Cardboard Head – Joao do Rio


“Cardboard Head” (aka “O Homem da Cabeça de Papelão“), published in the 1920s by writer and journalist João do Rio, tells the story of Antenor, an honest young man who lives in the Country of the Sun. A man who has a terrible fault: “He always tells the truth”. Due to this, Antenor is discriminated against and repulsed by his family and society in general. Not bearing the pressure, he decides to exchange his head for a cardboard one, produced on an assembly line.

Below is an award-winning stop-motion animation (PT) based on drawings by J. Carlos and inspired by João do Rio’s Cardboard Head.


Reage, Rio – 50 Proposals

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50 proposals made at ‘Reage, Rio!’ to turn things around

In two days of debates, “Reage, Rio!” outlines ways for the government to turn things around, finding a way to change the pattern of violence, resume the pace of economic growth, improve the circulation of people and ensure institutional transparency and efficiency. The five dozen concrete suggestions in the areas of security, urban mobility, economics, public policies (education and health), ethics and tourism were analyzed by a team of reporters, who’ve suggested what needs to be done to get them off the drawing board and actually implemented. In the proposals [link at the bottom], the reader can find links with the respective reports or videos of the seminar.

Some of the suggestions depend on the approval of constitutional amendments or ordinary laws; others, on public investment. There are still those that need isolated or joint actions from the federal, state and city governments.

O Globo and Extra will follow the progress of each idea presented by experts, businessmen and representatives of the public sector and civil society, and the result of this verification will be published in both newspapers.

[DR Note: to save you time, note that the Implementation plan that follows each Proposal is usually some variation of, “it depends on the government”, which speaks for itself. The breakdown below is as follows: 1 – 10 (Security), 11 – 20 (Economy), 21 – 27 (Tourism), 28 – 33 (Urban Mobility), 34 – 39 (Public Policies), 40 – 50 (Ethics)]


Torquato Jardim, Minister of Justice:


Proposal: Reaffirm the agreement with the government to safely fight crimes in general, with an emphasis on giving more room for municipal participation and re-equipping the Military Police.

Implementation: It depends on amending the Constitution to change competencies in the area of public security. There is a PEC [Stability & Growth Pact] regarding this in the House of Representatives.


Proposal: Operational integration with technology (more drones, satellites and computers), starting at the border.

Implementation: It depends on planned investments in the Budget created by the federal government and approved by Congress.


Proposal: Create a single system for public safety, in the mold of the SUS [Unified Health System], with a division of tasks and without .

Implementation: It depends on the approval of a Constitutional amendment or ordinary law in Congress.


Proposal: Institutionalize the National Public Security Force.

Implementation: It depends on the approval of a Constitutional amendment in Congress. Until now at least two proposals haven’t gone forward.

Robson Rodrigues, Military Police Coronel & ex-UPP Coordinator:


Proposal: Invest in intelligence to investigate drug trafficking, efficiency and creativity to recover and optimize resources, in addition to having priorities and an action plan.

Implementation: It depends on the actions of the federal and state governments, and on the reallocation of resources towards the intelligence sector.

Michele dos Ramos, from the Igarapé Institute:


Proposal: Prioritize the prevention and investigation of life-threatening crimes, with strategies focused on groups, places and behaviors that are more vulnerable to violence. Prioritize evidence-based and results-oriented policies.

Implementation: State government action to prioritize the Civil Police investigation sector and prevention through the Military Police.


Proposal: Qualified repression and modernization of criminal and penitentiary policy.

Implementation: Qualified repression depends on the intelligence sector. And the modernization of the criminal and penitentiary policy, on change in the National Plan of National and Penitentiary Policy, made by a council of the same name from the Ministry of Justice.


Proposal: Discuss the problem of drug use as a public health issue, review drug policy and consolidate responsible regulation of weapons and ammunition.

Implementation: The decriminalization of drugs, or just marijuana, can be done by Congress or by the Federal Supreme Court. The consolidation of the regulation of arms, provided for in the Disarmament Statute, depends on Congress.


Proposal: Disseminate data and information on public policies and programs that work.

Implementation: It depends on joint action between states and the federal government.

Hugo Acero, expert in security and sociology:


Proposal: Increased cooperation among countries in the fight against major mafias, not only drug trafficking, but also trafficking of people, smuggling, the illegal arms trade and terrorism.

Implementation: Cooperation between countries may be promulgated by decree from the President of the Republic, after the policy is drafted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Mauro Osório, President of the Pereira Passos Institute:


Proposal: Make a pension reform.

Implementation: There is already a proposal awaiting voting in the House. It is PEC 287/16. In May, the state also approved the 14% increase in social security contribution for public servants.


Proposal: Increase revenue and discuss the collection of ICMS tax at the destination and the Kandir Law (which exempts taxes on exports).

Implementation: By decision of the STF, a commission in Congress is already discussing a change in the Kandir Law. A change in ICMS tax only on the destination of the product (especially oil) depends on the Union’s articulation with all 27 federative units.


Proposal: Establish a policy for territorialized budgets.

Implementation: It depends on the planning of city hall and the approval of the budget law by the House.


Proposal: Sanitize and clean Guanabara Bay.

