Brazil Builds Media Condo Over African Burial Grounds For Olympics

A community of descendants from enslaved Africans, are accusing Brazilian developers of building condominiums for journalists over a sacred site where their Ancestors where buried.

According to The Guardian, developers are “destroying archaeological remains at the site of an old sugar mill, and depriving the community of a public space for cultural activities that celebrate its Afro-Brazilian heritage.” In 2013, the land was purchased by Cyrela, who then proceeded to cut down trees, and tear down a slave era sugar mill in order to build the condo for the Olympics. The condo has been open to journalists since July 5, but Brazil has yet to widely cover this story within their own national media.

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It is estimated that 40 percent of Africans imported to the Americas were taken to Brazil. Africans who were enslaved in the country actively resisted the country’s slave system, through individual and collective means; those who managed to escape lifelong captivity often formed their own autonomous communities known as “quilombos” or “mocambos.” Whereas researchers succeeded in gathering information about these communities elsewhere in the Americas, Brazil’s historical memory of these important acts of resistance is relatively scant, despite the country being the biggest importers of enslaved Africans in the world until 1888.

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Descendants of the Camorim quilambo have attempted to purchase the land themselves, but the “process was never finalized” and the Rio de Janeiro city government has stated that the the Media Village was “built on private property” within regulations.

Brazil has also come under fire in light of their high level of police violence towards young black people living in favelas. Black Lives Matter activists in the United States have journeyed to the country last week in an act of political solidarity, just in time for the Rio Olympics.