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© Tatiana Cardeal ADMIN July 24, 2008
Thank you for all the letters, emails, faxes, all your support.

Group Description

The site was considered the largest vertical occupation in Latin America. The building was an old textile factory abandoned more than 20 years ago, and the owners owe millions in taxes to the municipal government. Some 2,000 people were living there, members of the Downtown Homeless Movement, which is led by 10 women from various occupied sites in the city. The groups are well organized, articulated and formed by thousands of people who formerly lived on the street, in squares or under bridges and overpasses. Like an army without shelter, they founded the Homeless Movement not only as a way to struggle for the right to housing, but to restore their own dignity, unraveled by lack of care and social segregation.

There is tremendous prejudice in Brazil against the homeless, who are often accused of being “rabble rousers” and “invaders”. These images seek to show that the homeless are honorable people, who are seeking the inalienable right to a dignified life. There are more than 400 sealed or under utilized buildings in downtown São Paulo. It is in these locations that the homeless want to live. Nevertheless, in recent years, “urban revitalization” projects have given emphasis to raising real estate values, and there is no room for the homeless. They are evicted towards the periphery or sub-human life in cortiços – precarious urban dwellings with many residents in tiny spaces. The revitalization projects sponsored by the city government do not give priority to reducing inequalities, but to exclusion, a social apartheid sponsored by the state and which often includes violent actions from shock troops and security forces.

After 5 years of occupation, many suspension of evictions, mobilizations, in May 2007, a representative meeting that joined the minister of the city, the city mayor, and other leaders from federal, state and municipal sphere, started to give a new direction for the Prestes Maia families. Since July, 2007, the Prestes Maia occupation have been closed, after the removal of all the families.

This group was created during the process of eviction, to help to spread the Prestes Maia families history, give them visibility, as a tool to call national and international help.
We thank you all, letters, faxes, emails and all the support that they received.

Alone we can nothing! Together we can everything!

Tatiana Cardeal

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