The CPI of Carnaval: Now You Read All About It, Now You Don’t

No Mínimo (Brazil) Web poll: Do you think Carnaval 2007 was fixed? Top answer: “Of course. In Rio, corruption runs hog wild.” No Mínimo, sadly, recently went out of business.

You can be aggressive in hunting down news, that’s one thing. It is quite another thing to be agressive in a way that disrespects authority. You must not let your authority be disrespected. … In those who have authority, that authority is intrinsic, it is innate. … if you do not respect yourself, journalists will not respect you, just as no one at home will respect you. A single look can generally resolve half such problems. The way you look at them when you answer, and the journalist will not persist in posing a disrespectful question.Antônio Carlos Magalhães

The Brazilian journalist does not feel free to write. More than just having to follow the editorial line of the publications they work for, the complaints principally have to do with coercion by political and business groups.“A Profile of the Brazilian Journalist.”

Or worse.

That survey of working — and unemployed — journalists, sponsored wth great fanfare by a Grupo Abril training program, had been taken down from the Web, last time I looked.

Speaking of which: Whatever happened to the legislative commission looking into the results of Carnaval 2007 in Rio de Janeiro?

City lawmakers investigating alleged rigging of the 2007 competitive Carnaval parades said in mid-August that they found the latest round of statements from Carnaval jurors “contradictory.”

See also:

I have a Google news alert set to update me on the story, which, though something of a sidebar to the federal case being made against Rio bicho racketeers and the judges and police whose kids they were putting through college, seems like one of those “canary in the coalmine” sorts of stories. On the borking of the bicho mob, see also

There has been no update for nearly a month now, and the Web site no longer lists the commission (the “CPI of Carnaval”) among active investigations.

There have been no press releases to indicate that it expired or was withdrawn that I can see.

Perhaps it continues, but the Web site simply does not list it.

No minutes. No working papers. No mission statement. Nothing. You can read nothing about it, except a handful of press releases.

Your e-government at work, my carioca friends.

An important item of business still pending, according to the last press release on the subject (September 4): a summons to get testimony from “Captain” Guimarães.

On whom see also:

It is one thing for a probe of this kind to wind up work, issue a report, and state that the charges investigated were wholly or partially valid or invalid.

It is another thing for it to simply go missing in action.

After all, this is a story that involves contracts to which LIESA, Riotur, the city government, and the Globo network were parties, among others.

It involves allegations that Frank Nitti types were sent around to initimate uncooperative jurors by flashing their nickel-plated .45s.

The president of LIESA is now in jail in one of the the biggest official corruption and mafia prosecutions ever.

(Or is he? He was just granted habeas corpus. Again.)

Which means that TV Globo has an exclusive contract with the city to syndicate Carnaval all over the world, and most of the proceeds apparently go to what is alleged to be a racketeering influenced and corrupt organization.

This is a serious question:

Does TV Globo do big, booming global business with mafia-controlled entities?

If the answer is “no” — and perhaps it is: we would not want to anticipate the results of a careful investigation of the matter — you would think Globo would be extremely interested in publicizing that fact.

See also:

[Globo TV reporter] Messias Xavier is accused of selling information he obtained as a journalist to the gang of numbers racketeer de Miranda, head of the “one-armed bandit” mafia of Rio de Janeiro.

I went and tried to look at the back catalogue of this television reporter’s work on when that story broke.

According to my session on the search feature of the Web site, it is as though Messias Xavier, according to the Globo online archives, never existed.

Look, I am someone who likes to select news stories to follow and then make scrapbooks of them, in order to assess their Aristotelian unities and the scope of the Rashomon effect to which all news coverage is, of course, susceptible.

Some people collect stamps.

So I tend to notice things like this.

There was a tremendous amount of ink on the militia phenomenon in Rio, for example, between December 2006 and March of this year.

The story then simply disappeared from the local press.

Which I thought was just weird.

It finally resurfaced as part of a somewhat hysterical — welcome, in many ways, but also carefully premeditated, prepackaged, hedged and framed in a way that seemed manipulative to me — O Globo investigative series on “the new dictatorship.”

Most unpardonable, I thought, was the historical amnesia and gabbling revisionist bent that characterized the tortured framing narrative for that reporting.


“It is no secret,” as Larry Rohter likes to gabble, that Brazilian journalists suffer coercion, censorship and sometimes even assassination.

(A Correio Braziliense reporter working on an undercover exposé on the drug traffic in Brasília was shot just yesterday, for example. He lived, thank God.

Working alone, without credentials on his person, with a local driver.

Which is a stupid freaking thing to do.

Don’t these people have work safety rules?)

And who else is there to report on that fact but journalists?


“Captain” Guimarães (l.) with Rio mayor Cesar Maia (second from left)


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