Rio: Carnival Carnage is Political Circus!

 


Hummingbirds Roar Like the Lion King at Sapucaí
. As a tour guide explained to me once, the arch shown in the background — typical of Niemeyer’s Dr. Suess-like Tatlin-designed poured-concrete brutalist-modernist whimsy — is “an homage to the, er, bikini.”

Liesa nega que houve irregularidade na decisão do carnaval (O Globo): Rio’s mayor calls accusations about fraud in this year’s Carnaval competition “hasty” and the long-time big man of Rio carnival says “it was technically impossible” to defraud the result.

Mais cedo, o prefeito O prefeito [sic] Cesar Maia afirmou não acreditar em fraude no resultado do desfile de carnaval deste ano. Segundo o prefeito, o delegado Emanuel Henrique de Oliveira, que participa das investigações da Operação Hurricane (Furacão, em inglês) deu uma declaração precipitada, ao colocar o título do carnaval deste ano da Beija-Flor sob suspeita. O policial disse, sem apresentar provas, que o campeonato pode ter sido manipulado por Anísio Abraão David, patrono da Beija-Flor e preso na operação, na sexta-feira … Para o prefeito, a polícia deveria concluir as investigações antes de dizer que houve fraude.

Earlier, Rio mayor Cesar Maia said he did not believe there was fraud in the result of the competition this year, [calling the statement by] federal police officer Emanuel Henrique de Oliveira, who participated in Operation Hurricane, a hasty one. The police inspector cast doubt on the Carnaval championship won by Beija-Flor this year, saying, without presenting evidence, that the championship may have been manipulated by Anísio Abraão David, patron of Beija-Flor and arrested in Operation Hurricane … The mayor said the police ought to conclude their investigations before announcing there was fraud.

Fair enough. The man is the mayor of a city trying to build a tourist economy in the middle of a militia scandal and calls by the govenor to declare Rio a failed state, after all. What would you expect him to say? You might have quoted his exact words, by the way, in this politically charged matter.

A local paper carried more of the mayor’s statement on the matter:

Para o prefeito Cesar Maia, o esquema de contabilização dos votos, em que cada jurado julga apenas um quesito e coloca as notas num envelope que só será aberto na hora da apuração, dificulta a concretização de fraude: “São quatro jurados e 10 quesitos, num total de 40 jurados. Analisando as notas de cada escola, verifica-se uma homogeneidade entre os jurados. Pode-se pensar que um jurado, ao dar nota baixa a uma escola, poderia beneficiar outra, porque as vitórias acontecem por uma pequena diferença de pontos. Mas como saber qual escola deveria ser prejudicada se não se sabe nada até a hora do desfile? É quase impossível isso acontecer. É possível que num telefonema alguém tenha tido essa vontade, mas é diferente de executa-la”, afirmou, em entrevista por e-mail.

In the mayor’s view, the system of counting the votes, in which each jury member judges just one aspect and places his or her notes inside an envelope that will only be opened at the final vote-count, makes fraud difficult: “There are four juries for each technical area, for a total of 40 jurors. When you analyse the marks given to each school, you see there is consistency among the jurors. You might think that a juror who gives a low mark to one school might be trying to benefit another, because the margins of victory are so small. But how would you know what school to [shave points from] if you do not have any information until parade time. It is almost impossible for this to happen. Maybe somebody was on the telephone saying they wanted to try it, but that is different from actually carrying it out,” he wrote, in an e-mail interview.

The PF investigator went on Fantástico, a perennially popular prime-time infotainment newsmagazine on the Globo network, and said the LIESA president was overheard on wiretaps arranging for a bribe to be paid.

This is equivalent to being interviewed live on 60 Minutes and revealing that baseball’s home run king is pumped up on steroids, apple pie causes cancer and motherhood is an international terrorist conspiracy.

We should translate his statements. Federal Police agents have been known to monger scandals, after all: See Puta Sacanagem: Sampa Journalists Huddle with Capt. Edmilson of the Federal Police, for example.

Unlike that case, however, Mr. Oliveira went on the record.

With a vengeance.

