Rio election: inequality sidelined, once again


Jongo dancers at a pre-Olympics party, downtown: for Crivella, culture is about job creation. For  Freixo supporters, culture is the glue of social fabric

[Election update, Oct. 31 2016: Marcelo Crivella did indeed win yesterday, with 1.7 million votes, or 59% of all valid votes. Marcelo Freixo got 1.16 million, 41%. Most impressive of all was the number of people who did not select any candidate at all: two million, or 42% of the electorate of close to five million, total. Crivella takes office in January with just over a third of the Rio electorate behind him to any degree. The lack of interest in politicians is widespread  in Brazil; not even former presidents Lula or Dilma voted yesterday.]

On the day of Rio’s second round of mayoral voting, we face two uncertainties, as well as that of the winner’s identity: what proportion of voters will choose no one at all? And how did we come to this bizarre race between a socialist and an evangelical?

After Friday night’s uninspiring final debate, Marcello Crivella lost ground, but was still poised to win. The last Datafolha poll shows him at 58% of valid votes, against 42% for Marcelo Freixo, among those who intend to choose between the two. Ibope came in with numbers that statistically match: 57% for Crivella and 43% for Freixo.

In the 2012 mayoral elections, which incumbent Eduardo Paes won in the first round, abstentions plus null and blank votes totaled 32% of the nearly five million-strong electorate. If this portion were a candidate, he or she would rank second. Four years later, this number is likely to be even bigger.

Paes’ first-round failure to meet success with his handpicked successor, Pedro Paulo Carvalho Teixeira, is part of the explanation for a second-round choice that has forced thousands of carioca voters to disavow responsibility for the result (though this is of course an illusion).

On one level, Pedro Paulo, long Paes’ right-hand man, was a personalist choice meant to preserve influence, in the same vein as those made by Lula (Dilma) and former governor Sérgio Cabral (Pezão). The outcomes in all three cases can be said to demonstrate the strategy’s folly. Given a lack of a consensus regarding Paes’ promised Olympic legacy and Pedro Paulo’s wife-battering image, the promise of continuity simply was not enough to get voters on board with Paes’ PMDB.

Ever since the close of the Paralympics, conversation in Rio has centered on politics. Many cariocas say they seek honest hardworking candidates who’ll take a practical approach to the city’s problems. This is Paes’ most basic profile; if the PMDB had chosen former municipal and state secretary Carlos Roberto Osório to be the beneficiary of party and City Hall machines, he would have been a viable choice over either of the final front-runners.

Interestingly, the Paes/Osório profile is exactly the one that Crivella has worked to fit himself into, and will almost certainly get him elected. Despite himself, that is; many voters reject his religious ties and reported plans, as well as his views on women and homosexuality.

What do voters want? Here’s the question politicians have grappled with since the 2013 street demonstrations, even as they dodge corruption allegations. Clearly, the game has changed. Mindsets have yet to catch up. Sometimes it seems as if all Brazil is perplexed by the highly unequal society it has built. How to deconstruct it, while keeping it vital, is the million-real question.

Conservative, oldtime politicians aren’t the only ones who flounder. Failing to perceive he had a real chance of winning, given Crivella’s outdated values, Freixo moved late to temper an idealistic and impractical platform (despite Lula’s winning 2002 example). What’s more, he alienated potential centrist voters. “This city is ours. We vanquished the PMDB for Brazilian democracy, against this coup-mongering party,” he told supporters downtown as soon as the Oct. 2 polls closed, awarding him a second-round slot.

Rio’s next mayor will have no Olympics to look forward to, no Papal visit, no United Nations conference, no World Cup. Instead, he’ll be plagued with interest-group demands, debt payments, falling revenue, a tragic state financial and economic context, rising crime, a swollen bureaucracy and a possibly intractable City Council.

He will be drawn into state and national politics, with their own sets of time-consuming limitations, demands and challenges.

