 27th, the family´s representatives met with the police
authorities in charge of the forhcoming eviction. During the meeting was
made clear that the action will take place somewhere between the 15th and
21st of February, an exact date not given for 'strategical' reasons and
that the troops will be 'prepared for the worse'.
The families were advised to leave the presinct before, to avoid
unpleasant encounters, and when asking where they were supposed to go, the
answer was: 'to the streets or elsewhere'.
This way the city government has acted during countless evictions since
Mr. José Serra took office as major of the largest Brazilian city, in the
beginning of 2005. His project to 'gentrify' the city centre, largely paid
for by international funds, based on expelling the low earning families
and street dwellers, counts on the systematic employment of the municipal
(Guarda Civil Metropolitana) and state (Polícia Militar) police forces.
This clearly shows the municipal and state authorities' atitude towards
the 'poor' and their movements: first criminalise them and then fight and
persecute them, without mercy, expelling them to the sub-urban 'favelas'
or at the most to 'social housing projects', mostly even further out.
The 'Prestes Maia' squat - with its library, its workshops, its
educational, social and cultural activities - in the last years turned
into a maior laboratory of experiments in organizing a real human renewal
of downtown São Paulo. People of all ages and upbringings, of all
Brazilian states and other nationalities, artists, students, work together
to create a new understanding of how the city should and can work.
Putting all these people back onto the streets, 'pulverizing' them, is a
maior crime! Support 'Prestes Maia'!
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