Rio may be “melted” but it’s still cooking

At the Casa Pública journalism center, yesterday: the state’s numbers have been worrisome for a long time, said Paulo Lindesay. Few were interested

Anti-corruption demonstrations are taking place in Brazil today. There’s not much enthusiasm for them in Rio, where by now there’s widespread déjà vu even though the Car Wash investigations are being targeted by the very politicians under scrutiny.

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What really gets locals into the street are the state government’s proposals to reduce spending: cutting wages, increasing pension contributions for state employees. (Former governor Sérgio Cabral’s wife Adriana Ancelmo’s expected departure from jail to Leblon house arrest may also bring out protesters.)

Yesterday, Casa Pública hosted a conversation on the state’s broken finances, organized with Piauí magazine. Participants included Adriano Belisário, author of an Agência Pública piece on corporate tax credits in Rio; Paulo Lindesay from the Núcleo da Auditoria Cidadã (Citizen Audit Nucleus) and Malu Gaspar, a Piauí journalist, who recently profiled Rio state legislature president, Jorge Picciani.

Picciani, a veteran PMDB politician, brings Gaspar’s article to a close with a Shakespearean comment sent to the writer via WhatsApp: “The country is melting and the state has already melted down”.

Yesterday Gaspar pointed to a good chance of federal intervention here. The only thing is, the federal government may not be around much longer. Online only for subscribers, her article concludes that Picciani, nicknamed “Cattle King” may also face a finite number of days as a free man.

What’s seems infinite in Rio is violent crime. For years, the most quoted source for crime data here was the state Instituto de Segurança Pública (Public Safety Institute). As of last week, we now have a nationwide crime data tool, DataCrime, created by the Rio de Janeiro Getúlio Vargas Foundation’s Diretoria de Análise de Políticas Públicas (Public Policy Analysis Directorate). At last week’s launch, Cecília Olliveira also described her app Fogo Cruzado (Crossfire) useful both for researchers and those who put up with frequent shootouts.

The more data the better — especially given the daily shooting across greater Rio. Effective public policies to reduce violence need data, as well as the will to change a situation quickly reverting to pre-pacification days.

Though the state of Rio may be melting, there are those who will not give up. Tomorrow, March 27 at 6:30 PM, Casa Fluminense will be in the City Council’s Salão Nobre to demand that mayor Marcelo Crivella obey the law requiring a municipal Strategic Plan, with goals to be monitored. The mayor has until June 29 to present goals for his term (2017-2020).

Rio, even with a broke state government, remains at the center of national debates. Yesterday this blogger had the chance to watch Helena Solberg’s new documentary, Meu Corpo Minha Vida (My Body my Life). The story of the young West Zone resident Jandyra, her family and her church serves to examine the complex issue of abortion in Brazil. Jandyra died in a clandestine abortion clinic in 2014. The film premieres on the GNT cable channel Thursday March 30 at 11:30 PM. One hopes for lots of reruns and much debate.

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About Rio real

American journalist, writer, editor who's lived in Rio de Janeiro for 20 years.
This entry was posted in Brazil, Transformation of Rio de Janeiro / Transformação do Rio de Janeiro and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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