Historic

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A ceremony in Rio de Janeiro this Wednesday (3) marked the official delivery of the report produced by the technical working group involving several federal agencies that recognized the historicity of the Horto Florestal community at the site, in the south zone of the capital of Rio de Janeiro. The document recommends the stay of 621 families. The report indicates that only residences that for some reason under environmental legislation cannot remain there will not be able to remain there, but that would be relocated within the community itself.

The working group responded to the request of the Federal Public Ministry (MPF) and was coordinated by the National Secretariat for Social Dialogues and Public Policy Articulation. It was composed of inhabitants of the community, representatives of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, the Institute of National Historical and Artistic Heritage (Iphan), the Ministry of Culture and the Jardim Botânico Research Institute.

The report is another step towards resolving disputes that have lasted more than four decades and involve, on the one hand, the families who live there, and on the other, the administration of the Botanical Garden, which claimed ownership of the land. As a result, there are hundreds of lawsuits seeking repossession against families in the Horto community.

Rio de Janeiro (RJ), 04/03/2024 – The chief minister of the General Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic, Márcio Macêdo during the release of a report that recognizes the historicity of the Horto community, in Jardim Botânico, in the south zone of the capital of Rio de Janeiro . Photo: Tomaz Silva/Agência Brasil
Rio de Janeiro (RJ), 04/03/2024 – The chief minister of the General Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic, Márcio Macêdo during the release of a report that recognizes the historicity of the Horto community, in Jardim Botânico, in the south zone of the capital of Rio de Janeiro . Photo: Tomaz Silva/Agência Brasil
The chief minister of the General Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic, Márcio Macêdo during the release of a report that recognizes the historicity of the Horto community, in Jardim Botânico – Tomaz Silva/Agência Brasil

“We are beginning a process of resolving the problem that has been dragging on for 40, 50 years. We did the work of identifying the problems and starting to address them. What we did was an assessment of the federal government’s point of view that coexistence is possible by laying down the rules of respect for environmental issues. This is the beginning of a new process. I am very hopeful that from now on we can have a direction so that we can have a solution that respects the environmental issue and the people who have been here for so long”, said the Minister of the General Secretariat of the Presidency, Márcio Macêdo .

The MPF proposed this attempt at conciliation to end a decades-old problem. “This report is favorable to the permanence of the Horto community. It recognizes the historical ties of this community and removes the risk of removal that has hung over the heads of these families for so many years. It establishes that [para] 85% of the community have no obstacles to staying and 15% need further studies because they are possibly in risk areas, but not because they are invaders. It now indicates a new path to build this reconciliation and end the processes, whether in the Federal Court of Auditors or in the Judiciary”, said the regional attorney for Citizens’ Rights in Rio de Janeiro, Júlio José de Araújo Júnior.

Rio de Janeiro (RJ), 04/03/2024 – The president of the Association of Residents and Friends of Horto, Fábio Dutra Costa during the release of a report that recognizes the historicity of the Horto community, in Jardim Botânico, in the south zone of the capital of Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Tomaz Silva/Agência Brasil
Rio de Janeiro (RJ), 04/03/2024 – The president of the Association of Residents and Friends of Horto, Fábio Dutra Costa during the release of a report that recognizes the historicity of the Horto community, in Jardim Botânico, in the south zone of the capital of Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Tomaz Silva/Agência Brasil
The president of the Association of Residents and Friends of Horto, Fábio Dutra Costa, during the release of a report that recognizes the historicity of the Horto community – Tomaz Silva/Agência Brasil

The president of the Association of Residents and Friends of Horto, Fábio Dutra Costa, said that the next step is the regularization of the community’s land tenure. “This is another step in our long journey towards land regularization, which we have been fighting for for decades. In our understanding, it is closer to a favorable outcome for both the community and the Botanical Garden itself. There is instability because there is no type of title. We don’t want the community to expand. We want to continue as it is,” he said.

“The community is traditional and wants to continue existing in its ancestry, in its culture. And the Botanical Garden is a wonder of the world in an urban environment. We both want the same thing. The community never got in the way. We are together in a peaceful coexistence environment. We can build synergies and partnerships that will greatly help the garden and the community, and can set an example of coexistence of communities with biodiversity, helping with preservation”, stated the president of the Jardim Botânico Research Institute, Sérgio Besserman.

Historic

The Horto Florestal community was formed throughout the 20th century by employees from old factories in the region and, later, by workers from the Jardim Botânico Research Institute itself. Many of the people who live there today are descendants of these two groups. Starting in the 1980s, the Union filed 215 repossession actions and achieved a favorable decision in almost all of them. But, in the context of the approval of the new Constitution of 1988, and the new understandings on social housing and land regularization, only three decisions were implemented.

In 2006, the Union Heritage Secretariat in Rio de Janeiro (SPU-RJ) presented a term of reference to regularize Union areas in the state of Rio de Janeiro. The Botanical Garden/Horto was among them. Through an agreement with the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), the Land and Urban Registration Regularization Project for the Horto Settlement was presented in 2011.

Opposing the stay of the inhabitants of Horto, the Association of Residents and Friends of Jardim Botânico (AMAJB) filed a complaint with the Federal Audit Court (TCU). Administrative proceedings were opened on grounds of misuse of public property. The decision came in 2012: the TCU ordered the federal government to create an interministerial commission to define the Botanical Garden’s area of ​​interest. All families that were within this area and had previously lost legal action should be removed from the area.

In 2013, the opinion of the interministerial commission was that the Botanical Garden was interested in advancing 80% of the community. The Jardim Botânico Research Institute, which received ownership of the area from the Union, has been trying to fulfill the repossessions since then, under the supervision of the TCU.

The article is in Portuguese

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