Implementation: The proposal has been in place since 2012, but has not solved the problem and is threatened by the economic crisis. It’s the Environmental Sanitation Program of the Cities in the Area Around the Bay, created by CEDAE, which may be privatized.


Proposal: Integrate the capital with the interior, and make the city of Rio de Janeiro into a regional economic hub.

Implementation: Integration depends on joint action by city halls and state government.

David Zylbersztajn, partner at DZ Negócios and ex-director of the National Agency of Petroleum (ANP)


Proposal: Stimulate entrepreneurship and reduce bureaucracy.

Implementation: It depends on the action of the city and state power spheres. Since 2015, Rio’s city hall has the Rio + Fácil program, which reduces bureaucracy to open companies. The program can be extended.


Proposal: Invest in a modern, post-oil, low-carbon economy, and in Rio’s vocations (tourism, hospitality, entertainment).

Implementation: The city already has incentive programs for the modern economy, such as RioCriativo and StartupRio. They could be expanded.


Proposal: Create tourism incentive laws and a tourism training school in Rio de Janeiro.

Implementation: Laws to encourage tourism can be created by Alerj, the City Council, the Executive branch or as proposals from civil society. The creation of a tourism training school would also depend on municipal or state initiative, and could be done in partnership with the private sector.

Christino Áureo, State Secretary of the Civil Office and Economic Development:


Proposal: Create a fiscal recovery plan, with impacts for the next six years, foreseeing a R$53.6 billion revenue increase and R$25 billion reduction in expenses, in addition to the suspension of the payment of public debt.

Implementation: The State of Rio and the Union have scheduled the approval of the State Tax Recovery Regime for this week. The state will also receive clearance to take out bank loans, which will allow, for example, the auction that will use Cedae shares as a guarantee. The state expects to obtain up to R$3.5 billion from the operation.


Proposal: Review laws that only affect the State of Rio in relation to ICMS and environmental taxes, to ease investors’ minds and make the environment less adverse for those who invest in Rio.

Implementation: The change in the environmental licensing fee and ICMS may occur at the initiative of the state government. Changes in the rate of control and environmental inspection at the federal and state levels already go through the Legislature.


Roberto Medina, businessman and President of Rock in Rio:


Proposal: Highlight R$200 million of the R$1.3 billion in federal government investment in events to privilege Rio and create the “Rio de Janeiro a Janeiro” calendar of events.

Implementation: The investment has already been announced by the Ministry of Culture. An Embratur ordinance, which will be published by Monday, will create a calendar of 150 cultural, sports and tourism events in the State of Rio, which should receive a contribution of R$200 million.

Bruno Marques, President of the Cataratas group, AquaRio:


Proposal: Reform Rio Zoo to strengthen tourism.

Implementation: It’s already in progress. The city of Rio made a bid to cede the administration of Rio Zoo to the Cataratas Group, which is renovating the site for R$80 million.

Paulo Michel, Vice President of ABIH / RJ:


Proposal: Treat tourism as an economic activity. Teach tourism while in school.

Implementation: It depends on change in the National Curriculum. There is a proposal drawn up by the Ministry of Education, which is in its third version, and citizens can suggest changes at public hearings.


Proposal: Create experiences for tourists.

Implementation: At the city level, experiences in tourism compete with Riotur and the Secretary of Public Order (Seop), which grants a license for new events, registered in the Carioca Digital portal.


Proposal: Bureaucratize the granting of licenses to attract new events.

Implementation: To de-bureaucratize bureaucracy, at the city level, has to be an initiative of the Municipal Secretariat of Public Order (Seop), responsible for granting permits.


Proposal: To guarantee ostensible security in areas of touristic interest.

Implementation: There are already projects financed by Fecomércio, the state and city government, such as Operação Presente, which operates in Lapa, Lagoa, Méier, Aterro and Centro.


Proposal: Establish more flexible rules for granting visas to foreign tourists and strengthen advertising abroad.

Implementation: They can be implemented by an interim measure, signed by the President, or by a change in the Migration Law.


Guilherme Ramalho, President of Metrô:


Proposal: Optimize the already-installed transport network, since there are bus lines overlapping with the BRT, train and subway.

Implementation: Joint action of the city halls in the Metropolitan Region of Rio and the State Secretary of Transportation.


Proposal: Create a metropolitan authority to oversee and plan the transportation system as a whole.

Implementation: Approval of Bill No. 10, from 2015, which creates a metropolitan agency, being considered by Alerj.


Proposal: Create sustainable financing solutions, such as urban tolls, to subsidize tariffs, and the expansion of public transportation.

Implementation: Integration between city, state and federal government, and bill approval at the city or state level.

Paulo Cezar Ribeiro, from Coppe/UFRJ:


Proposal: Reorganize Rio’s urban transport before the economy resumes, to avoid bottlenecks in urban mobility. Improve the traffic light system and review the city’s horizontal and vertical signs.

Implementation: Actions by the city hall through the Company of Rio Traffic Engineering (CET-Rio).

Vicente Loureiro, Executive Director of Câmara Metropolitana:


Proposal: Plan the physical and tariff-based integration of urban transport.

