Rio’s Olympics graveyard

The Rio Olympic Games have had a few hiccups.

First there was the Zika virus; then bacteria in the city’s offshore waters; and of course the demonstrations by the poor of the city.

Now it turns out that the Olympic media village sits on top of a mass grave of slaves.

The media village has more than “1,500 spacious and modern apartments” and a huge pool to relax in.

But to build the village, the Brazilian authorities tore down several parts of a quilombo, which is a settlement of runaway slaves from centuries ago.

The builders razed a colonial-era sugar mill – many slaves were forced to produce sugar – without any archaeological survey; mass graves were found around the mill.

Brazil’s 1988 Constitution granted the remaining quilombos the collective ownership of the lands they have occupied since colonial times.

But the great Olympic steamroller squashes all in its path.


Picture source: Jean-Baptiste Debret via Wikimedia