By Beatriz Miranda, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Sunday, February 11th, the Paraíso do Tuiuti samba school will be the fourth to parade with the Grupo Especial (Special Group) championship during the 2018 Carnival. Expected to enter at 12:30 AM (technically Monday, February 12th), the school promises to involve the audience for criticizing Brazil’s labor reform.

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Participating in the Grupo Especial championship for the second consecutive time, Paraíso do Tuiuti will criticize Brazil’s labor conditions at the Sapucaí, photo by Fat Press/LIESA.

This will be the third time in Carnival history that Paraíso do Tuiuti participates in Grupo Especial, the highest level among the six samba school leagues.

After conquering the sought after first place at Série A (Second League) in the Carnival 2016 championship, Paraíso do Tuiuti is proud to represent Grupo Especial for the second consecutive time this year.

Being the lowest-scoring school in Carnival 2017, Paraíso was supposed to parade at Série A (Second League) this year. However, due to accidents involving its “carros alegóricos” (thematic cars), which left 35 people injured, LIESA (Liga Independente das Escolas de Samba do Rio) decided that no school from Grupo Especial would be lowered to the Second League in Carnival 2018.

Original from the Morro do Tuiuti community, in São Cristóvão, Paraíso do Tuiuti was founded in 1954. Despite its tradition, Paraíso only became famous in 2000, when its samba enredo about Dom Pedro II, Brazil’s Emperor, earned the first place in the Série A.

In 2001, Paraíso do Tuiuti parades in Grupo Especial’s championship for the very first time, with a samba inspired by the novel “A incrível e fascinante história do Capitão Mouro”, written by Brazilian-Lebanese Georges Bourdoukan.

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Paraíso is expected to hypnotize the audience this year, exhibiting a controversial car with a vampire wearing a presidential sash, photo by Fernando Grilli/Riotur.

This year, Paraíso will have all eyes on it as it parades in the Sambódromo with “Meu Deus, meu Deus, está extinta a escravidão?” (My God, my God, is slavery over?”), a controversial samba that will problematize the labor conditions in Brazil and criticize the Labor Reform under Michel Temer’s government.

Written by renowned composers like Moacyr Luz, musician from the famous “Samba do Trabalhador”, Paraíso’s 2018 samba enredo argues that, when it comes to the relations between employers and employees in Brazil, slavery is far from being over.

“Slavery is still there, in the informal labor, in the rural areas, in the abuse of female workforce… The exploitation persists in the twentieth first century, and that will be portrayed in the Sambódromo with indignation and irony”, says Jack Vasconcelos, Paraíso’s carnavalesco (person in charge of the samba school’s thematic concept and artistic direction).

Among the highlights of Paraíso’s performance this year is a “carro alegórico” representing a contemporary slave ship, with the poor people on one side and the rich on the other. The most expected and controversial car, however, is the “Neoliberalism Vampire”, exhibiting a vampire wearing suit, tie and a presidential sash.

Represented by a blue-and-yellow flag, Paraíso claims that, despite its provocative theme, the parade will be “well-humored and respectful”.

Be sure to stay with The Rio Times to learn more about the other competing schools, winners and additional events during this year’s Carnival.

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