The Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and the presidents of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, and France, Emmanuel Macron, parked on Monday their differences on the environment to 'brake' in the traditional parade of giant dolls of the Olinda Carnival, quite emblematic in the calendar Brazilian.
A challenging Greta, four meters high and made of papier-mâché, fiberglass, icopor, wood, aluminum and textiles, led this year the traditional parade "Apoteose dos Giant Bonecos de Olinda", one of the most massive of the fourth day Carnival in the South American country.
Next to the giant personification of the Swedish teenager was the "Joker" of the American actor Joaquin Phoenix. Both dolls made their debut at the Olinda Carnival relegating to the second row those of Bolsonaro and his justice minister, the former federal Sergio Moro, and those of other celebrities and characters.
Also in the first group of avant-garde other dolls stood out that for the first time paraded in Olinda: those of the French president and his wife, Brigitte Macron; that of the Brazilian vice president, General Hamilton Mourao, and that of the journalist and presenter Ricardo Boechat, who died in a plane crash in 2019.
That first contingent of dolls had an escort of the Militarized Police during the almost seven hours of preparation and realization of the parade, to avoid being attacked by people contrary to the characters and endangering the young porters and the rest of the public.
The recent crossings of opinions between Greta, Bolsonaro and Macron for very different ideological positions on environmental issues and that heated relations between France and Brazil in the middle of last year were left behind and gave free rein to the frevo, the rhythm of Carnival that imposes in the region.
The controversy with the three names arose amid the voracious fires that devastated part of the Amazon last August, Macron coined other voices that rose, such as those of Greta and Pope Francis himself, and said that the internationalization of that area should be discussed to ensure preservation.
Bolsonaro reacted angrily and came to offend the French first lady, always with the slogan that the Amazon is from Brazil and not from the rest of the world.
This time, in a symbolic truce, Greta and the two rulers were seduced by the percussion of the frevo, a rhythm of Pernambuco with influences of polka, Portuguese, indigenous and African dances, always with acrobatic dancers accompanied by colorful umbrellas to make their steps and juggling.
For Alessandro José, chosen this year to carry Greta's wrist, it is a "source of pride" to be able to lift and carry on his shoulders the central character of the parade.
"I work on loading and unloading, I already took Ronaldinho Gaúcho and so many dolls that I don't remember the names anymore," said the 23-year-old, who said that only until Saturday did he know which character was going to him to touch.
"A coordinator tells us which one touches us. One does not choose it, but it is a source of pride to be the head of the parade. I have been with them for a long time, and a few years," said José, who admits that he knows little about the Swedish activist: "I just know that she doesn't like to go on a plane and things she fights for."
The centennial Olinda, in the metropolitan region of Recife (northeast) and which was founded in 1535, is famous for its folkloric traditions and, particularly, for the giant dolls that go down every year from the Cathedral of Sé by the steep slopes to the Praça do Carmo, surrounded by thousands of people and to the rhythm of the frevo.
The tradition of the parade dates from 1919, when it was incorporated into the Carnival by a Belgian priest in the small town of Belem de Sao Francisco, inside the state of Pernambuco, and moved to Olinda in 1931 with the appearance of the doll "Man of Midnight, "a character from local folklore.
In 2007, a local businessman proposed that others from the real world should be added to the Brazilian folk dolls and since 2009 the parade took on the current format, with characters of all kinds and very precise details of the artisans to achieve the greatest similarity with the reality.
This year were also the long-awaited and well-known Freddie Mercury, John Lennon, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Superman, Batman, Hulk, Princess Leia, Yoda, Neymar, Pele, also the footballer Marta and the controversial presidents Donald Trump , from the United States, and Kim Jong-un, from North Korea, among others.
The closure, as is a tradition, was for the doll of Alceu Valença, the Brazilian musician who lives in the center of Olinda and is considered one of the main exponents of frevo.
Waldheim García Montoya