RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Here it comes, Carnival! Another year has passed and all this summer heat is about to peak with a month-long party on the street. Officially Carnival is March 4th through March 8th, but the blocos have already started and will be escalating with more frequency in the build up over the next few weeks, ready or not.
Only two things have held it back (for better or worse), the steep climb to get there, and the favelas enveloping it on all sides. The later is now being addressed, and it is perhaps the most famous and well traveled area being quietly occupied by UPP police forces, a sign of what’s coming to the rest of Rio.
Another thing coming is the return of the Ibsen Amendment, or some other form of the Brazilian oil laws that aims to redistribute royalties among all states and municipalities. This may be the single most important political and economic situation facing the city and state of Rio de Janeiro, testing the bonds between Sérgio Cabral and the new Rousseff administration.
It is not clear what effect it may have on the multi-billion dollar investments from multinational oil businesses here in the quest for pre-salt oil, discovered off the coast of Brazil’s Southeastern states. Perhaps the only thing that is certain is that Rio was counting on the income to fund the preparations for the 2014 World Cup finals and 2016 Olympic Games.
Something that came to light this week was the proceeds anticipated from the hydro-electric energy programs in Brazil’s interior states. Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, are expecting perhaps R$3-R$4 billion in the form of royalty payments in the next five years. Less then the estimated R$7.9 billion in oil royalties earned annually, but still a strong counterpoint in the negotiations to come.
Also on the horizon is our second issue of The Rio Times Print edition, due to hit the streets February 17th. The first issue in January was a success, 5,000 copies distributed to hotels and hostels along with several Gringo hang-outs. This next issue will hopefully be even better, and help us build an Advertiser base to allow us to continue.
The Rio Times just published it’s 100th weekly issue, and is coming up on our two-year anniversary in march, although we’re not sure if we’ll have a party or not. Last year we had a nice celebration at the end of March, April 1st actually. An unfortunate date but a nice party all the same, and it strikes me now how much things have changed since then.
Here comes another year of The Rio Times, another 100 Online weekly issues, and another Print edition and hopefully many more to come.