The learning curve will be steep, too. Crivella has shown ignorance of Rio’s geography, as well as of simple facts regarding urban development and municipal transportation. Friday night he mistakenly stated that not all BRT vehicles have air conditioning; it’s the non BRT vehicles, normal buses, that are the issue. Just when most cities are encouraging people to leave their cars at home or abandon them altogether, he plans to build underground parking garages downtown. His proposal to provide job training, entrepreneurship and job creation in favelas, which he calls “comunidades carentes” (needy communities) is likely to raise hackles among leaders with a more three-dimensional view — though such programs may well may find receptivity among residents.

Freixo also has much to learn about urban issues. He told O Globo interviewers last week he planned to bring back bus ticket-takers, who have been phased out this year as bus revenues turn ever more electronic– and thus more accessible to city officials working on transparency and fare composition.

If in fact elected, Crivella is likely to be harassed by the PMDB, still strong in Rio, and outgoing mayor Eduardo Paes, said to be aiming for the presidency in 2018. Last week, a top political columnist predicted for RioRealblog that, pressured to spend funds the city doesn’t have, given the Fiscal Responsibility Law, Crivella (whose name has also popped up in a Lava Jato plea bargain draft) won’t make it to the end of his term.

That might be part of a trend.

Check back tomorrow for an election update.

Posted in Brazil, Transformation of Rio de Janeiro / Transformação do Rio de Janeiro | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Rio de Janeiro and three prison revolts across the country


How many days without violence, how many times will we start counting again? Morro dos Prazeres, August 2016

Beltrame, specialists, foresee unstable times

Few reports on the recent prison revolts mention the reasons for the violence that has so far caused about 16 prisoner deaths and the flight of 55 detainees, most recaptured.

Brazilians are used to this type of news. We know about the chronic overcrowding and inhuman conditions. Last night’s Jornal Nacional report could run any year or hour in recent decades.

Clique aqui para português

The news program, which skipped yesterday’s fire at a São Paulo state penitentiary (reported by GloboNews), spoke of a “fight between factions”. Grupo Globo never utters the factions’ names. This, plus the report’s length — 45 seconds– might be why an inattentive viewer might think of the Rondônia and Roraima revolts as local events.

In Rio, yesterday’s security news focused on the swearing-in of Roberto Sá, José Mariano Beltrame’s former right-hand, as our new Public Safety Secretary.

Coordination in this area appears to be lacking. Alexandre Morães, the Temer government’s Justice Minister (since May), took the opportunity of the ceremony to describe e new interdisciplinary national security plan, by which court sentences would be longer for more serious crimes. Although Morães spoke of the plan months before, the news surprised the presidential palace, according to columnist Guilherme Amado. Over the weekend came the strange news that Carmen Lúcia, Federal Supreme Court President, had scheduled an emergency meeting for October 28, to deal with the current public safety crisis.

Brazil could use some coordination among the three levels of government in the drafting and execution of public safety policy. Claudio Beato, coordinator of the Federal University of Minas Gerais’ Centro de Estudos de Criminalidade e Segurança Pública (Center for Criminality and Public Safety Studies), reminded RioRealblog that this has just about never occurred. The would-be focus on borders that Minister Moraes has spoken about, says Beato, would be less effective than greater cooperation with our neighbors and the use of technology, intelligence and investigatory work.

At any rate, he adds, many weapons here glide in over the waters of Guanabara Bay.

Since June, it’s been public knowledge that the Paraguay murder of a key trafficker, at the order of a Brazilian jailed there, allegedly at the hand of a carioca criminal (from the Fogueteiro favela), would likely destabilize organized crime in the area, affecting street crime in several cities across Brazil.

From O Globo, in June 2016:

“Rio Public Safety Secretary José Mariano Beltrame said this Thursday that Rafaat’s murder would affect future crime in Brazil:

‘He was a longtime drug and weapons supplier from Paraguay. He didn’t allow Brazilians to set up shop there, he didn’t like it. He was killed movie-style. We have reports saying that a São Paulo faction has been in Paraguay for a while. If this is happening, we’ll have Brazilians from this group of traffickers bringing weapons and drugs to São Paulo. From there, they’ll be distributed throughout the country. It’s very serious. Brazil, as a nation, must do something,’ said Beltrame.”

