Novos Paulistanos

“According to IBGE, the number of foreigners living in Brazil almost doubled between 2000 and 2010. São Paulo is the Brazilian state that receives the most immigrants. They’re executives imported by megacorporations, African refugees running from wars and ethnic persecution, European hipsters in search of the “next Berlin”, latinos in search of work, etc. Say “olá” to your new neighbors.”

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Trip magazine’s piece called Novos Paulistanos (PT), on foreigners who’ve chosen São Paulo as their adopted city.

São Paulo and Rio have the highest bus fares

Continuing my coverage of the São Paulo protests, here’s a piece by Folha on research regarding bus fares across 12 cities.

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The infographic relates to how many minutes the citizen of each of the 12 cities listed above has to work in order to afford the bus. It was likely done in multiples of 100, as opposed to 60 (seconds/minutes), for calculation purposes.


“Last week was marked by the protests against bus fare increases throughout the country; it seems the protests originating in São Paulo are writing a chapter for the history books.

But is it possible that our bus fares are so expensive? We researched the price of bus fares in 10 cities around the world and compared them with Rio and São Paulo, where the protests were the most intense. Many analyses look at the prices in the local currency and convert them into dollars. These results show the same conclusion: Brazil is far from being the place with the most expensive fares — São Paulo and Rio are the cheapest, compared to those of London, Tokyo, Ottawa, New York, Lisbon, Paris and Madrid.

This type of analysis is superficial because it doesn’t take into account the average wage; in other words, one dollar in one country being easier to earn than in another. A more correct approach is to take into account the price of the fare in minutes worked, considering, therefore, the average wage and the hours worked in each city. Upon classifying the prices by the wages, São Paulo and Rio have the highest bus fares.

The resident of São Paulo has to work 14 minutes to pay to use the bus. For a resident of Rio, it’s 13 minutes. They’re higher than the 4 minutes worked by Chinese citizens. Perhaps the protesters aren’t actually against the R$ 0.20 increase in the bus fare, but rather they’re against a means of transport that doesn’t measure up to what can be found around the world.

As Enrique Peñalosa, the ex-Mayor of Bogotá, would say, “an advanced city is not one where the poor are using cars, but one where the rich are using public transportation”. What’s happening here seems to be the opposite.” – Source (PT)

The 1958 São Paulo Protests

In addition to my São Paulo protests post, I translated this article from Estadão’s archives.

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“At the end of November 1958, residents of São Paulo went to sleep with one bus fare and woke up with another. At the end of that day the city went to sleep with four protesters dead, dozens wounded and 150 vehicles destroyed. The bus riders only found out about the readjustment when they found, on the morning of the 30th, announcements on the windshields of the buses and trolleys with the new fare on it. With the increase in the still of the night, the bus fares went from Cr$ 3.50 to Cr$ 5.00, and the trolleys went from Cr$ 2.50 to Cr$ 3.00 (the monetary note of the time was the cruzeiro, with the symbol Cr$). Aware of the possible reactions, the mayor Adhemar de Barros sent armed police to many of the city’s bus stops. On the days of the protests, Barros was in Rio de Janeiro.

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The first reaction by the population was to complain. But at 10:30am news started to arrive about the first bus and trolley paralyzations by students which went throughout the day. The students of the Liceu Pasteur school stopped a trolley on its last stop in Vila and the other was stopped by students of Mackenzie University on Rua Maria Antonia. During the whole of the morning and afternoon the protests were peaceful. To prove it, Mackenzie students set up a chess table in front of a stopped trolley car.

But the paralyzations took a turn during the evening, when there was more need of public transport. The students had already blocked the buses from making their rounds on Avenida São João. At the same time the shop owners were closing their doors, someone shattered the windows of the Olido movie theater. In several parts of the city the protesters emptied the buses, in others, like at the 14 Bis plaza, the fare inspectors of the now-extinct Metropolitana de Transportes Coletivos Company (CMTC) instructed the bus drivers to go back to their garages.

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With the bus stops more and more overcrowded with people, the Civil Guards were sent to disperse the protesters and to free up the circulation of the vehicles at the Praça da Sé and the Praça Clóvis, the two busiest terminals at the time. The soldiers carried with them, aside from real ammunition, blanks and smoke bombs. When the troops from the Guard Battalion and the Cavalry arrived, around 6pm, they were greeted with sticks and stones by the protesters and they couldn’t stop the buses from being destroyed and put on fire. At 9pm, without being able to disperse the crowd, the troops received orders to shoot rounds into the air. The result was 4 dead, three by bullets, and dozens wounded and arrested.

