By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Carnival lovers are in an uproar this week after Rio de Janeiro’s mayor, Marcelo Crivella, announced his administration is debating cutting half of the subsidies given to Rio’s famous samba schools in 2018. According to Crivella the money would be used in the city’s day-care centers.
“Rio has about 15,000 children in day-care centers, that need resources throughout the year,” Mayor Crivella wrote on his social media network on Monday.
City officials revealed that the samba school associations received approximately R$ 24 million in 2017 for the famous parades. The city is now proposing that 50 percent of 2018 subsidies be reverted to improve the food and school material of children going to city-run day-care centers
According to the mayor, although Carnival is one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions, citizens have to choose ‘if we’re going to use those resources for a three-day [Carnival] party or 365 days a year’.
“The beauty of our carnival is on the feet, by the samba shown by the components, in this great human geography. Carnival is much more than floats. And if on the one hand (samba) schools will lose resources, on the other, investments would be made in Sapucaí to improve the infrastructure conditions offered to (same samba) schools,” concluded Rio’s mayor.
The Independent League of Samba Schools (Liesa) told local media that it would not comment on the mayor’s decision before meeting with city officials. Mayor Marcelo Crivella, who took office in January of this year, is a licensed bishop at the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, religious group that condemns the carnival.
Crivella was strongly criticized in during this year’s Carnival festivities when he failed to attend the ceremony to deliver the key of the city to King Momo, the symbol of the start of the celebration.