28 January 2013

Victory for the Aldeia!

Victory for the Aldeia!

This weekend a state judge ruled that the building could not be demolished. The injunction against demolition came after IPHAN, the institution responsible for identifying and preserving historical and cultural patrimony, decided in favor of the museum`s preservation. If the government wants to go ahead with its plans for demolition in order to turn the Aldeia Maracanã into a parking lot they will have to pay a fine of R$60 million. Next up, the battle for the Celio de Barros athletics facility - one of the few Olympic training sites in Rio. A public act against demolition is planned for Thursday January 31st at 1830 hrs at the Associação Brasileiro de Imprensa, Rua Araujó Porto Alegre 71, auditório 9o andar.  

Metro broken, train off the rails, crack addicts on the highway

Eight stations of the one line Metro system ceased to function because of a lack of energy this morning. Early reports were of people trapped in cars between stations, a lack of emergency services and a generalized absence of information. The sudden increase in demand for bus transport caused huge lines and overcrowding in the direction of Ipanema. People in Copacaban, Ipanema and Botafogo that usually take the Metro used cars, choking the northbound access along the Aterro do Flamengo.  The energy failure has yet to be explained and there has yet to be more clear information coming from Metro Rio about their apparent unpreparedness for emergency situations.

The problems in public transport were aggravated with a derailment of a car near the Central do Brasil. This caused significant delays in the Santa Cruz and Japeri lines which are the primary arteries that connect the western suburbs. Road transport was also complicated by an accident involving a car and a crack addict on the Avenida Brasil highway. The main east-west artery in the city has become a living space for crack addicts that were recently pushed out of the Manguinhos and Jacarezinho favelas, occupied with UPPs. The city`s program of obligatory internment is selectively applied and does not appear to have enduring effects on the health or living conditions of crack users who live outside of the tourist areas. The internal medians of Avenida Brasil have become the living space for crack addicts, making fatal accidents routine.

With Carnaval around the corner, one hopes that the public transportation system in Rio will stop misbehaving. Expectations are tempered by statements such as the one from Sub-Secretary for Transportation Joaquim Monteiro who said that his primary goal is “to prevent a total collapse of the system”.

Heartfelt sympathies to all involved in the tragedy in Santa Maria, RS. 

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