To clear out downtown, the Mayor’s Office had trucks from the Mogiana Company, from the Department of Water and Sewage and the Department of Highways, to transport people free of cost.

Authorities. Only at 9pm, when the movement had dominated the city, did the authorities meet at the Campos Elísios Palace. At the meeting was the governor Carvalho Pinto, chief of staff Quintanilha Ribeiro, and the Secretary of Justice, Pedroso Horta. On the way out of the meeting, on a televised interview, Horta justified the increase with a reminder that one of Adhemar de Barros’ campaign promises was to get  the CMTC finances back on track. And one of these measures would be by increasing the bus fares.

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On the following day, the paralyzations and the police repression continued. This time it was in front of the Prates Palace, the then-seat of the House of Representatives in the D. Pedro II Park. The protesters went there to demand the lowering of the fares. The councilman Monteiro de Carvalho got up on the hood of a car and explained that the issue of fares was the City Hall’s responsibility. The crowd was dispersed around 7pm with the “blows of police batons on their heads”, according to what the Estado newspaper.

Scrapped. The CMTC with 12,000 employees in financial crisis was scrapped, the fleet wasn’t renewed and they weren’t even able to import parts and accessories for the broken buses. In 1957, with a fleet of 1,333 diesel buses, only 821 actually worked. The company also had 110 electric buses and 210 trolleys that hadn’t been taken off their routes due to the incapability to substitute the fleet.” – Source (PT)

For more on the protests in English, go here.

Police violence at São Paulo protests


The following is an article from Folha which I translated (and added photos, videos and links to).

On Thursday (13th), the police detained at least 235 people on the fourth day of protests against the increase of public transport fares in downtown São Paulo. Of these “suspects”, 198 were taken to the Jardins PD and another 37 to the Liberdade PD. According to the police, in total, 231 were processed and released by the next morning. The four remaining continue imprisoned, without bail, for “forming a gang”. However, the mayor Fernando Haddad said Thursday’s manifestations against bus, metro and train fares were marked by police violence where 7 Folha journalists were also injured (PT).

“Tuesday was marked by protestor violence. Today, unfortunately, there’s no doubt that it was the police that were violent.” He said that on Friday (14th) he’ll be evaluating the measures he’ll take to try to contain the escalation of violence at the protests.


This is the fourth protest against bus fares in the last week. People started to join together around 4pm, when there was already a strong police presence, which included the closing of the Chá overpass and the frisking of by-passers, near the São Paulo Mayor’s Office. Even before the start of the demonstration, there were already 30 people detained. Among them was the Carta Capital reporter, Piero Locatelli.

The confrontation started when the MPs tried to stop close to 5,000 protesters from continuing the demonstration via Consolação Street, in the direction of Paulista Avenue. With it came tear gas and rubber bullets being dispersed against the crowd which threw rocks and other objects in return.

Some of the tear gas bombs launched by the police ended up in a gas station near Caio Prado Street, while the smoke from the bombs formed a cloud that made the parked cars along the street disappear.

(a couple beaten just for having beer at a bar)


On Wednesday (12th), the São Paulo Prosecutors’ Office met up with the MPL (Free Pass Movement) protestors — organizers of the protests — and promised to set a meeting with the governor and the mayor to negotiate a 45-day suspension of the new hike to R$3.20. Before the increase, the bus, metro and train fare was R$3.

Today, the governor Geraldo Alckmin rejected the possibility of suspending the increase. The Mayor’s Office still hasn’t said if it will accept the proposal either.

“As far as reducing the fare, there’s no way”, said the governor, who was in Santos with the Public Safety Secretary, Fernando Grella, to inaugrate a police station and to announce investments in public safety in the region. “The readjustment was less than the inflation, on the trains, metro and the buses”, said Alckmin.

The Mayor also said he won’t reduce the bus fare. He reaffirmed that the increase of 20 cents was less than the inflation and that he has met his campaign promises.” – Folha (PT)


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CopaFifa = 33 Billion
Olympics = 26 Billion
Corruption = 50 Billion
Min. Wage = 678 Reais
And you still think it’s because of 20 cents???



Two short interviews (PT) with two of the movement’s organizers. In the second, Caio Martins says, “when a demonstration is repressed, an organized act becomes disorganized.”

And what they’re showing on the news (PT),

Here’s what’s happening in Rio (PT) in regards to the increase there.

