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Woe to the lowly in Rio

Despite the efforts of Oprah and the Obamas, it didn’t take the International Olympic Committee long to eliminate Chicago from the competition to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Expected to be one of the final two candidates, the city was ousted in the first round. I’m sure this intends a complex message to reach feeble American-warmonger-greedy-capitalist-bully-imperialist-fat-faced-consumer-run-amok ears, and one that I’m sure we’ll not take time to understand. Okay, so, whatever.

Congrats to Rio! But, no! Woe to the poor and marginalized of Rio is a more authentic sentiment. Olympic victory has put them all in harm’s way, to be sure. According to the Geneva-based Centre of Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), hosting the Summer Games is an excellent excuse to have a big ol’ poverty crack down. COHRE has documented the following housing trends in Olympic host cities: evictions of tenants from low-rent housing; evictions resulting from gentrification; significant decreases in boarding-house stock; inflated real-estate prices; weakened legislation protecting tenants; criminalization of poverty; temporary or permanent privatization of public space; and temporary or permanent suppression of human rights and, particularly, freedom of assembly.

Congrats to Chicago are in order.

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