Carnaval can’t quell frustrations, concern in popular tourist town along Rio coast

March 6, 2014

Dom Phillips – The Washington Post, 3/5/2014

José de Moraes leapt into the air as if possessed by the frenzied rhythm that his drummers were beating out. As master of the drum section of his Carnaval street party, or bloco, his job was to choreograph the furious samba beats that sent revelers wild.

He leapt and danced like a rubber man in the midst of the bloco, called Paraty do Amanhã (Paraty of Tomorrow), on a narrow street in this popular tourist town on the Rio de Janeiro coast that attracts more than a million visitors a year.

For Brazilians, Carnaval is a five-day national escape from the harsher realities of life. The year in Brazil only really begins after Carnaval, which wrapped up Tuesday.

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From Recife, Brazil, 3 rythms get the carnival party started

March 3, 2014

Lourdes Garcia-Navarro – NPR, 2/28/2014

It’s Carnival this weekend in Brazil. While it costs hundreds of dollars just to get a bad seat in Rio de Janeiro, the northern city of Recife hosts the most unique and varied celebration in the country, with two million people expected to attend.

“There is a mixture of the religious and the profane here,” says Romulo Meneses, who’s the head of the biggest block in the Saturday parade. “The two play with each other during carnival. The saying goes that this isn’t a state, it’s a country in and of itself because it is so multicultural.”

There are three broad types of music that symbolize Carnival: frevocaboclinhos and maracatu.

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No joke: Carnaval, World Cup could hit Brazil growth in 2014

December 18, 2013

Brian Winter & Walter Brandimarte – Reuters, 12/17/2013

A tongue-in-cheek “Brazilian 2014 Calendar” making the rounds on Facebook jokes that, because of the soccer World Cup, an unusually late Carnival, other holidays and a presidential election, real work will only be possible during three months next year.

But some people aren’t laughing.

The unusual schedule could in fact cause significant damage to productivity and be a further drag on an economy that has already been spinning its wheels, some business leaders and economists say.

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After Deadly Fire, Fears for Carnival in Brazil

February 8, 2013

Bradley Brooks – Associated Press, 02/08/2013

Just over a week since a nightclub fire killed nearly 240 revelers in southern Brazil, Carnival festivities hit full stride Friday, raising questions about the safety of those who will pack party spaces across the nation.

In the days following the deadly blaze at the Kiss club in the university town of Santa Maria, authorities across Brazil increased fire inspections and closed dozens of clubs in many major cities, mostly citing problems with the establishments’ paperwork.

But most of the clubs have already reopened — leading fire experts to say few changes were put in place to really improve safety for patrons.

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Brazil: The Face Behind Rio’s Carnival

February 7, 2013

Fox News Latino, 02/07/2013

RIO DE JANEIRO – Rio’s Carnival is here, who do you want to be this year?

The wall of Olga Valles’ office is a vast tableau of famous faces past and present: Barack Obama smiles warmly, while Yasser Arafat poses in his trademark black-and-white keffiyeh. Next to him is George W. Bush, practically cheek-to-cheek with a fierce Saddam Hussein, teeth bared in a snarl under his black beret.

Beyond them are Osama Bin Laden, Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, an array of soccer greats and the more colorful images of Shrek, Simba from the movie “The Lion King” and assorted monsters.

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Brazil: striking police leave occupied building

February 9, 2012

Jenny Barchfield – AP/SF Gate, 02/09/2012

Soldiers patrol the streets in the historic center of Salvador, Brazil, Wednesday Feb. 8, 2012. Crime reportedly jumped when one-third of the 30,000 police in Bahia walked off the job Jan. 31. Though violence has tapered off a bit since more than 3,400 soldiers and federal police were sent in to patrol Salvador on Sunday. (Felipe Dana/AP)

Striking police officers in the northeastern city of Salvador on Thursday evacuated the state legislative building they occupied in protest for more than a week.

It was not immediately clear, however, whether the conclusion of the dramatic standoff between the strikers and 1,000 army soldiers and elite federal police officers would also mark the end of the 10-day-long work stoppage that has threatened one of the globe’s biggest Carnival celebrations here.

Army spokesman Marcio Cunha didn’t know whether the estimated 10,000 striking officers would return to the job, and some local media reported that negotiations were to continue.

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Brazil’s illegal numbers game under pressure

January 27, 2012

Beth McLoughlin – BBC News, 01/27/2012

Jogo do bicho and Carnival have long been intertwined

The illegal gambling game in Brazil known as jogo do bicho, or the animal game, occupies an important, if shady, place in popular culture.

In the run-up to Carnival in February, Rio de Janeiro police have been targeting alleged gambling chiefs in an operation called Dedo de Deus, or Finger of God.

Standing for his police photo in Brazil’s regulation green prison uniform, Aniz Abraao David cut a forlorn figure.

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