Brazil's capital celebrates 50 years - under a cloud

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Brazil's capital celebrates 50 years - under a cloud

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Brazil’s futuristic capital is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Brazilia was built in record time… a modern city in the middle of a savannah conceived by charismatic architect Oscar Niemeyer.

But all is not as it seems. Protesters among the crowds enjoying the parades held up banners denouncing corruption.

For many the Utopian dream has turned into a nightmare although many residents believe that dream can still become a reality.

Maria da Gloria Soares said she had much to be thankful for: “When I came to Brasilia, I was still child. Now, I have settled here, got married, had kids. I am already a grandmother. So, for me Brasilia is just wonderful.”

Built from scratch nearly a thousand kilometres inland it was designed to replace the former capital Rio de Janeiro and business capital Sao Paulo.

But love for the city is tempered by conditions that have come to resemble the most squalid slums of Brazil’s other conurbations.

The soaring public buildings present an image of prosperity but development has brought overpopulation, inequality and violence.

Even Neimeyer himself has expressed his disappointment saying the capital went downhill after the politicians arrived.