Implementation: Actions from the State Secretary of Transport, or through the Strategic Development Plan of the Rio Metropolitan Region which will be submitted to Alerj.


Proposal: Stimulate regional economic growth to unlock the transport system. Establish policies of employment opportunities distributed by region.

Implementation: Approve the Strategic Development Plan of the Rio Metropolitan Region, which will be submitted to Alerj, and changes in the incentive law to strengthen the economy in strategic regions.


César Benjamin, City Secretary of Education:


Proposal: Implement a combined process of qualitative and quantitative assessments in the city’s education network.

Implementation: It depends on a decree.


Proposal: Eliminate functional illiteracy in the city network, starting in 2018, setting up a team of two thousand literacy teachers.

Implementation: Taking into account that city hall is prohibited by the Law of Fiscal Responsibility to promote entry exams or hire staff, the secretary will need to relocate teachers in the network.

Claudia Costin, expert in public administration and former City Secretary of Education:


Proposal: Create alternatives so that students do not stop studying when their schools close because of violence. A plan “b” could come in the form of an activity book, which the student would take home.

Implementation: It depends on administrative action from the Education Department, which would prepare, print and distribute the notebooks.


Proposal: Develop strategies to comply with the Incheon Declaration, of which Brazil is a signatory, which establishes, among other goals, ensuring inclusive, equitable and quality education, as well as promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Implementation: The City Department of Education already published, in the Official Gazette, a schedule and budget for its goals. The implementation of the projects, however, runs up against the city’s budget issues.

Vilma Guimarães, general manager of education at the Roberto Marinho Foundation:


Proposal: Replicate positive experiences in the teaching network, universalizing practical units that were successful in certain schools.

Implementation: Detecting and replicating good practices in the network depends on administrative acts by the city and state education networks.

Márcio Maranhão, thoracic surgeon, health management expert and author of “Sob Pressão”:


Proposal: Create a governance mechanism in the public health sector based on accountability, equity, sustainability and transparency.

Implementation: The National Audit Department exercises audit and specialized inspection activities within SUS. To change or create a new analytical tool in SUS, it would be necessary to approve a complementary law.


Eduardo Gussem, Rio’s Attorney General:


Proposal: Create a committee with the presence of representatives of the Judiciary, Legislative and Executive, Public Prosecutor’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, state and city court, OAB, business, press and other sectors of civil society.

Implementation: It depends on the participation and interest of these sectors.

Felipe Saboya, Ethos Institute:


Proposal: Make public purchases more transparent and with more modern control.

Implementation: Change the Bidding Law in Congress and provide for new control mechanisms.


Proposal: Change the criteria for choosing members of audit courts to restrict the political influence of nominations.

Implementation: It depends on changing federal and state legislations, which adopt different criteria for electing members of these courts.


Proposal: Make the city, state and federal budgets more transparent and with greater popular participation.

Implementation: It’s necessary to review budgetary elaboration processes in the three administrative spheres, modifying Executive and Legislative norms.


Proposal: Hold more public hearings to consult the population before making decisions.

Implementation: Include a device, by constitutional amendment, that generalizes the obligation of public hearings, which today are restricted to some areas.


Proposal: Summon the population more consistently to decide on issues through plebiscites and referendums.

Implementation: Change law 9.709, from 1998, to simplify the convocation of plebiscites and referendums and to increase the possibilities of convocation.


Proposal: Include a “compliance” clause in contracts between companies and public authorities.

Implementation: Change the Bidding Law to include the requirement for public contracting. Government authorities could also adopt this practice by signing contracts.


Proposal: Implement a political reform to ensure greater participation of women and cheapen the cost of election campaigns.

Implementation: Requires constitutional amendment to create a female quota. To lessen the cost of campaigns, Congress must change the law governing the operation of campaigning.

Fernando Gabeira, journalist and former Congressman:


Proposal: Make public contracting through insurers, which could make construction less susceptible to corruption and delays.

Implementation: The House is already negotiating a proposal to amend the Bidding Law and force the contracting of insurance for 100% of the construction that is government contracted.


Proposal: Separate the elections of the Legislative and the Executive, so that the mayor, governor and president have greater parliamentary support.

Implementation: Approve a constitutional amendment to separate the elections.

Miro Teixeira, congressman for the Rio Sustainability Network:


Proposal: Change the internal control system of the ministries, so that the portfolio holder does not choose who will control management.

Implementation: The Head of the Executive can determine, for example, that only auditors of the Federal Audit Office or the Office of the Comptroller General of the Union have the function of controlling expenditure.

Source (PT)

Preserving Carioca landscapes

Carioca landscapes: world heritage to be preserved (in PT)

One of the 14 World Cultural Heritage sites in Brazil is Rio de Janeiro’s landscape. It’s the only item on the list that brings together urbanism and natural beauty. So what do we need to do to preserve this scenery? Here’s a 10-minute talk with architect and city planner Luiz Fernando Janot.

Essentially, it’s hard to think about preservation and UNESCO titles when there’s so much work that needs to be done locally on multiple levels, first.

