As we all know, many of the country's urban poor live in favelas, a matter which must be resolved, one way or another. But nowhere in all of Brazil are the conditions worse than in Manaus, the capital of Amazonas, and we fear that the local state administration has neither the resources --- estimated (by Luc) to be roughly 1 credit --- or the political will to make this happen. If the Congress takes the initiative on this, however, it can serve as a model and case study for how to redevelop favelas and improve situation.
Allow me to present the Cidade Flutuante do Manaus, the Floating City of Manaus. Built on the Rio Negro, which meets the main Amazon River at Manaus, it was formed in the beginning of this decade, settled by thousands of Amazonian rubber workers who lost their employment when the western imperialists stole the rubber tree and the plantations in Asia took primacy over ours.
The majority of the houses are built on floating structures or on stilts, either directly in the Rio Negro or in swamplands formed by it. Human waste and all other garbage is thrown directly into the river, and the city sewage passes the inhabitants by as well, creating a foul-smelling, badly polluted and deeply unhealthy environment, rife for the spread of cholera and other such water-borne diseases. The streets, such as they are, are formed by a shaky network of stilted plank walkways, upon which poor children play, risking their lives in doing so. Any true streets are poorly lit and unpaved, often impassable due to mud formed by rain or due to waste materials. There are no amenities, social or physical, and no social spaces or establishments outside of drinking spots on the outside of the neighbourhood in which the people can congregate.
Journalists of A Classe Operária have been out in force, and collected photographs documenting the reality of the Cidade Flutuante do Manaus. Some of you may never have been to a favela, much less a floating one, and need to experience it. Please, see the dossiers provided to you, dear colleagues.
We have drafted a proposal for an Act to solve this issue. As we, to borrow a heathen Hindustani term, are no housing gurus, alternate proposals and amendments are much welcomed. Thank you.
Manaus Floating City Act
Whereas the Amazon River and its tributary Rio Negro, on which Manaus sits, poses numerous health issues - such as the easy spread of certain animal- or water-borne diseases, compounded by the threat of drowning or animal attack, added to which is copious amounts of raw sewage in urban river areas - to those living close to it,
Whereas since the year 1920, a cidade flutuante (floating city) has been created in Manaus due to the rampant poverty and lack of public housing that followed the collapse of the rubber industry, which once employed most of its inhabitants,
Whereas this mode of housing is unsustainable, threatens social disorder, and risks the lives of those who inhabit it and others as well due to the disease factor,
- Section 1. The Ministry of Transportation and Public Works will invest 1 credit into the construction of state-owned, rent-controlled apartments, built in accordance with existing regulations in regards to public health and safety, for the inhabitants of the floating city of Manaus. These housing complexes shall be built using durable methods and materials, away from the flood zones of the Amazon River and its tributaries, and be finished no later than 1 year after the passage of this bill.
- Section 2. Adequate social resources and support shall be provided to the inhabitants of the floating city of Manaus to ensure their resettlement goes well and without issue, and that their full legal rights as citizens of the Republic of the United States of Brazil are respected.
- Section 3. A national commission shall be appointed by the Minister of Transportation and Public Works, to carry out a case study in regards to the Manaus situation, and to study the wider situation in regards to favelas, informal settlements inhabited by the lower strata of the working class, across Brazil.
- Section 4. This bill shall go into effect thirty-one (31) days after passage.