According to some specialists, Rafaat’s death destroyed an alliance that the PCC, São Paulo’s dominant organized crime group, had with the Comando Vermelho (Red Command), from Rio. It’s said to be this change that led to the prison revolts and to dozens of prison transfer requests, made earlier.

It’s not clear what the outcome of this part of the story will be, nor if the recent shooting in several Rio favelas are part of a move to reorganize from the top down. Pointing to similar situations in Mexico and Colombia, Beato believes that we’ll see more peaceful times in the long term. Business priorities, he says, will ultimately drive organized crime behavior — and differences will be left aside.

Prisoners’ sway over urban life in Brazil cannot be underestimated. The late 2010 Complexo do Alemão military invasion came in response to a series of defiant bus and car torchings across Rio. At the time, Beltrame, then Public Safety Secretary, said he knew that the orders had come from inside prisons, from traffickers made uneasy by pacification.

As long as the criminal groups are in flux we are likely to experience a great deal of concern and apprehension, especially given the state’s near bankruptcy and its difficulty in making police payrolls.

Rob Muggah, the Instituto Igarapé security and development specialist, wrote this in a message to the blog:

“It’s grim. Apparently the PCC had orders to massacre all CV inmates in Roraima. Then the CV were told to kill the PCC in Rondonia in retaliation. All of this is linked to the prison business, but … is also likely connected to the encroachment of the PCC into CV territory (in Rio) over the past few years. The CV took a beating from the UPP, even if they have returned a bit more forcefully in recent years. And … it’s also probable that this is about a shake-up in the drug business that started a few months back. The PCC has been expanding its involvement in the arms/drugs trafficking parts of the business where CV had control/alliances. Things started to unravel after [Jarvis Chimenes] Pavao (reportedly aided by PCC) led the assassination of Rafaat (CV’s man) in Paraguay a few months ago. This resulted in a huge amount of uncertainty (in a business that generates $30-40 million a year) and we may be seeing some fallout now.”

Here is another journalistic analysis.

In this exit interview in Época magazine, Beltrame makes reference to a supposed loss of control by traffickers:

ÉPOCA – In the last year, there’s been a feeling that Rio public safety fell off the track. Deaths of police and innocent bystanders are on the rise. We have stray bullets again. Criminals lost respect for UPPs. Police don’t respect residents and they kill children and teens. Gang warfare is back. Gang street and beach robberies have become more sophisticated. People are once again afraid of dying in the street. Did you feel a loss of control?
Beltrame – The traffickers lost control. They put six people in a spot shooting into the air to scare people. It’s as if they wanted to proclaim to one and all: the UPP is done for. They are trying to reintegrate. They have a lot of foreign weapons, mostly from Paraguay and also from Venezuela.

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Rio de Janeiro e as três rebeliões de penitenciária, pelo Brasil


Quantos dias, quantas recontagens? Morro dos Prazeres, agosto de 2016

Alerta de Beltrame, especialistas, para tempos instáveis 

Poucas reportagens sobre as recentes rebeliões de presidiários mencionam os motivos  pela violência que, até hoje, causou a morte de aproximadamente 16 detentos, com a fuga de 55 de detentos, a maioria recapturados.

O brasileiro está acostumado a esse tipo de notícia; sabemos da superlotação crônica dos presídios, das condições desumanas. A reportagem do Jornal Nacional, ontem à noite, poderia ter sido veículada em qualquer ano ou hora das últimas décadas.

O JN, que omitiu o incêndio de ontem, numa penitenciária no interior do estado de São Paulo (reportado pela GloboNews), mencionou uma “briga entre facções”. O Grupo Globo jamais pronuncia nomes de facções. Portanto, e pela brevidade da reportagem — 45 segundos– o telespectador desavisado facilmente conclui que as rebeliões de Rondônia e Roraima sejam acontecimentos locais.

No Rio, as reportagens do dia de ontem sobre a segurança pública focaram na posse de Roberto Sá, braço direito de José Mariano Beltrame, como nosso novo secretário de segurança.

