Rio de Janiero residents forced to relocate as city prepares for 2016 Olympics

(CBS News) RIO DE JANIERO - America's Olympians are flying home from London today, and their luggage is packed with medals.

The U.S. team won 46 gold medals, 104 overall - more than any other country. China was next with 38 gold and 88 overall. Russia was third.

Last night, London's mayor passed the Olympic flag to the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. That city will host the 2016 games, but there is already some unhappiness there about the preparations.

Olympic flag lands in Rio, ready for 2016

In Rio, spray paint marks houses that are set to be demolished.

Eomar Fritas has no intention of leaving his home of 18 years. It's one of the last houses still standing in his Rio de Janiero neighborhood. The city government plans to tear it - along with hundreds of others - to the ground.

"We need to fight for what is ours and show this strategy to demolish houses won't work," he said.

Of the six and a half million people who live in Rio, it's estimated that around 20 percent live in "favelas" or slums. The government says it breeds crime and disease and this also just so happens to be in the shadow of a stadium that'll be used for the Olympics.

Most of Freita's neighbors voluntarily moved into government-funded housing projects, and 160,000 units are planned at the cost of nearly $4 billion.

"These people will be relocated here," Jorge Bittar, Rio's municipal housing secretary, said.

He insists that the government-funded housing is a long-planned effort to revitalize these slums.

"There is no obligation to the International Olympic committee," Bittar said.

But, the glossy materials they handed to us showcase the new housing under the headlines "Olympic legacy" and "Rio 2016."

Gilvan Berto owns one of the many motorcycle repair shops crammed along the main road in front of the Olympic stadium. He worries he'll have to move his business of seven years.

"In reality, they want to hide the dirt," Berto said.

Just down the street, Freitas said not only his home but the small bar he runs are in jeopardy.

"I really don't believe that this has nothing to do with those events," Freitas said.

When Rio shows off during its 2016 Olympics, the world will surely never see the shadows of today's city.

  • Seth Doane

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Follow Us

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

On Twitter