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Brazil Survives Another Carnaval

 Brazil Survives Another 
  Carnaval

While most Brazilians
were already back to work throughout the
country, 600 thousand baianos (those from the state of Bahia)
went out to the streets on Wednesday to take part in the arrastão

(trawling) led by musician Carlinhos Brown. In Salvador, the
Carnaval folly was extended into Ash Wednesday’s afternoon.
by: Rodolfo
Espinoza

Beija-Flor, the Escola de Samba (Samba Club) that won Rio’s Carnaval this
year—it also got first place last year—bought 72,000 beer cans so
the club members could celebrate the back to back victory. The main standard
bearer of Beija Flor, Telma Lage, a 13-year veteran of Carnaval parades, was
ebullient telling everybody that she never had a better Carnaval: "This
was my best pageant ever. I had prepared myself working out for four months.
This was very important to cope with the rain since my costume became three
times as heavy."

The DJ orchestrating the
celebration decided to tease Mangueira, the mother of all Escolas de Samba,
which came in 3rd place, by asking the merrymakers: "Hey,
has anybody seen Mangueira around?" People would answer with deafening
shouts of "We’re champions once again."

This was the eighth time
the Nilópolis neighborhood’s club won first place. Their theme was
the Amazon and their samba had the longest of the names "Manôa
– Manaus, Amazônia, Holy Land… that feeds the body, balances the sould
and conveys peace." As other Escolas de Samba, Beija-Flor is financed
by illegal money. Bicheiro (numbers game runner) Aniz Abrahão
Diniz is the club’s honor president.

Beija-Flor, with 4,000
men and women in costume, ended up winning against all odds, since it had
to parade under heavy rain and with a broken float. Normally the damaged vehicle
would have been enough to disqualify the samba club. At the end, however,
the Escola won with 388.7 points out of a possible 400.

The second place, Unidos
da Tijuca, received 387.9 points. Beija-Flor compensated for the mishaps with
the enthusiasm of its sambists, since enthusiasm is one of the criteria
used to judge the competition. Other factors are originality, percussion,
music and costumes.

At the Borel favela,
home for Unidos da Tijuca, the second-placed Escola, there was an air of improvisation
while the club’s directory was also trying to get some beer. They were caught
by surprise when the winners were announced. The best position Tijuca had
ever reached was 5th place, in 2001, when they presented a show
on Brazil’s history. This time, carnavalesco Paulo Barros won hearts
and points with floats, costumes and music built around the theme "Life
Creation."

According to Rio’s Public
Security Secretariat, more than 100 people died in the state during the Carnaval
celebration, from 6 pm on Friday to 8 am on Wednesday. Public Security chief,
Anthony Garotinho, announced that 87 people were murdered and another 30 died
in traffic accidents. Tuesday night alone, there were 14 murders and nine
wounded people. In the neighborhood of Olaria, in Rio’s North Zone, the death
of a 13-year-old boy during a Carnaval parade incited the populace who blamed
the police for the crime and burned three buses in protest.

Off Rio

In São Paulo, called
sometimes derisively as "samba’s tomb" by Cariocas (those from Rio),
the winning Escola de Samba was Mocidade Alegre, which was able to get the
maximum number of points: 200. This was the fifth title for the Paulista club,
whose first victory happened in 1971. They hadn’t won a championship since
1980. To the surprise of many, Gaviões da Fiel, the champion of last
year, came in last place and therefore was demoted from the ranking of the
best Escolas, not being eligible to participate in the special group next
Carnaval.

While most people were
already back to work in the rest of the country, 600 thousand baianos
(those from the state of Bahia) went out to the streets on Wednesday to take
part in the arrastão (trawling) led by musicians Carlinhos Brown,
Daniela Mercury and Ivete Sangalo. The arrastão started 9 in
the morning by Mercury, who spent three hours singing her best-known tunes.
Sangalo and Brown came afterwards extending Bahia’s Carnaval folly to Ash
Wednesday’s afternoon.

Around 1.8 million people—120,000
of them tourists—took part in Salvador’s Carnaval, according to Emtursa
(Empresa de Turismo de Salvador—Salvador Tourism Agency).

Rio Carnaval Results:

Place _ Escola de Samba
(Points)

1 – Beija-Flor (388,7)
2 – Unidos da Tijuca
(387,9)
3 – Mangueira (387,9)
4 – Viradouro (386,9)
5 – Imperatriz Leopoldinense
(386,5)
6 – Salgueiro (386,2)
7 – Portela (384,9)
8 – Mocidade Independente
de Padre Miguel (381,2)
9 – Império
Serrano (380,9)
10 – Grande Rio
(380,5)
11 – Porto da Pedra
(376,7)
12 – Tradição
(372,9)
13 – Caprichosos
de Pilares (368,9)
14 – São
Clemente (367,8)

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