Parece faltar coordenação nessa área. Alexandre Morães, ministro de Justiça do governo Temer (desde maio), aproveitou a posse aqui para descrever um novo plano nacional de segurança, interdisciplinário, pelo qual as penas seriam mais longas para crimes mais graves. Apesar do Morães falar do plano meses antes, a notícia surpreendeu o palácio do Planalto, de acordo com o colunista Guilherme Amado. Durante o fim de semana, tivemos a estranha notícia de que Carmen Lúcia, a presidente do Supremo Tribunal Federal teria convocado uma reunião emergencial, para o dia 28, para tratar da atual crise de segurança.

O Brasil certamente precisa de articulação entre os três níveis de governo, na elaboração e execução de políticas de segurança pública. Claudio Beato, coordenador do Centro de Estudos de Criminalidade e Segurança Pública , da Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, lembrou ao RioRealblog que tal articulação praticamente nunca aconteceu. O suposto novo foco nas fronteiras, que o ministro Moraes tem divulgado, diz Beato, seria menos eficaz do que uma maior cooperação com nossos vizinhos e a utilização de tecnologia, inteligência e investigações.

Em todo caso, acrescenta, grande número das armas no Rio são nacionais, e muitos, acredita, entram pela baía de Guanabara.

Desde junho, sabia-se que o assassinato no Paraguai de um traficante chave, a mando de um brasileiro encarcerado no mesmo país, supostamente pela mão de um criminoso carioca (do morro do Fogueteiro), iria desestabilizar o crime organizado na região, com reflexos para as taxas de crime em vários lugares do Brasil.

Do Globo, em junho de 2016:

“Secretário de Segurança do Rio, José Mariano Beltrame disse nesta quinta-feira que o assassinato de Rafaat vai mexer com o futuro da criminalidade no Brasil:

— Ele era antigo fornecedor de drogas e armas do Paraguai, não permitia e não gostava que brasileiros se estabelecessem no país. Ele foi morto de forma cinematográfica. Temos relatórios informando que uma facção de São Paulo está no Paraguai há bastante tempo. Se isso está acontecendo, teremos brasileiros deste grupo de traficantes trazendo armas e drogas até São Paulo. De lá, serão distribuídas para o país todo. É algo muito sério. O Brasil, como nação, precisa tomar uma providência — disse Beltrame”.

De acordo com alguns especialistas, a morte de Rafaat destruiu a aliança que o PCC, o grupo de crime organizado dominante em São Paulo, tinha com o Comando Vermelho, do Rio. Teria sido esse fato que levou às rebeliões, e a múltiplos pedidos por transferências dentro do sistema prisional, anteriormente.

Não está claro qual será o desfecho desta parte da história, nem se os tiroteios em várias favelas do Rio fariam parte de uma reorganização do tráfico, de cima para baixo. Apontando situações parecidas no México e na Colômbia, Beato acredita que haverá uma nova acomodação, a longo prazo. Os negócios, enfim, irão orientar o comportamento do crime organizado, diz — e terão que deixar as brigas de lado.

O poder dos incarcerados sobre a vida urbana no Brasil não pode ser subestimado. A invasão do Complexo do Alemão, no fim de 2010, veio como resposta a uma série de incéndios desafiadores de ônibus e de outros veículos, pelo Rio todo. Na época, Beltrame, então secretário de segurança pública, dizia saber que as ordens vinham de dentro de presídios, por traficantes a quem a pacificação estaria incomodando.

Enquanto uma nova ordem não se estabeleça, no Rio continuaremos a viver num clima de apreensão, sobretudo diante da penúria do estado — com dificuldades para pagar os policiais.

