São Paulo: New Subprefect for the See


“What is the greatest pride of the São Paulo native today?” Top answer: “Stick a fork in it, this sucker is done.” Second: “Cultural ferment and bohemia.” Third: “The power of money.” Fourth: “The Mayor’s Clean City law.” Source: the late, lamented
No Mínimo.

Brazil’s Centro de Mídia Independente has an interesting note that I missed:

Na terça-feira da semana passada, 11 de setembro, o ex-chefe da polícia civil de São Paulo, Mario Jordão Toledo Leme, assumiu a subprefeitura da Sé em São Paulo. Nomeado pelo coordenador das subprefeituras e também empresário do ramo imobiliário, Andrea Matarazzo, Leme assumiu o posto após se afastar do cargo de delegado-geral da Polícia Civil de São Paulo, no qual atuou entre dezembro de 2002 a dezembro de 2006.

On  September 11, former state police chief Mario Jordão Toledo Leme was named the subprefect for the Sé district (historic downtown) of São Paulo. Named by real estate entrepreneur Andrea Matarazzo, the city’s coordinator of subprefectures, Leme assumes the post after stepping down as state police chief, in which cpacity he served from December 2002 to December 2006.

On his replacement, see

On Matarazzo — who if I understand this correctly has stepped down himself as subprefect of Sé — see also:

On intimations of bingo-based corruption  in the São Paulo subprefectures — expect more developments on this topic in the future — see also

O afastamento de Leme do cargo deu-se após denúncias de corrupção envolvendo membros de sua corporação, além de divergências com o Secretário Estadual de Segurança Pública, Ronaldo Marzagão. O novo subprefeito iniciou sua carreira policial trabalhando como investigador do Dops (Departamento de Ordem e Política Social), órgão de repressão da ditadura militar que matou e torturou diversos militantes políticos da época.

Leme’s departure  came in the wake of corruption charges involving state police, as well as differences with state public security secretary Marzagão. 

A reputed mob lawyer was arrested earlier this year in possession of a spreadsheet indicating payoffs to 85 of 94 metropolitan police precincts. By the gambling rackets.

Remember the Al Capone ledger books apprehended in Brian de Palma’s The Untouchables? Kind of like that. In fact, an awful lot like that.

The new subprefect (deputy mayor) started his police career as an investigator for DOPS, the Department of Social and Political Order, a repressive agency of the militatry dictatorship that killed and tortured a number of political militants during that period.

DOPS HQ, across from the Estação da Luz, is now a museum.

Leme assumiu o cargo com apoio do governador José Serra, que disse que o trabalho dele enquanto chefe da polícia foi “positivo” e “continuará na nova gestao”. No entanto, o período no qual Leme atuou no centro a repressão a movimentos sociais aumentou, juntamente com denúncias de violações de direitos humanos. Em 2005 movimentos sociais do centro em contra partida organizaram um Dossiê de Denúncias intitulado “Violações de direitos humanos no centro São Paulo: propostas e reinvidicações para políticas públicas”, no qual apontam todas as atrocidades cometida pelo Estado e pela Policia no centro da cidade além de propor base para novas políticas públicas.

Leme assumes the post with the support of Governor Serra, who said his work as police chief was “positive” and “will continue in his new job.” However, during Leme’s tenure, the repression of social movements increased, along with charges of human rights violations. In 2005, downtown social movements organized a “dossier” titled “Human rights violations in downtown São Paulo: proposals and demands for public policy,” in which all the atrocities committed by the state government and police in the downtown are listed, and new public policies proposed.

On the other hand, I would mention in passing, the Serra government did manage to defuse two volatile situations without violence: The occupation of the USP rector’s office by radical students protesting education reforms, and the negotiation over ending the long-time occupation of the Prestes Maia cortiço by a homeless advocacy group.

No heads were busted in either case.

I thought that was something of a positive development.

Later, however, the PM Shock Troop was sent in to bust up a sit-in at the USP law school.

So stay tuned.

For some strange reason, I find myself wanting to think fairly well of this Serra guy.

Possibly just to be contrarian for the sake of being contrarian.

Possibly out of a naive and wishy-washy desire to see Brazilian voters — I like these Brazilians and wish them well with getting their civilization going — presented with political choices between competing responsible adults for a change.

Rather than between (1) one quite respectable, but in need of reality-checking, tendency toward responsible adulthood and (2) hysterical hordes of gabbling Moonies.

And I have to say I really was impressed by Serra’s inaugural address, shown live on TV — after which the guy was almost never heard from again in the news media. Which I find really weird.

Rabidly partisan petista friends scoff at my theory of internecine, Toucan-on-Toucan media ratfink wars, but one does, I think, see a gabbling memefest forming around the notion that the PSDB-PFL alliance is lousy with “PToucan traitors.”

Isolating extremist minorities and fortifying the majoritarian center: thinking heads of various persuasions do seem to be converging on that notion these days around here.


Decorative mosaic, Conjunto Nacional (1958) office block and shopping mall, Avenida Paulista at R. Consolação, São Paulo, Brazil.

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