The Rio city legislature is talking about a commission of inquiry into the case. But a scandal over illegal campaign funding, also emerging from the Hurricane wiretaps, may occupy more of their time.

The Hurricane case is getting maximum media attention, even as federal police engage in work slowdowns for better working conditions.

Some media outlets have slammed the PF and the federal attorney’s office, the MPF, over their attempts to bring corruption charges — or their failure to bring them. Sound familiar? Minnesotans?

See especially the incident described in Veja Só and Federal Prosecutors Rebut Veja. And see Brazil’s Dossiêgate: The Day of the Undead Aloprados.

And so have senior members of the Judiciary: See Folha in a Finer Hour: Judging Judges Judging Judges and Mendes Defended.

And in this case, the PF have been loudly criticized — and defended — over alleged procedural errors and violation of rights of defendants. The warrants served in this case were issued by a Supreme Court justice appointed by Lula da Silva.

According to the LIESA Web site, which is hosted on the Globo.com domain, Maia was instrumental in commercializing the Carnaval celebration:

In the first visit to LIESA by a political candidate in 1992, Maia committed to privatizing Carnaval. Days after his election, the new mayor entrusted the management of the nation’s largest popular festival to LIESA, and since then has never concealed his gratitude to the work the samba schools have done for the city’s image over the years. We should not forget the efforts of former mayor Luiz Paulo Conde, who continued the policy of his predecessor.

Globo, meanwhile, is the principal commercial beneficiary of that commercialization, with a virtual monopoly on Carnaval coverage and worldwide syndication.

Beija-Flor was featured in several Globo programs filmed before Carnaval, as I recall, including a primetime soap opera and (the nauseating) Big Brother Brasil.

Through his attorney, the LIESA official also called defrauding the result “technically impossible”:

Por intermédio do advogado Ubiratan Guedes, encarregado da defesa, o presidente de honra da Beija-Flor negou ter manipulado o resultado do carnaval. O advogado informou que Anísio disse ser tecnicamente impossível fraudar o resultado do carnaval carioca pelo fato de os desfiles serem avaliados por 40 jurados.

Through his defense lawyer, Ubiratan Guedes, the honorary president of Beija-Flor denied having manipulated the result. The attorney quoted Anísio as saying that it was technically impossible to produce a fraudulent result because the parades are judged by 40 jurors.

– É impossível comprar o resultado e quem viu o desfile sabe que não houve fraude – argumentou o advogado.

“It is impossible to buy the result, and if you saw the parades, you know there was no fraud,” the attorney argued.

I saw them.

Very few points separated the top three finishers, which to a layman’s eye all looked stunning, glorious and deserving of top honors.

The thousands of volunteers who get out there and boogie are just great. I love Carnaval. As usual, critics decried the increasing commercialization of the spectacle. And they have a point.

But this is not a footrace, you know, with a photo finish. It’s more like figure skating, where the Soviet judge is always accused of padding the scores of socialist athletes.

Na operação deflagrada pela Polícia Federal na sexta-feira, outras 23 pessoas foram presas, entre elas desembargadores, delegados e contraventores, além dos bicheiros Anísio e Capitão Guimarães … De acordo com reportagem do jornal “O Globo” desta segunda-feira, pelo menos 40 pessoas continuam sendo investigadas no Rio pela Diretoria de Inteligência Policial (DIP) da Polícia Federal de Brasília, suspeitas de integrarem a rede de corrupção que envolve crimes como contrabando, tráfico de influência, adulteração de combustíveis e exploração de jogos ilegais.

In the operation unleashed by the Federal Police on Friday, another 23 persons were arrested, among them senior judges, police inspectors and criminals, as well as the bicho mobsters Anísio and “Captain” Guimarães … according to a report in the O Globo newspaper this Friday, at least 40 persons are still under investigation in Rio by the DIP (police intelligence directorate) of the Federal Police in Brasília, suspected of involvement in a network of corruption that involves crimes such as smuggling, influence-peddling, adulteration of fuel and running illegal gambling establishments.

Gas stations are a favorite investment of various flavors of organized crime. Go figure.

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