Policing Rio beaches – 1917


Cariocas and the Sea, Not Always a Love Affair
O Globo, 2005

The history of the evolution of habits shows that going to the beach was already an activity that could end at the police station

The sea bath in 1917 was therapy advised by doctors and restricted, by decree, to certain times. Noise and shouting were also forbidden. Bathing suits, only with “necessary decency”, that is, with the body covered up. The swimsuits were less suffocating in the 1930s, but the police took the looser bathers to jail. It was the “pro-decency campaign.” The libertarian vocation of the Carioca was reborn in the boldness of the fifties, which, even under the sandstorm of conservatives, transgressed with showy “two pieces.” The swimsuit became the bikini, and in the 80s they took off the top. Topless didn’t take root, but the limit was no longer a decree or code of conduct, but the fashion.

With a century having passed, Cariocas have killed off various laws, ordinances and rules of behavior to choose, without repression, the proper conduct for the magical scenery formed by sand, sea and bodies exposed to the sun.


Outlaw bathers could spend five days in jail

The beaches fell into the purview of the law after a decree (1.143) from Rio Mayor Amaro Cavalcanti in May 1917. The measure, which regulated the use of Leme and Copacabana beaches, instituted: “Sea baths will only be allowed from April 1st to November 30th, from 6 to 9AM and from 4 to 6PM; From December 1st to March 31st from 5 to 8AM and from 5 to 7PM. In other words: during the day, the beach was off limits. Anyone who broke the rules, paid 20 mil reis or spent five days in prison.


Claudia Gaspar, author of the book “Orla Carioca: história e cultura“, says that the first beaches laws had probable French origin.

“The rules must have come from manuals from that country, so much that the lifeguard stations were called places of sauvatage. Despite the restrictions, it was a step up from the previous period, when some people rented boats in Praça XV to take private baths off the coast. The beach was still more medicinal than social,” recalls Claudia.

Writers came out in defense of the one-piece. The author of “Orla Carioca” found in a 1926 edition of the newspaper “Beira Mar” an ode to freedom: “We are already angry about this false moral civilization created by our grandparents. It is frankly ridiculous that in the mid-twentieth century we want to shape our standard of living in the archaic and moldy mirrors of 1830. ”

It was not long before society reacted: on January 12, 1931, on the front page of Globo, the headline said: “The pro-modesty campaign was initiated by the police on the bathing beaches of Rio.” The photos showed bathers forced to wear long robes and others being taken to the police station. It was forbidden, among other things, to walk the access streets to the beach dressed in swimsuits. The limits continued in the years to come, as 69-year old retired UFRJ history professor Miridan Falci says:

“One would leave the beach with a large towel wrapped around one’s body, and at times it was forbidden. On the buses, a warning said: “the entry of bathers is prohibited”. But I witnessed liberation: I was on Ipanema Beach in 1971, the day that Leila Diniz appeared pregnant in a bikini!


Topless fashion erupted in the “summer of amnesty”, in 1980, but it never became a broad, general and unrestrained fashion. Legally, it was banned and unbanned several times – the first time in 1973, when the Federal Supreme Court denied an injunction requested by a bather, who wanted to expose her body with the approval of the judges. In 2000, commercial representative Rosimeri Moura da Costa, 34, was arrested while going topless in Recreio, accused of an obscene act. Today, Cariocas are free to leave the beach and go to chic places, but they prefer tempered swimsuits, even on the beach, according to a couple of artists Lúcio Tapajós, 35, and Renata Nonô, 32. She gives her version for the return to the past:

“Even to buy a coconut at the kiosk, many girls wear a shorts or a sarong. And the bikinis look like bathing suits. But this is not a conservative wave, but an excess of body worship. People get hysterical when they have cellulite or a stretch mark.”

It is another kind of dictatorship: that of the perfect body. But at least in sports, there are those who float above the new rules. Marianne Kerr, 23, surfs every day in a bikini at Leblon. When the time is short, one leaves home ready to enter the water without fear of being misinterpreted.

“Since I live close by, when I’m in a hurry, before college or work, I go out in a bikini to the beach. Cariocas do not do much of this, but there is nothing wrong with it”, says the surfer, who studies psychology at PUC.

Marianne would not have a good time on a beach from last century. She would have a problem with her bikini until the 1950s, and in the 1970s she would have to leave the board in the sand for most of the day, as surfing also suffered under the laws. A 1976 resolution by the State Department of Public Safety established that the sport could only be practiced after 2PM on seven beaches in the state. On the rest of the coast it was forbidden. Frescobol continues to be illegal, but the most restricted sport currently is kitesurfing, allowed in Rio just between two kiosks at Barra beach. – Source (PT, PDF)

For more, listen to this 10-minute podcast (PT) from Cultura Popular Carioca, or read this article (PT) from O Globo. From Deep Rio, be sure to check out The Cabines of Copacabana. I’ll also add two articles from Revista da Semana from 1917/18 that talk about the dangers of indecency (once clicked, you can open them full size in the bottom, right-hand corner).


Gavea Planetarium gets protected status


“Inaugurated on November 19, 1970, the Fundação Planetário is dedicated to disseminating astronomy and related sciences and offering quality culture and leisure to the people of Rio de Janeiro and other visitors, becoming synonymous with fun not only through the Summit Sessions, but by promoting a series of cultural activities and projects, for all kinds of people, allowing integration between the most diverse areas of science.

