Rio runs out of carnival for the first time in its history despite the vaccine

Rio de Janeiro, Jan 21 (EFE) .- Rio de Janeiro will be left without its famous Carnival in 2021 for the first time in history because the covid-19 pandemic delayed the organization of the event and the municipality admitted this Thursday that it doesn't have enough time to get it up and running in July, as planned.

The samba schools, the main protagonists of the festival, had decided to postpone this year's Carnival from February to July, although they had conditioned it to the existence of a vaccine and progress in the immunization campaign, but the mayor of this Brazilian city today announced its final cancellation.

This is the first time that the event has been canceled since Rio organized its first official Carnival dance in 1840. On two occasions the party was postponed (1892 and 1912) but the authorities never managed to cancel it, not even when the country faced the pandemic. of the Spanish flu (1919) or when the Government proposed it during the two world wars (1914-1918 and 1939-1945).

Despite the fact that Brazil, one of the countries hardest hit by covid-19 in the world, is experiencing a second wave of the pandemic and faces record numbers of cases, the mayor of Rio clarified that it canceled the most important festive event in Brazil and one one of the most famous in the world for logistical and not sanitary reasons.

This is due to the fact that Brazil has already started its vaccination campaign against covid-19 and, with agreements that allow it to produce in the country up to 30 million doses per month of the vaccines of the Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac and the AstraZeneca laboratory, it considers that in July will have already advanced in its immunization campaign.


"I never hid my passion for Carnival and the clear perception I have of the importance of this cultural manifestation for our city, but it seems pointless to me that we imagine that, at this point, we will have the conditions to carry out Carnival in July," said the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, in a message on his Twitter account.

Paes, a former mayor who assumed municipal government for the third time on January 1 and who has never hidden his love for Carnival and the Portela samba school, claimed that, despite the enormous losses that the cancellation entails for the city , an event of such magnitude is hardly organized in six months.

"This celebration requires great preparation on the part of public bodies and the unions and institutions linked to samba. Something impossible to do at this time. In this way I would like to inform that we will not have carnival in the middle of the year in 2021" Paes added.

The mayor affirmed that, in 2022, when "surely the protagonists of the Carnival and the tourists who come to the city to experience the festival will be duly vaccinated" against covid, "we will celebrate life and our culture with all the intensity we deserve." .

The Rio Carnival had only been postponed twice in its history: in 1892, when the authorities claimed that it was healthier to hold it in June (in the southern winter), and in 1912, when the death of the popular Baron of Rio Branco sparked national commotion and a week of national mourning.

But on both occasions the Cariocas danced behind the troupes both in February and June and circumvented the ban.

The chroniclers remember 1919 as one of the liveliest carnivals in Rio, when the Cariocas, after months of shelter, flooded the streets to try to forget the 15,000 deaths that the Spanish flu left in the city in the last months of 1918.


The cancellation of its main tourist event is a serious blow to a city that on December 31 also ran out of its traditional New Year's Eve party, which every last day of the year attracts up to 3 million people to Copacabana beach.

The Carnival in February last year attracted 2.1 million visitors, including 483,000 foreigners, who generated revenues of $ 900 million and confirmed the city as the main tourist destination in Brazil.

The mayor announced that he has already asked the responsible municipal bodies to implement alternative projects to guarantee a livelihood and a minimum income in 2021 to people who make a living from the carnival parties.

This is due to the fact that thousands of Cariocas live from the organization of Carnival, mainly in the sheds where the samba schools make their costumes and luxurious allegorical floats.

Both the Mayor's Office, the samba schools and the blocos (comparsas) had expressed their fear that the typical Carnival crowds would aggravate the situation caused by the pandemic in Brazil, the second country with the most deaths from covid-19 in the world after The United States, with 213,000 deaths, and the third with the most infections after the United States and India, with 8.7 million cases.

The parades of the samba schools of the so-called Rio Carnival Special Group, considered the largest outdoor show in the world, gather 145,000 spectators in two nights at the Sambadrome, not counting the nearly 5,000 members of each of the 14 groups and the thousands of organizers.

The agglomerations promoted by the blocos are even greater. According to the Mayor's Office, the parades carried out by the 453 troupes at the 2020 Carnival attracted 7 million people.


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