Diz Rob Muggah, especialista em segurança e desenvolvimento, do Instituto Igarapé, numa mensagem escrita ao blog:

“É um quadro sombrio. Aparentemente, o PCC recebeu ordem para massacrar todos os detentos do CV em Roraima. Depois, era para o CV matar o PCC em Rondonia, em retaliação. Tudo é ligado a questões penitenciárias […], mas também é provável que tenha uma conexão com a entrada do PCC em território CV  (no Rio) nos últimos anos. O CV sofreu com a UPP, mesmo que tenham voltado com mais força em anos recentes. […] Também é provável que tenha a ver com uma chacoalhada no negócio de drogas que começou há alguns meses. O PCC está expandindo o negócio nas partes de tráfico de armas e drogas, onde o CV tinha controle ou alianças. Tudo começou a desandar depois que [Jarvis Chimenes] Pavão (supostamente com a ajuda do PCC) liderou o assassinato do Rafaat (o cara do CV) no Paraguai, há alguns meses. Isso resultou em bastante incerteza (para um negócio que gera de US$ 30-40 milhões por ano) e o que vemos hoje podem ser as consequências disso”.

Veja aqui outra matéria de análise.

Nesta entrevista de saída, na revista Época, Beltrame faz referência a uma suposta perda de controle, por parte de traficantes:

ÉPOCA – No último ano, a sensação foi que a segurança do Rio desandou. Policiais e inocentes voltaram a ser mortos. Balas perdidas reapareceram. Bandidos não respeitam UPPs. Policiais não respeitam moradores e matam crianças e adolescentes. A guerra entre gangues voltou. Os arrastões se sofisticaram. A população voltou a sentir medo de morrer na rua. O senhor sentiu perda de controle?
Beltrame – Quem perdeu o controle foram os traficantes. Eles põem seis pessoas num lugar dando rajadas para cima para causar na população um estremecimento. É como se eles quisessem proclamar a todos: acabou a UPP. Eles estão tentando uma reintegração. Eles estão com muito armamento estrangeiro, do Paraguai, principalmente, e também da Venezuela.

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Beltrame resigns: Rio public safety at risk

Fez a parte dele, diz

Longest-serving public safety Secretary in Rio state government

After almost ten years of highs and lows, José Mariano Beltrame has at last reached the end of his rope. His right-hand man, Roberto Sá (interviewed by RioRealblog in this video), will replace him as of Monday, it was announced today.

Much admired in the early years of pacification — 2010-2012 — the former Federal Police official was the last remaining member of a team that ultimately, failed to keep the heady promise of a reborn Rio de Janeiro.

While many supposedly pacified favelas have fallen into old patterns this and last year, this week’s news, in particular, brought back memories of a pre-Beltrame, surreal Rio.

Today, a group of young men, said to be armed and bearing drugs, invaded the São Conrado Gávea Golf Club — “between the 17th and 18th holes” as O Globo reported, interrupting play. They were later arrested; one appeared to be a minor.

The last time golf made the news here was during the Olympics. The world’s top players gave the Games a miss (apparently fearing the Zika virus); a new Olympic course drew criticism of outgoing Mayor Eduardo Paes, said to have favored real estate developers with it.

With violence popping up all over the city, such concerns now seem banal. Public safety is at the heart of any city’s vitality.

Yesterday, a police operation in Cidade de Deus reportedly kept 8,000 students home from school. Friday, a military police officer was killed in shooting there (and two others were shot dead over the weekend). Military Police forces usually seek out perpetrators of such homicides.

Earlier this month, Rio Comprido and Santa Teresa favelas experienced days of violence, as gangs reportedly battled over territory.

The month of September saw 29 shootouts in 18 UPP favelas, killing at least eight people and wounding 22, including four police officers, according to the Fogo Cruzado (crossfire) collaborative app.

On Monday, residents of favelas and formal areas in Ipanema and Copacabana found themselves in the midst of a daylong battle, touched off when gang members attacked UPP stations. Smoke, explosions and gunshots, with three deaths, were part of the drama. Police fought back, helicopters circled, and some pretty shocking videos made their way to the internet. One showed a suspect, reportedly shot from a helicopter, falling off the Cantagalo hill above the Lagoa.  Another featured young men on the roof of the Ipanema metro entrance next to the federally-funded 2010 elevator (a tourist attraction), apparently throwing rocks at police in the street below.

The attack was reportedly led by a trafficker, arrested yesterday, who hadn’t returned from a Mother’s Day jail furlough.

