Another Year; More Craziness. A letter from Rio

A year and bit since the corrupt circus called the Olympic games left town.
Athletes exploited for nationalism made a fortune for a corrupt few.
The legacy: –
Rio de Janeiro city bankrupt.
The ex Governor and several of his henchmen are in jail. This is new. Corruption and theft of public monies is now a punishable crime; sometimes.
Rotting, wasting white elephant olympic infrastructure sites.
Crime level escalating. There is an App for that!
Full blown civil war beween rival gangs and Milicia and Police and Army with much overlapping rages throughout the suburbs of Zona Norte, Zona Oeste and Nieroi and São Gonzalo. The armyhas been drafted in again to try and keep it all under control. Tanks in Complexo de Maré.
Guanabara bay, to the shame of the international sailing community who did zilch, is still a stinking fetid mass. Priscila Pereira, an investigative journalist was murdered; the case unsolved, forgotten, ignored.
Is there light at the end of this recession? maybe. It’s been long and hard slog. Numerous small business have closed and the larger corporations all “downsized” with sickening brutality and insensitivity. I notice small construction is beginning again in sites that have been boarded up for the last couple of years.
Mind you this is in the cosseted Zona Sul.
What happens in Zona Norte, I don´t know and seldom venture there, I don’t like it. The vibe is hostile, I feel insecure. At least here in Botafogo I can walk the 10 minutes home at 2200 hours without feeling fear.
Our present Evangelical bishop and mayor Marcelo Crivella hates the gays and carnaval but says he has an empathy with African religions; he went there as a missioary for fucks sake. He has publically claimed that Evolution is still a theory.
There has recently been an outbreak of vandalism and terror and wanton destruction (link in Portuguese) of Umbanda and Candomble temples, with practicants being expelled from favelas by evangelical Militia leaders. Yes you read that correctly. Where are the Police in all this?. Well several are in the Milicias.
So why might you very well ask do I live here?
To which I answer that for all it’s faults, and they are legion, that this is the most vibrant place I have ever lived, and I wish to continue to do so. The People especially the young are getting more educated and interconnected with one of the worlds deepest penetrations of social media. Alternative news is drawing thousands away from the monopolies who lie, distort or just plainly ignore what happens, while portraying their very white bubble view of middle class and privilege.
South America´s largest popular music festival Rock in Rio kicked off on Friday night with Gisele Bündchen and Ivete Sangalo with the crowd cheering her with loud cries of FORA TEMER as she called for the Amazon to stay a wilderness.
Just in case you might have forgotten Brazilian President Michel Temer was charged with taking multimillion-dollar bribesand then tried to buy off the legislature by abolishing a huge Amazon reserve in the ‘biggest attack’ in 50 years. This was later rescinded in court but only after the corruption charges were dropped. So he is still President for now.
There are the joys of Elections in 2018 to come and at present Rio’s most popular candidate by a large margin is the fascist Jair Bolsonario.
We certainly live in interesting times.

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