(Meanwhile, in the US, a 20 cent increase wouldn’t make us protest, but we’re totally fine with losing all our privacy)

São Paulo had its most violent Virada Cultural


Looting, stealing, fights, drug use, the closing of metro stations and more serious incidences: two deaths (one by gun and the other by overdose), five shot and at least two stabbed. Over the weekend, São Paulo recorded the most violent Virada Cultura since its first edition, in 2005. The crimes were concentrated between 2am and 5am yesterday (Saturday) and caused scenes of terror, like that of a young man being stabbed in the Viaduto do Chá area. In all, 28 adults were arrested, 9 adolescents were apprehended and 1,800 people had to be attended due to an excess of alcohol.

The city government and the Military Police confirmed the record violence at the Virada this year and attributed the problems to the “increase in the quantity of people willing to steal.” “People’s behavior changed. People who used to not come are coming (to the Virada) with other intentions”, said the mayor Fernando Haddad, upon commenting on the results of the first Virada of his term. “But we can’t let ourselves be intimidated. We have to go to the street.” At his side, Coronel Reinaldo Simões Rossi, the Military Police chief, said the police presence was larger than ever — 3,424 officers (350 more than last year) and 1,400 civil guard officers. “The MP have expertise in policing crowds. The behavior of the theives, however, transcends any planning”, he said.

During the day, there were complaints that the MPs weren’t reacting firmly towards the crimes. “In front of a crowd of 4 million, the uproar caused by police chasing after theives might be worse than the theft alone”, the Coronel reasoned. There were scenes of scuttling and confusion provoked by fights and looting in the early hours of the morning. Some areas were badly illuminated, like the Ramos Plaza, in front of the Teatro Municipal, and the Viaduto do Chá. Journalists from the Estado newspaper witnessed looting on the corner of Direita and Quintino Bocaiuva streets, close to the Sé Plaza. Merchants ended up closing their doors. Elsewhere, on Duque de Caxias Avenue, near the Sé Plaza, two girls fought 330 yards from a police vehicle. A little further, a young man was being beat up by four others. The police officers did nothing against the assaults.

Suplicy. On Saturday, just after the Daniela Mercury and Zimbo Trio concert, one of the victims of the violence was Senator Eduardo Suplicy. As soon as he realized his wallet had been taken, Suplicy went to the stage, beside Daniela Mercury, and made a plea that his belongings be returned. “They took his wallet with all his documentation. When he told me, I said that he should personally come to request that they be returned”, said the singer, who went on to say: “The person should return everything. If there’s money, all of it. Find a way to return it to a (police) posting.” After a few minutes, the Senator’s wallet with its documents were returned, but his cell phone didn’t show up. – Source

Carriage vs Car – São Paulo

Last year, artist Eduardo Srur set up a stunt for a horse-drawn carriage to race a professional driver on the freeway in São Paulo rush-hour traffic. The result was a tie due to technicalities.

The idea came when he read that the average car speed in São Paulo traffic was 20km/hr, which also happened to be the speed of a carriage used by the elite in the 1800s, when infrastructure was basically zero. His conclusion? “the carriage is a more adequate symbol to represent mobility on the streets of São Paulo.”

His blog, found via Continente.

São Paulo to launch “bolsa crack”

Cracolândia / Especial / JT

To aid families suffering financially with a member who uses illegal drugs, the São Paulo state government will launch a program to help fund the treatment of addicts. The amount of R$ 1,350 per month per patient will be paid to accredited clinics specialized in the recovery of drug users.

The project will be launched on Thursday by the governor Geraldo Alckmin. From the start, about 3000 addicts should benefit. The idea is to give a card to the families of addicts who accept treatment voluntarily. By presenting the card in  financed clinics, the user will receive the treatment, and the money will be transferred from the government of São Paulo directly to the clinic.

A notice to the accredited clinics should be released in the coming days by the government. Clinics in 11 cities will participate: Diadema, Sorocaba, Campinas, Bauru, São José do Rio Preto, Ribeirão Preto, Presidente Prudente, São José dos Campos, Osasco, Santos and Mogi das Cruzes.

On a visit to Franca (SP) on Tuesday, Alckmin told the G1 website that he does not fear criticism about the program.

“We have full support. Families suffer when a member is an addict. We provide this service free of charge via the Unified Health System (SUS, in Portuguese). This card is for the family. It’s not a card to hospitalize the sick, but rather a social card,” the governor explained. – Source (PT)


Read about SP’s Cracolândia via the Guardian or check out (and listen to a story of) Rio’s crackland on NPR

São Paulo exports weekly biking events

“The Ciclofaixas de Lazer (Leisure Cycle lanes), which are famous for turning the avenues of São Paulo into bicycle lanes on Sundays and national holidays such as Good Friday, are spreading throughout the country. Capitals and inland cities are adopting the model as an option for leisure and physical activity. Other cities are planning to soon begin copying what has been happening sucessfully in Sao Paulo since 2009.