What has gone wrong? The three-level governmental alliance ended two years ago and the state of Rio is broke, delaying wages and seriously undermining police work. Earlier, local politics and egos, fiefdom-style administration, inadequate police reform, a focus on UPP quantity over quality, poor police working conditions, insufficient coordination among agencies, with the judiciary and between city and state government — plus low-quality public services — contributed to the failure of pacification and the social component originally meant to accompany it.

By 2012, Rio’s homicide rate had come down significantly, to 25 per 100,000, from 41 in 2006. State and city officials then turned to Olympic concerns such as public transportation (BRTs and the Metro extension), port/center-city revitalization and facilities for the Games, according to José Marcelo Zacchi, Casa Fluminense executive director and former Social UPP official. Policies to work on promised integration between formal and informal areas of the city, such as Morar Carioca, were given short shrift, he adds.

The violent police response to 2013 street demonstrations and the death of Rocinha resident Amarildo de Souza under police torture undermined support for pacification, which was widespread, earlier.

Future public safety policy is unknown. The outgoing Civil Police chief describes a frightening lack of funds in his area, in an October 12 interview. Beltrame said he believes that the UPPs will continue to exist. Roberto Sá has yet to comment on the handover. One can only hope that he’ll find ways (including funding) to draw on the experience, both positive and negative, gained in the Beltrame years — and work closely with mayors in Rio (to be elected Oct. 30) and other cities in the metropolitan area.

Watch this rudimentary 2010 RioRealblog video mostly shot in and near the Ipanema/Copacabana Cantagalo favela, no longer an easy place to visit.

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Eleições municipais de 2016: vence Marcelo


Dias sem cor pela frente?

Teremos um Marcelo como prefeito no Rio a partir de 30 de outubro, data do segundo turno. De sobrenome Crivella ou Freixo? Dependerá do grau de medo ou da vontade de aventurar, dos cariocas. Quem procura ordem e tomada de decisões racional, num contexto de crise financeiro estadual, desemprego alto e taxas crescentes de crime, irá votar no conservador PRB, do senador Crivella. Para quem prioriza direitos humanos, a redução da desigualdade social e a participação comunitária, a escolha certa será o PSOL, do deputado estadual Freixo, ocupando o lado esquerdo do espectro partidário.

Os eleitores certamente não queriam a continuação do PMBD, do prefeito atual, Eduardo Paes, que recebeu 16% dos votos validos. Parece ter pesado bastante a história de que o candidato Pedro Paulo teria batido na sua então mulher.

Apesar de ter sido ministro de Pesca no governo da ex presidente Dilma Rousseff, Crivella votou pelo seu impeachment. O apoio dele tem raiz na evangelica Igreja Universal, e na ligação com o partido clientelista do ex governador Anthony Garotinho. Freixo votou contra o impeachment de Rousseff; seus eleitores tendem a acreditar que o atual presidente, Michel Temer, chegou ao poder por meio de um golpe da direita.

Notavelmente — nos tempos da Lava Jato — o maior vencedor nas eleições de ontem foram aqueles que selecionaram candidato nenhum : 38%  dos eleitores (a soma das abstenções mais votos nulos e brancos). Em contraste, Crivella teve 28% dos votos válidos; Freixo recebeu 18% (esses números são porções até menores, do eleitorado como um todo).

As opções do 30 de outubro são tão marcadamente opostas que poderemos ver mais nulos, brancos e votos justificados naquele dia.

A confiançã dos eleitores em políticos está baixíssima, porém quem votou em vereador demonstrou algum grau de apoio por rostos novos — apesar das novas regras eleitorais favorecerem aqueles já no cargo. Todos os 51 vereadores se candidataram novamente, mas apenas 33 tiveram êxito. A taxa de reeleição caiu para 35%, de 41% quatro anos atrás.

