Here’s a big post to give everyone something to chew on for a couple of weeks. I will be giving talks at: Duke University in Durham, NC on June 22 (@ the Haiti Laboratory, Franklin Humanities Institute, Bay 4 Smith Warehouse, noon), The Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism in São Paulo on July 2, and Intel in Santa Clara, CA on July 11. Details forthcoming.
Starting from the top down in classic mega-event style:
Leonardo Martins in Jornal do Brasil wrote, “As UPPs são, antes de tudo, um projeto de poder, de controle de um espaço tradicionalmente submetido à opressão. Os novos Capitães, que comandam as UPPs são os novos “donos do pedaço”, em substituição aos traficantes que ali se encontravam. Autorizam bailes, mandam baixar o som dos moradores, escolhem as músicas que os moradores podem escutar, determinam horário e condutas pessoais, intimam e intimidam àqueles que tem uma opinião mais crítica acerca da função da polícia, como por exemplo o fechamento da rádio comunitária do Andaraí, pela Polícia Federal, sobre o pretexto de rádio pirata e atrapalhar o tráfego aéreo."
“The UPPs are, above all, a projection of Power, for control of a space that has traditionally been oppressed. The new Captains that command the UPPs are the “owners of the land”, substituting the drug traffickers that were there before. They authorize dances, tell the residents to turn their music down, choose the music that the residents can listen to, determine the coming and going and conduct of people, intimate and intimidate those who have a more critical opinion of the police function, as for example the closing of the closing of the community radio station in Andaraí by the Federal Police on the pretext that it was a pirate radio station and it interfered with air traffic.”
I haven’t been back to visit and UPPeed communities in awhile, so I don’t have much more to contribute to the debate than I had a few weeks ago. I hear adolescents around town say “UPP é o caralho” and have seen that succinct and poignant phrase scribbled on walls.
Mayor alert! EP twisted his ankle in a political minefield, but don’t worry, he’s going to be ok. O Principe’s attempts to manipulate the infrastructure of the Olympic machine didn’t sit too well with people more powerful and experienced than he. In trying to limit the powers of the APO, EP threw a few one-liners into the City’s Olympic act that he then had to beg some legislators to erase and pretend to everyone else that he wasn’t trying to maintain as much power for himself as possible. The story is much longer than that, of course, but takes a doctoral thesis to sort though. Fortunately, those are available.
According to sources buried deep within the international press corps, The IOC has had all of their questions answered in regard to forced removals for Rio’s BRT lines. The Trans-Oeste BRT (Blown Right Through) is moving people out of the way faster than a turd in a hot tub. The results are shit.
|Picture of housing demolitions carried |
out by Rio's Housing Secretary along the Trans-Oeste BRT line, April 2011.
Nelma Gusmão de Oliveira foto.
|Last one standing, Zona Oeste|
Rio de Janeiro. Nelma Gusmão de Oliveira foto
Mayor alert! O Principe tried to stick the Olympic golf course in a closed condominium complex where the cheapest condo goes for R$2.1 million. Unfortunately, the land that he wanted to put the course on has been stuck in the judicial system. Apparently the news took the condo residents by surprise. The is the kind of “planning” is happening on a metropolitan level, not just with the Olympic golf course.
According to the Union of Externally Controlled Federal Auditors (AUDITAR), “the new model of contracting banked by the base of Dilma Rousseff’s government in the house of deputies is going to make the public works for the World Cup and Olympics much more expensive.” This is not at all surprising given that the new laws are designed to “flexibilize” normal contracting processes.
Compounding the problem is that those who frequent stadiums end up paying for them three times. Once for construction. Twice for higher ticket prices. Third for world-class maintenance costs. Even our illustrious Federal Deputy Romário is calling the stadium budgets into question.
The CBF brought their team back to Brazil for the first time in a long time to prepare for the Copa America in Argentina. The ticket prices were staggering and the games were seen as test venue for the CBF to employ private security guards (as will be the case during the World Cup). The Prossegur rent-a-cops did not take kindly to the unfurling of a banner by the ANT-GO crew and gave them some rough treatment for unfurling this lovely banner. Congrats to these brave formigas!!!
