Brazil’s economy rains on its carnival parades

Ashley Milne-Tyte – Marketplace, 02/05/2016

Carnival celebrations are kicking off in Brazil: days of partying and parades, complete with masks, glitter and headdresses. Traditionally, the whole point of carnival is to be lavish — it’s not a time for holding back. At least, it hasn’t been until now, when Brazil is in deep economic crisis. This year one city near Sao Pãulo, Campinas, can’t fund the usual parade put on by local samba schools.

Fernanda Curi works in advertising production in Sao Pãulo. “The mayor is saying, instead of doing the parade, they’re buying medicine and an ambulance,” she said. “They’re justifying why they’re not doing carnival … because they need to buy what’s really essential.”She said smaller cities like Campinas will suffer as crowds thin, but the big ones like Rio de Janeiro, where she’s headed this week, will be fine.

Paulo Sotero directs the Brazil Institute at the Wilson Center in Washington D.C. He said Brazilians are generally an optimistic bunch, but these days morale is low. It’s not just the lousy economy. The Zika virus is spreading, and there’s an ongoing government corruption scandal.”This is no time for Carnival,” he said. “Brazil is facing a very serious crisis.”

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Carnival spectacle tainted by violence in Brazil

Chris Wright – Business Insider, 2/15/2015

Tens of thousands of people flooded Rio’s streets Sunday to watch samba dancers in dazzling costumes defy downpours and bare sparkly flesh in a fantasy Brazilians dream of year round.

An estimated crowd of more than 72,000, from great-grandmothers to babes in arms, swayed and cheered on their favorite samba school in hours-long parades in Rio’s annual party to end all parties.

There was thunder, lightning and driving rain pouring on thousands in viewing stands open to the sky. Many wore disposable rain ponchos.

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Brazil scales back Carnival festivities as drought and weak economy persist

Bruce Douglas – The Guardian, 2/11/2015

Severe drought and an ailing economy have forced cities and towns across Brazil to abandon or scale back their plans for Carnival, which is due to start on Friday.

In Brasília, the capital, the local authorities have cancelled the samba school parade for the first time since 1983, in an attempt to plug the R$4bn (£900m) hole left in the accounts by the previous administration.

“It was a really unpleasant surprise,” said Geomar Leite, the president of Brasília’s Union of Samba Schools, said. “We had all the programme ready; the music, the costumes. We feel really frustrated.”

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

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

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

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

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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