Mayor cuts Samba Schools budget for Rio's 2018 Carnival

Mayor cuts Samba Schools budget for Rio’s 2018 Carnival

The city's austerity policy slashed the Carnival budget in half
Brazil Culture

The Rio Samba School League (Liesa) declared that Rio’s 2018 Carnival Parade is unfeasible due to budget cuts. Mayor Marcello Crivella announced that the Carnival budget will be cut in half.

In light of the news, Liesa’s president Jorge Castanheira called a meeting with samba schools presidents. Their decision was to suspend preparations for the 2018 Carnival.

“The schools came to the conclusion that this revenue cut makes the parade unfeasible,” said Castanheira. “We are waiting to schedule a meeting with the mayor, so we can find a solution,” he declares. “It will be very hard to put the spectacle together in the conditions offered by City Hall,” Castanheira added.

Carnival money to day care

Mayor Marcello Crivella announced the budget cuts last Monday. Rio’s 2018 Carnival money, he said, will go to municipal day care centers. “Rio de Janeiro spends 10 BRL ($30) per capita per child. We need to get to 20 BRL ($60) at least. Do the math. That demands austerity and sacrifice. Everyone needs to pitch in. City Hall cut offices and 1,000 politically-appointed jobs. Carnival needs to help as well,” said Crivella.

During the 2016 campaign, Marcello Crivella, who is an evangelical pastor, declared several times that his religion would not mix with politics. Indeed, in an interview, Crivella stated that the Universal Church would not “participate” in his government.

Last contest ended in tie

Portela won Rio’s Carnival parade for the first time in decades this year. However, after the celebrations died down, the Rio Samba School League (Liesa) decided that Portela should share the glory. Indeed, Portela only won by one-tenth of a point, with the score of 269.9 out of 270.

Second-place winner Mocidade lost that tenth of a point over a minor detail. Mocidade had written in their original parade plan that they would have an embellishment on the floor of their parade. When they appeared without said embellishment, the jury decided to deduct 0.1 from their score. However, the jury re-evaluated the performance and realized that the final parade plan included no such floor embellishment. The point deduction was nullified, ultimately creating a tie between the Portela and Mocidade schools.

The schools themselves voted on who would take home the title. Of the twelve schools, nearly all voted in favor of a tie (except for four, which abstained). The only exception was the Portela school itself, which of course voted against sharing the title.