This is the case of Brasilia and Rio. In the federal capital, a journey of around 7 km through the Eixo Monumental has already been tested experimentally in December and in March of this year and is scheduled to open soon. The idea is that one of the car lanes will be reserved for bicycles on Sundays from 8am to 4pm, with cones separating the cars from the bike lane. In Rio, the inauguration of the 17 km route linking Quinta da Boa Vista to Aterro do Flamengo, two of the largest city parks, was scheduled for March, but was postponed due to operational issues. Curitiba also had the bike lanes, but was shut down due to the lack of users. It should be reopened soon, using another route, near parks that are most frequented by the population.

Other cities have already “imported” the model, which is in full operation. In Caxias do Sul (RS), a route of about 4.5 km is open every Sunday from 2pm to 8pm, except in case of rain. “The bike lane helps put cycling culture in Caxias do Sul,” says cyclist Ana Zaniol, 50, referring to both the adoption of the habit by the population and the education of cyclists, motorists and pedestrians in terms of living side by side with the bicyclists. “Afterwards comes the separate bike path,” she predicts. The event, which already attracts about 400 people each Sunday, will be extended for another three kilometers.

Recife inaugurated their bike lane just this Sunday. At about 20 km long, the entire route encompasses several other routes that connect the southern and northern parts of the city, passing the historic part of the capital of Pernambuco. “After the consolidation of these two routes, we will expand the lanes into other arteries, all towards Marco Zero,” said the secretary of tourism in Recife, Felipe Carreras. He hopes that, because of the incentive to coexist with bicycles and cars on the same streets, the rate of car accidents involving cyclists in the city will fall by half in the near future.” – Estadão

Exposé on the culture of fear

Revista Trip has a good article out (O Medo Mora Dentro) about the culture of fear and how it reflects on Brazilian society.

“A obsessão por segurança, um fenômeno global, encontra sua expressão mais eloquente nas cidades brasileiras, que abrigam gente cada vez mais isolada – e insegura. Na contramão, há quem ache que a solução está nos movimentos que tentam reocupar a cidade.”

“The obsession for security, a global phenomenon, finds its most eloquent expression in Brazilian cities, which shelter people who are more and more isolated – and insecure. On the other hand, there are those who think the solution is in the movements that try to reoccupy the city.”

The Sarau – Brazil’s Open Mic Night

(Source, Fábio Braga)

When I lived in San Diego almost a decade ago, in my college years, I frequented open-mic nights throughout the city and they remain some of the best memories I have of that time. There’s something really cool about a bunch of strangers getting together to share their artistic creations and ideas. It should be no surprise to anyone that knows me that I have lots of admiration for those who create.

It could be argued that the moment in which something is created, it is valuable, but some might say it is when a creation is shared that it gains value. In early modern Europe, this way of thinking corresponded to people’s notion of public vs. private (kind of like shared vs. not) where private actually meant deprivation, being deprived of public life (generally, ‘public’ meant of ‘importance to the court’). Being a writer and a bit of a poet, I think art, like knowledge, should always be shared.

It is with good reason, then, that what has intrigued me for the last few weeks is the idea behind the sarau, a sort of open-mic night in Brazil which may or not be themed. Think of a topic, gather some participants and audience members, pick a place to meet and Bob’s your uncle! Your sarau can be cultural, poetic, musical, philosophical, historical, theatrical or even political. It’s an excellent idea and I really think it has the ability to take the open-mic night idea and expand upon it by creating a sense of community.

(Fábio Braga)

Sarau do Binho

In São Paulo, the oldest sarau has been operating for eight years and is called Sarau do Binho. It operates from theperiferia (the outskirts) and speaks to the issues such communities face, especially in São Paulo, when they find themselves forgotten and ignored. Binho, the event’s organizer and a poet himself, says, “The Sarau is a laboratory. Here people bring their creations and learn to have a taste for reading and writing. Out of the popular laboratory, more than just words, come a strengthened civic consciousness.”

Almost as a test of their mission and purpose, the bar where they have always come together was recently closed by the local government, likely as a measure to silence the strong community movement that the sarau promotes. As a result, they’re taking the message to the streets of more well-known neighborhoods in the center of the city in order to raise the money to pay the R$20,000 in fines to reopen the bar and continue another project based on lending books to kids.

For more on Sarau do Binho, go here (in PT). To learn more about saraus that operate from the peripheries, see this video (in PT).