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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