Back to Business as Usual in Brazil

At the end of the first
week of the New Year, it looks like a tale of two cities, in Brazil, with
Rio and São
Paulo
living up to their images of hedonism in the former
and sensible grey-suitedness in the latter.

In Rio, César Maia (PFL), who was
re-elected last October on the first round, was threatening to withhold payment
for the New Year’s Eve fireworks at Copacabana on account of the smoke they
produced, blocking the sight for many revellers. 


 


Among the measures announced this week included
the creation of a municipal events secretariat which will deal with the line of
route for the samba schools at Carnaval and a meeting with councillors to agree
the projects to be built ahead of the 2007 Pan-American Games, taking place in
Rio.


 


When not dealing with these
pleasant matters he was busy criticising the state government for the poor state
of health care and a lack of public security – no doubt a barbed attack against
the current and former governors, Rosinha Matheus and her husband, Anthony
Garotinho (PMDB) who no doubt fancies his chances in next year’s presidential
race.


 


Meanwhile in
São Paulo its new mayor, José Serra
(PSDB), has spent the week settling into his new job and claiming that he won’t
run next year. Nevertheless, the week seems to have brought a few ups and
downs.


 


The lows have included the
humiliation of a fellow party member and councillor running successfully against
his man for the City Council presidency. 


 


In addition he claims to have discovered that
the previous incumbent as mayor, Marta Suplicy (PT), failed to make its debt
payment to the federal government last month. 


 


And despite claiming during the campaign that
he would reduce the number of officials, he started his administration with just
one less than Marta.


 


Despite that, he’s begun an
investigation into the new Rebouças tunnel, which was opened last September and
flooded just two months later. 


 


He also appears keen to tackle the city’s
current spending, by finding ways to reduce the administrative costs and
possibly renegotiating the controversial rubbish collection contract which was
signed at the tail-end of Marta’s mayoralty.


 


 

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