Here are the attendances and financial details from those matches:
BRA (0) x HOL (0)
BRA (1) x ROM (0)
It’s impossible to tell how many tickets the CBF gave away to itself and to its sponsors. Interestingly and stupidly, the first match in Goiânia, resulted in Ricardo Teixeira (Mr. Jowls) promising a Copa America 2015 match to that city, even though they are not hosting any World Cup matches. In Rio, tickets for Copa Libertadores matches in 2010-2011 started at R$75. In three hours of football, the CBF made off with R$7.5 million and scored one goal. How expensive will tickets to the World Cup be? How expensive will the stadiums be? This is a link to a professor from the Fundação Getúlio Vargas who is criticizing the Maracanã budgeting process. We have seen a 170% increase in construction costs since 2009. This is without multiple labor shifts, without increased raw material and labor costs, without counting the subsidy for imports, without counting the no-bid conracts, without the time crunch, etc.
But, this will give Brazil (and Rio in particular) the MOST MODERN STADIUMS IN THE WORLD!!!!!!
What does it mean to have the most “modern “ stadium in the world? The continual search for and production of the modern in Brazil has had very mixed urban, social, and environmental results. When the Maracanã was constructed, it was the most modern stadium in the world, was it not? Will not the host of the 2016 European Championships have the most modern football stadiums in the world? Why bother calling it the most modern stadium in the world? It’s a stupid and completely relative question.
Modern could mean functional but certainly means secure and comfortable and bougie, but in the context of Brazil’s mega-events “modern” has become more associated with overspending on monumental mistakes that are guaranteed to bring diminishing economic returns in an attempt to appear modern for and to foreigners. The stadium, as such, does not have to be submitted exclusively to economic metrics as a measure of its value. In addition to agreeing to build economic black holes, the cultural costs have not been calculated in the production of the twelve stadiums for the World Cup. The Mané Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia had bleachers so well-made that it took three attempts to demolish them with explosives. They are installing an expensive house of cards in his place.
FIFA has chosen Rio de Janeiro as the host of the International Broadcast Center for the World Cup. It will, of course, be in Barra de Tijuca at the Rio Centro complex. This is interesting (though not surprising) for a couple of reasons. One is that it will develop further Barra’s emergent position as the high-tech and media production center of Rio de Janeiro and Brazil. Why? Because in order to install something as sophisticated and grandiose as an IBC millions if not billions of fiber optic cables need to be stuck into the region, creating an information infrastructure that augments already profound structural inequalities within the city.
Secondly, the increasing and repetitive investment in communications infrastructure in Rio de Janeiro (and São Paulo) is consolidating the position of those cities in the hugely unbalanced urban hierarchy of Brazil. The choice of Rio will guarantee that it grows its media and communications industry at the expense of Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Porto Alegre, etc. Of course, wherever this kind of investment happens there are knock on geographic effects. However, the overwhelming Federal investment in Rio de Janeiro (at least R$100 billion between 2010-2016) is going to have long term consequences for a more balanced urban system. The FIFA media release is worth a read.
The Secretary of the Fazenda of Rio de Janeiro is trying to find ways to raise R$4 billion to finance public works for mega-events. His primary obstacle, according to Oh, Globo is the Law of Fiscal Responsibility (LRF), which prevents cities from emitting bonds while they are in debt. O Principe is still waiting for his R$ 2.5 billion loan to come in from the World Bank and until that happens, Rio is prohibited from borrowing more money. The strategy therefore is to wait until Henrique Mirelles (O Neo-Libertador) finally gets into power and then they’ll talk about how much debt they can saddle Rio with. This quote I found rather touching: Do ponto de vista político é muito delicado (mexer na LRF), mas do ponto de vista econômico, faria sentido", ressaltou a secretária. (From the political point of view it’s very delicate [to mess with the LRF) but from the economic point of view it makes sense). Head, shoulders, knees, and toes! Get flexible people!
|Dilma and the PT get to work on the law|
Did you know that trees are as flexible as stadia? Well, the revisions to the Forest Code that are getting crammed though the senate is going to surprise you, or not. The Amazon is being picked apart by agri-business, timber, and mining interests and the Worker’s Party is doing everything it can to hand the country over to capitalists. The passing of the mutilated Forest Code and the mega-event flex-laws are the priority of the new Minister of Institutional Relations. If Dilma’s government were any more flexible they’d call the county Shavasana.