The Planetarium Foundation has two units in operation: Gávea and Santa Cruz. In Gávea, the visitor can visit the Museum of the Universe, which houses 60 interactive experiments and exhibitions; the Giordano Bruno Library, with a collection of approximately 2,500 books, the amphitheater, the Sergio Menge auditorium, the Galileo Space, aimed at children’s recreation; Telescopes Square, where telescope observations occur; and the Carl Sagan and Galileo Galilei Summits, reformed in 2011.” – Official Site


Protected Status

Amid the legal dispute over a possible sale of the land to pay labor debts, the Gávea Planetarium will be listed as part of Rio’s historical and cultural heritage. The bill 2.640/17 had already been approved by the Rio de Janeiro Legislative Assembly (Alerj), who on Wednesday (August 23, 2017) overturned governor Luiz Fernando Pezão’s veto. Of the 70 parliamentarians, 48 voted in favor of overturning the veto.

The declaration does not prevent the sale of the land, which almost took place in April in order to pay the labor debts of Rio’s State Housing Company (Cehab), which owns the area. But the demolition or de-characterization of the original property is forbidden. – Source (PT)

Rio Olympics, one year later

I’ve been seeing articles and videos on the topic for a few months but I was waiting for one that could hit upon the zeitgeist. I think this 19-min report by China Global TV Network does a nice job of showing just that.

It’s sad to see but it’s not like this wasn’t the expected outcome. There are so many pressing issues but I feel like if public safety could be at least under control, it’d make a world of difference. For that to happen, police presence would have to be increased by 10 times.

How to find Rio Samba Groups

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A project from the Pereira Passos Institute, by Rio’s Secretary of Culture and the NGO Rede Carioca de Rodas de Samba, is trying to measure how many there are, how many people attend and how much money is generated by one of Rio’s main cultural heritage activities: samba groups. An in-depth study has led to the launch of a platform three weeks ago that aims to map them in the city.

Project Site (click “#MapaParticipativoRodas”, then “Explorar o Mapa”)

“Those who get around the city, and who like the samba groups know that these events take place seven days a week, throughout the year. Unlike Carnival, which is seasonal, the samba groups come together all the time. We wanted to understand where the groups are, what their potential and demands are,” explained geographer João Grand Júnior, one of the creators of the system and a student of the subject.

The project began at the end of 2015, with a decree by the City of Rio de Janeiro. The first step was a study that identified 140 to 150 samba groups in the city. The second step is mapping them online. The study was dependent on the event organizations.

“We summon the samba groups to put their information on the map. Previously, we did the survey ourselves but today we invite the samba groups to participate in the survey,” said the geographer.

Currently the site has about 25 samba groups registered, but the idea is that the number increases with the visibility of the platform.

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Economic potential of samba groups

With the slogan “Vive mejor quem samba” (Those who samba, live better), the researcher carried out a study with 25 samba groups from Rio de Janeiro to evaluate the potential of the market. This small sample of the samba groups market in Rio de Janeiro yielded R$1.33 million per month.

The study data shows that 66% of the public consume on average over R$50 a month at this type of event. For 31% of respondents, consumption exceeds R$75.

One of the next steps for the Pereira Passos Institute, Rio’s Secretary of Culture and Rede Carioca de Rodas de Samba is to try to scale the number of professionals who work and depend on the market. From salespeople, to musicians and technicians.

The map of Rio’s samba groups of Rio will remain online indefinitely. The idea is that it’s updated constantly and becomes a medium of reference not only for researchers, but also for the regulars, when choosing the places that they will visit. – Source (PT)

Enjoy a short documentary (PT) on the NGO that made the project

Long Life to Folha Seca!

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A day doesn’t go by without news of the closing of a traditional establishment: a used bookstore that has a particular abundance of French books, a coffeehouse that was always full of people, a hotel that had lodged a world champion team (from Uruguay, in 1950), a newstand that served espressos to clients and even an important store for sports items on the most expensive block in Ipanema. Behind each story is the flight of clientele and money and the [economic] crash that swept the country.

At the same time, one doesn’t hear about the closing of pharmacies, banks, and Evangelic temples, nor of stores dedicated to mattresses, furniture or articles for the home. Incidentally, they occupy the spaces where nice and needed commerce was located up until a short time ago. It’s not that these new, arrogant stores can’t exist. But who needs four pharmacies from the same chain in a single block? In other countries, the government controls this excess.

That’s why when one learns that a bookstore in Rio is celebrating its 19th anniversary, it’s not a case of only blowing out the candles, but of setting off rockets. That’s what’s happening today, the anniversary of Folha Seca, on Ouvidor street, coinciding with Saint Sebastian, patron saint of the city. When Rodrigo Ferrari opened it, in 1998, the idea was audacious: a “Carioca bookstore”, specialized in books about Rio, popular music and football. Since when does a country in eternal crisis behave with such specialization?

But Rodrigo undertook it and his presence injected happiness into that section of Ouvidor, between Primeiro de Março and Travessa do Comércio. Bars, restaurants and samba circles cropped up, making it one of the most pleasant blocks of old Rio.