Quem chegar à prefeitura terá menos facilidade com a Câmara dos Vereadores do que teve Eduardo Paes, durante seus oito anos de mandato. O PMDB dele perdeu oito de seus 18 assentos. Crivella teria apenas quatro; Freixo, seis. Se grupos que acompanham a Câmara, como o novo E Aí, Vereador? mantêm os olhos nos vereadores, essa mudança pode ser positiva para um debate mais séria de políticas públicas.

Ironicamente, sediar as Olimpíadas de 2016 pode ter atrapalhado os planos de sucessão de Paes. A prefeitura dedicou aos Jogos tempo, recursos humanos e dinheiro que, de outra forma, teriam tido destinos diferentes, assinalou José Marcelo Zacchi,  diretor executivo da Casa Fluminense, durante uma conversa ao vivo pelo Facebook, ontem à noite, na redação do jornal O Globo. O eleitor talvez tenha reparado que, enquanto Paes construiu novas escolas, creches e BRTs, faltava-lhes qualidade.

De fato, RioRealblog soube, de fontes confiáveis, que foi apressada a implementação do plano de racionalização das linhas de ônibus (que terminou em abril), porque a equipe responsável também teve que criar o plano de transporte para os Jogos Olímpicos.

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Rio 2016 municipal elections: a vote for Marcelo


Bleak days ahead?

We will certainly have a Marcelo for mayor in Rio as of October 30, when the second round of voting takes place. Whether the last name will be Crivella or Freixo will rest on how adventurous or fearful cariocas are feeling. Senator Crivella’s conservative PRB appeals to those who seek order and rational decision-making amid rising crime, high unemployment and the state’s financial crisis. State representative Freixo’s leftist PSOL appeals to those who prioritize human rights, the reduction of social inequality and community participation.

Voters clearly did not want the continuation of the incumbent mayor Eduardo Paes’ PMDB party, which got 16% of valid votes. The issue of candidate Pedro Paulo’s alleged wife-beating seems to have weighed heavily.

Though he was minister of Fishing in former president Dilma Rousseff’s  government, Crivella voted for her impeachment. His support is rooted in the evangelical church he belongs to, plus ties to former governor Anthony Garotinho’s clientelist PR party. Freixo voted against Rousseff’s impeachment; his supporters tend to believe that current president Michel Temer came to power by way of a right-wing coup.

Notably — in CarWash investigation times — the biggest winner in the elections yesterday were those who didn’t select a candidate at all: 38% (the sum of abstentions, void and blank ballots). In contrast, Crivella got 28% of valid votes; Freixo took 18%. These numbers would be an even smaller portion of the electorate as a whole.

The Oct. 30 options are so markedly opposite that Rio could see even fewer votes cast, overall.

Voter confidence in politicians is impressively low, yet those who voted for city council demonstrated some measure of support for new faces — despite the fact that changed electoral rules favored incumbents. All 51 council members ran for reelection, but only 33 found enough voters. The reelection rate fell to 35%, from 41% fours years ago.

Whoever gets to City Hall will certainly have a tougher time dealing with the City Council than Eduardo Paes did in his eight years of office: his PMDB party lost eight of their 18 seats. Crivella would have only four; Freixo, six. If citizen watchdog groups such as the new E Aí, Vereador? keep their eyes on council members, this could augur well for more substantive public policy debate.

Ironically, hosting the 2016 Olympics may have hurt Paes’ succession plans. City Hall devoted time, human resources and funds to the Games that might otherwise have gone to other priorities, noted José Marcelo Zacchi, executive director of the metropolitan think-and-do-tank, Casa Fluminense, during a live Facebook page broadcast last night, from the O Globo newsroom. Voters may have noted that, while Paes brought them new schools, day care centers and BRTs, quality is not adequate.

RioRealblog did in fact ascertain, from reliable sources, that the bus line rationalization plan was hurriedly implemented from October 2015 to April 2016 because the same team was needed to draw up Olympic transportation plans.

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2016 Elections: looking for what we’ve already found


Jean Lima, Nova Iguaçu graffiti artist, thinking ahead to 2017

Of all the political moments anyone can recall, this is the most complicated, the most unprecedented.

We want no more of the same, no more corruption, no muddy alliances, none of those hollow promises.

