Jardim Botanico is a middle to high class neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, where luxurious houses have been constructed on the hill sides of the Serra da Carioca. The main Brazilian TV broadcaster and channel, Rede Globo, who also owns the main newspaper in Rio, O Globo, has its headquarters and other offices in the neighborhood.
In this neighborhood there is also an area known as Horto, where low income and old working class houses are located. The hundreds of families living in the Horto are under constant threats of eviction due to conflict, which has been going on for decades, concerning land ownership with the Botanical Garden.
The Garden is one of Rio de Janeiro's main touristic parks and is part of the Botanical Garden's Research Institute, which is responsible for classifying Brazilian flora, besides carrying out other important kinds of research. The park authority alleges that it has been "invaded" by low income households and wants to recover the Horto area in order to expand its visiting and research facilities. However, some of the houses located in the area under dispute are more than a century old and used to be part of workers' villages built by the park's employees themselves. Some of the residents still have the document authorizing them to build their houses there. These residents are being accused of acting against the environment in the region. The residents, in the other hand, argue that by occupying that region, they have prevented that big construction projects be located close to the park, which would be highly prejudicial to the environment. In the same area, however, there is also an electric energy plant and a public company's headquarters, which have not been targeted with removal.
Trying to stop the legal recognition of the houses at Horto, the Botanic Garden and one of the neighborhood's residents association went against a draft bill that intended to implement proper urbanization and environmental management in the Horto region. Simultaneously, however, enormous luxurious houses are being built in the park's surroundings, in green areas, without any opposition from the groups that demand the eviction of the houses at the Horto area. On Aug. 10, with the Olympic Games underway, a Brazilian federal court ruled that the tract of land where Horto lies would be transferred over to Rio's Jardim Botânico.