Rio couldn’t be understood without Folha Seca. A long life to this bookstore, that does the city so well! – Source (PT)


Also, here’s a recent piece (PT) on O Globo about the bookstore

Rio-Niteroi Tunnel – A 1950’s dream

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Revista da Semana
Reporting by Sérgio Andrade
January 23, 1956

The astonishingly dizzying development that has been occurring, during the post-war period, in Rio de Janeiro and Niterói, especially in regards to freight transit (inland from the states to the coast), has been a pivotal problem for which the government is having a lot of trouble finding solutions. In recent years, the number of vehicles from the hinterland has grown alarmingly. Greater ease and safety in locomotion are thus being demanded. Access routes to vital points will soon be insufficient and rare. Two entry super-highways (President Dutra and Amaral Peixoto), which are gathering up and facilitating the extra traffic caused by this brutal flow, are being torn apart.

A consequence of these roads is the greater development in the exportation of products for merchants and industrialists in the hinterland. The cargo overload present in the two cities, heading out to the rest of the country and abroad encounters a gap of natural interconnection – the Guanabara Bay – to be overcome. Due to the topographical condition of the two capitals (embedded in the middle of the Serra da Mar) it is impossible to build bridges, which can only be done on flat terrain.

Formed in 1955, the commission for the drafting of the project already decided that only an underwater tunnel would solve the problem satisfactorily. Complete pessimism. Only here, an initiative of this kind would be thus received. Unfortunately, we have never had experiences of this nature before. Groups of defeatists set out to try to bring down the project, but the commission, without listening to rumors and with the support of then-President Café Filho, started work on the preparation of the bidding notice. Commercial representatives from the United States, Belgium, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands and France, technical nations in matters relating to underwater constructions, would be sent copies of the notice, to study and budget. All companies submitted projects – the (French) winner presented an exceptional project, with a base budget of forty-one million dollars.

The definitive route, on the Rio side, will end at Praça Mauá; in Niterói, at Avenida Feliciano Sodré. Djalma Nunes, a journalist and chairman of the Pró-Túnel Committee, who has no technical knowledge, drew a line (the shortest) between Gragoatá and the Airport. Unfortunately it was unpractical, due to the ocean depths found along the route.

Inadequate and insufficient surface transport, which increased in 1950, continues to grow. A submarine tunnel will handle 3,600 vehicles per hour, meaning an advantage of speed (seven minutes for crossing) and safety for both the cargo and people, and accelerating progress in transportation even more.

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The Tunnel has a “long beard”

Truly, the thought of uniting Rio de Janeiro to Niterói through Guanabara is not a recent one. In search of the past, we found the first documents dated to 1878, belonging to the Duke of Caxias’ office. Later that same year, a famous English engineer, passing through Rio, elaborates a plan and sends a letter to the Director of Public Works, provoking surprise in the inhabitants of both capitals, [fazendo os velhos consolheiros cofiarem as barbichas, desconfiados e descrentes…]. With the republic, newspapers, magazines, and groups of anonymous idealists continued, more enthusiastically, to see whether the government was interested in such a construction project. The following lines could constitute a chronological scheme of the tunnel:

1876 — March 4th. In the office of the Duke of Caxias, a document is signed by Tomás Coelho granting to Hamilton Landsay Bucknall the privilege of construction, use and enjoyment of a submarine tunnel, for the term of fifty years, connecting the Court to Niterói.

1876 — November 30th. Peter W. Barlow, a notable engineer of very bold construction projects, writes a letter to the Director of Public Works, expressing his technical opinion of the perfect feasibility of executing an underwater tunnel through Guanabara Bay. The reasons for the construction? Very important ones: The large-scale flow of products from the inland States; ease of driving safety for the inhabitants of the capitals; exchange of small-scale trade. It was just a suggestion …

1920 — In the course of the [presidential] administration of Mr. Epitácio Pessoa, with Carlos Sampaio as mayor of the city, the construction hypothesis is again proposed. The first geological plans of the bay are put together. [Being that it was] a private initiative, lacking know-how at the time, discouragement overcame the ideal.

1932 — Suspension bridges, the great development in engineering, constituted the era. Idealist thought looked again at the solution. Proposals, mostly private, flock to the tiny room where the City Planners operated. As proof, pictures and models of famous bridges around the world accompanied the builders’ plans. They were never studied. The conflicting opinions of the military ministries definitively cut aspirations. Bridges would be the object of easy access from enemy fire in times of war. And in case of damage, the time spent on the repairs would take months, or years, and obstruct navigation.

1950 — With the question raised during the administration of Mr. Getúlio Vargas, enthusiasts and journalists from the two coastal capitals struggled incessantly, hoping that the government would organize a commission in order to carry out the project. [Era contudo, tomado erroneamente o princípio desta grandiosa obra, onde, ao valor industrial e comercial se sobrepunha o puramente turístico.]

1952 — The President of the Republic resolves to create a law, constituting a commission composed of three engineers, designated to study the possibility of doing the project. From the city of Niterói, the engineer Salo Brand, Director of Public Works for the State. From Rio de Janeiro, the engineer Raul Marques de Azevedo, from the City Planning Department. From the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, the engineer Gilberto Canedo de Magalhães, director of the Department of Ports, Rivers and Channels.