Who’s good enough to vote for?

Two days before the first round of municipal elections, this is a commonly asked question.

Clique aqui para português

This blogger had been busy with the ongoing book about how Rio really works. Finding out isn’t easy — so much more to discover.

At very least one can say, without a doubt, that we live in a time of leaps and lags, with behaviors both modern and obsolete.

Some still invest in violent battles for territory.

Some still propose a business idea to government, thinking that a solution is a matter of a well-protected tourism area.

Then there are those who leap. They’re using one of the most powerful tools for urban transformation: information.

Data Labe, an initiative of young people from peripheral areas in the Complexo da Maré favelas, is mapping communication work in Rio’s favelas. Soon, we’ll know a great deal about reporting and publication in informal parts of the city.

The Data Labe team, supported by the Observatório de Favelas, the Brazil School of Data and Coding Rights, has a channel on the Medium writing platform  and has already studied the data that bus companies gather on passengers. In addition to serving as a warning on privacy, the bus data analysis is heartening for those seek information on companies’ costs and income. This is the only way to evaluate controversial fare increases.

In the Complexo do Alemão favelas, which also suffer constant shooting between traffickers and police, another group of young people are spreading what they learned in the last few years about human rights, video proof, digital security and photography. With the support of the Brazil Foundation, the Papo Reto collective has just launched its pioneering Oficina de Beco (Alleyway Workshop).

As residents learn to document local violence, we have a new source of information about shooting in general in Rio.

Launched in  June, the Fogo Cruzado app registers and maps shooting, publishing weekly and monthly data. It’s an Amnesty International initiative.

Such news is of some consolation, given the current electoral mood. One hears people speak of “the return of Garotinho”, with whom leading mayoral candidate  Marcelo Crivella has made an alliance.

Anthony Garotinho and his wife, Rosinha, occupied the post of governor in the years preceding Sérgio Cabral, and left office in 2007 under a cloud of convictions, investigations and accusations of electoral crimes. One of Garotinho’s Civil Police chiefs, Álvaro Lins, was sentenced to 28 years in prison (which he has yet to serve). Rio saw great violence during the Garotinho administrations, both in favelas and in the formal city. The fatal 174 bus  incident took place in the Jardim Botânico neighborhood, in 2000.

In 2002, after the torture and death of TV Globo journalist Tim Lopes, at the hands of Complexo do Alemão traffickers, mainstream journalism stopped covering favelas, aside from combat news.

Times have definitely changed. Today we have more and faster information, more community organization, studies based on better data and more connections throughout the city.

Yesterday, Globo newspaper published a story on a new Fundação Getúlio Vargas study that points to new public policies to reduce violence. This is the first time that anyone has combined data from the Disque Denúncia crime hotline, the state crime statistics agency, Instituto de Segurança Pública (ISP) and the State Penitentiary Administration. It will be possible to develop some very interesting territorial city crime reduction strategies.

The Globo piece also describes the new Municipal Citizen Security Agenda, created by the Instituto Igarapé. Its recommendations center on, again, the intelligent use of data, as well as the integration of institutions and their work, and conflict mediation.

In this metropolis of worrisome leaps and lags, we can be sure that human rights, new media and community participation activity that came into existence in the last decade will not vanish in 2017, even if a candidate of more traditional beliefs and behaviors wins the election. They’re actually part, as seen in a previous post, of a long-term trend.

There is also more information available about the Rio police force. A study just published by Ignacio Cano’s Laboratório de Análise da Violência, da Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (Uerj), together with Beatriz Magaloni, of Stanford University, describes how deep the culture of violence goes, among cops — and to what extent (62% of more than 5,000 interviewed) they still support the failed War on Drugs.

We even have a new watchdog initiative for the City Council, one of the most problematic institutions when it comes to public policies for the city’s greater good. In this election, there’s a range of new alternative candidates. Will you remember for whom you voted? 

In the end, we must know the city in order to improve it.  How much do we know? Take a surprising test, here.

Ah, and for those who still don’t know about the sad shape our city finances are in, here’s our post about them, in Portuguese.

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