1955 — On January 28th, work began, preparing notices for a public bid. They are later sent to the US, France, Belgium, Germany, Japan and Holland.

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What is a Submarine Tunnel

Identical to the other existing types, the Rio-Niterói tunnel, with its characteristics, resembles the most recent one built in the world, the 5,000 meters long Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel, the fourth to connect Manhattan to the New York coast. It’s composed of two parallel cylinders, each with two one-way lanes. One of them, at a uniform speed of forty-five miles per hour, is designed for heavy loads. The other is for passenger and collective vehicles, at sixty miles. For the maintenance of this constant and uniform flow, every 200 to 250 meters, police are posted, which, through internal communication and light-signaling, transmit any irregularities to the entrances and exits. The fluorescent lighting gradually increases from the center to the exits, permitting a perfect setting for drivers’ eyes.

The circulation of air is perfect. The pure air, brought by the inflow station towers, is injected by conduits into the curbs. The stale air is sucked up by anemostats cut into the roof of the tunnel, forming vertical air currents, preventing the horizontal expansion of gases or flames. This system, controlled at a distance, and high precision gear, automatically prevent possible accidents. For cleaning, changing parts, washing, etc., the possibility of closing one of the tunnels is being studied. With days and advisories shown,  the traffic starts to flow through one tunnel only. In the interim, shifts of workers perform all the necessary repairs. The administration building, toll booths, machines for drainage of rainwater or debris are located at one of the openings. [As saídas são afloradas em areas livres, distantes do congestionado tráfego, verificando-se rápido desafogo dos veículos pelas estradas elevadas de alta velocidade.]

Three or Four years for construction – Two billion cruzeiros

The tunnel project, in accordance with the results of the competition, should be carried out within a maximum of eight months. It consists of, in general, the geological and geophysical survey of the terrain, traffic statistics, economics, details, technical conditions for construction, inspection and the final draft. Initially budgeted at US$41 million (about Cr$2 billion cruzeiros) the tunnel (of which there are two) will have a cylindrical shape, embedded in granite at the bottom of the bay, with an average diameter of ten meters. The traffic lanes will be 6.5 meters between the curbs. There will be a side walkway for policing and enforcement. The total height will be 4.1 meters. The underwater extension to the outcrops will be 6,000 meters. The maximum depth, 89 meters.

Drilled from the Rio side, construction work will be performed at the openings, at the Morro de São Bento, below ground, passing laterally to the Ministry of the Navy, Rua São Gerardo, formerly Lloyd Brasileiro. From there it will form a large curve, passing close by the lighthouse of the breakwater at the Ilha das Cobras, continuing until meeting up with the excavations from Niterói. These will be started in a straight line, at Avenida Feliciano Sodré, Praia Grande and landfill to be carried out on the border to the state capital. Drilling machines and complete equipment will be used for the continuity of the project.

A maximum of 3,000 Brazilian workers will be used. Only the technical supervision will be foreign. Almost all engineers are Brazilians. The stations for the circulation of air will be located at the lighthouse on Ilha das Cobras, the opening of Praça Mauá, the basin near the Amarração hill, and at the opening at Feliciano Sodré.

The administration buildings, toll booths and repair stations in general, will be located in Niterói (there is no vacant area in Rio), so as not to obstruct the large amount of traffic. The land taken from the neighboring capital will be used as landfill. The problem that has not yet been resolved is where the landfill will be deposited in Rio. After all, if you make a hole, you must know where the dirt will be placed…

Impossibility of accidents

Collisions are non-existent in the records of occurrences for submarine tunnels. The uniform speed of the vehicle in the same direction do not cause head-on collisions. On the sides, on the other hand, they are almost impossible, since a motor vehicle cannot move to another lane when inside the tunnel. Engine problems do not cause difficulties: either the vehicle gets repaired on the spot, or it’s towed outside.

In the United States a truck loaded with explosives caught fire inside the Lincoln Tunnel, causing general panic, and consequent disharmony in the flow of traffic. Immediately the internal phones rang, and traffic was stopped. As the cars were distanced from the scene, the hoses were in action. With the traffic on the other road unobstructed, help came quickly, while people were diverted to the lateral walkways. The ventilation system (vertical currents) prevented the flames from propagating horizontally, at the time they were sucked out by the anemostats in the ceiling. From then on, no more explosive or incendiary cargo traffic was allowed.

Also, in the Rio-Niterói tunnel, the passage of trams, animal-driven trolleys, or caterpillar machines will also not be permitted. Everything is so precisely controlled inside these tunnels, that an occurrence of serious proportions can be remedied within minutes.

500 employed in the tunnel

Divided into administration, tolls, policing, ventilation, repairs and conservation, etc, the tunnel will hold, after it’s complete, 500 employees:

Administration  – 50 people
Tolls – 20 people
Policing – 150 people
Ventilation – 200 people
Repairs – 50 people
Conservation – 30 people

All of these people will be split into work shifts, where rigid schedules and maximum responsibility will constitute the element of continuity for the life of the submarine artery.

The tolls

The criterion adopted from here on will have to be the same used in North American tunnels. By changing the currency and perpetuating the differences in surface transportation, it is possible to fit the price of tolls for various types of existing vehicles into a table. In a few years, when the construction work is done, the prices will undergo small changes:

Passenger cars – Cr$ 20,00
Two-axel trucks – Cr$ 30,00
Three-axel trucks – Cr$ 70,00
Four-axel trucks – Cr$ 90,00
Common Bus – Cr$ 30,00
Cargo Bus – Cr$ 60,0
Special Bus – Cr$ 60,00
Micro-buses – Cr$ 40,00
Motorcycles – Cr$ 15,00

Inevitably, these prices are estimates for the present, but at the same time they are decreasing in direct proportion to the increase of vehicle movement and years elapsed until the moment the invested capital is recovered. On this occasion, transportation will be free.


This is not news to anyone: Rio de Janeiro and Niterói only make people consume merchandise. They don’t even produce them for a strictly needed supply. With the tunnel, the lowering of product prices will become immediate. Ease of transferring goods and people will bring new horizons not only for us but for the rest of the country. The development of the small farmer will be noticeable. The secondary roads along large highways entry points will acquire incredible value. The opportunity to exchange products will grow even more. The international port will benefit enormously, and tourism will be greatly promoted.

Collective transport routes will arise, linking Gragoatá to Copacabana, Tijuca to Icaraí, Leopoldina to Saco de São Francisco, Flamengo to São Gonçalo. For Rio de Janeiro, the Municipality’s Department of Urban Planning foresees the construction of a high-speed lane above Rodrigues Alves Avenue, especially for heavy cargo coming from the tunnel, in the direction of the port and Presidente Dutra Highway. The Praça Mauá, even with the contention of the non-believers, will receive for the first time, a solution capable of dealing with the traffic problem in downtown Rio. It will become a constant traffic funnel, with six rows of vehicles, flowing to Avenida Rodrigues Alves, Rio Branco, Rua Acre Street, Rua Sacaduro Cabral and an interchange for the overpass.

According to calculations, the tunnel will allow 3,600 vehicles per hour. One-thousand, four hundred for cargo and 2,200 passenger cars. In eight consecutive hours, 28,800 vehicles will pass through it, with 11,200 being for cargo. Divided the cargo load into six-ton trucks, we’ll have the traffic of 76,200,000 kilos of Brazilian products in eight hours. Fantastic, is it not? The only hope is that this is not a dream or just rambling.


There were a few sections above that I was hesitant to translate due to not fully grasping parts of certain sentences.

The People’s Pool in Ramos


When most people think of beaches in Rio, images of the beautiful Copacabana or a sunset in Ipanema usually come to mind. But a few miles from these icons of Brazilian landscape sits an artificial lake not far from a polluted beach.

Piscinão de Ramos, or “big pool of Ramos”, is where thousands of people who live in the surrounding favelas, or slums, of Rio choose to go every summer. Julio Bittencourt, a young Brazilian photographer, was fascinated by its uniqueness. Over the last three years, he photographed the beach-goers of Ramos and was received with curious gazes and smiles.

“There are certain things that you only see in beaches in Brazil,” says Bittencourt. “Cariocas (locals of Rio) have a very special humor, very unique. I think all the humor and irony involved in the images are probably the most ‘Rio’ part of the work. It’s there all the time and you’re just struck by it every time you go there.”

The simplicity of life also caught Bittencourt’s attention. “Most of those people live their everyday lives with very little,” he says. But when they’re in Ramos, “they can forget about work and their problems. It makes you think how small your own problems are.” – Source


The Piscinão de Ramos was planned, built and opened under the Anthony Garotinho administration between 2000 and 2001. Despite its name, it actually lies within the neighborhood of Maré.

The swimming pool cost R$18 million, which was paid by Petrobras through a collaboration agreement with the State. It was compensation for the leakage of more than one million liters of oil in the waters of Guanabara Bay, months before, by the state-owned company.

Samba singer Dicró, who died in 2012, starred in an announcement for the State inviting people to the opening, to the sound of his samba. “Sunny Sunday / guess where we’re going / I rented a truck / I’m going to take my mother-in-law to Ramos beach,” he sang.

The idea of ​​using money from environmental compensation to create an area of leisure was questioned. The government argued, claiming that the nearby beaches of Guanabara Bay were polluted. The promise of leisure in a needy area, with a bicycle lane, sports courts and clean water that was replaced every four days, filled the place, which saw more than 50 thousand people going there on sunny Saturdays or Sundays. The attraction appeared in soap operas, served as a place for New Year’s Eve festivities and even inspired, at the time, a similar initiative in São Gonçalo (now closed), in the metropolitan region. – Source (PT)

Note 1: See some of Bittencourt’s photos from his “Ramos” project about the pool, and a video made for an expo about the images.

Note 2: If you want to get the vibe of the place, see this short documentary (PT) from 2014 which features interviews with lots of locals.

Note 3: Piscinão almost inspired a future pool (PT) in the greater São Paulo region.

Note 4: If you open up the Veja Rio piece, you’ll see it’s actually about how Piscinão is rather abandoned due to the State’s economic crisis. Since the start of 2016, the pool at Parque Radical, in Deodoro, has become new spot for Rio suburbanites who don’t want to waste time getting to the beach.