Brazil, Latin America: Week in Review, Southern Cone

Carnival Celebrations Suffer Setbacks in Several Brazilian Cities

February 16, 2015 By Staff

Top Story — A Brazilian man died and at least nine others were injured when two men — rival drug dealers of the deceased, according to Brazilian reportsopened fire during Carnival celebrations early Sunday in the Brazilian city of Paraty. The shooting led to the suspension of festivities planned for Sunday evening and an increased police presence on the streets for the remainder of Carnival week.

Emerson de Jesus, 23, was shot several times and died at the hospital. Jesus had previously been booked for firearm possession, police told local media, but was not carrying a weapon at the time of the attack. The police identified the two assailants as members of a rival drug gang. One of the assailants was wounded during the shootout that followed the initial attack, and is in critical condition.

The mayor’s office categorized the decision to suspend the festivities planned for Sunday evening “an act against violence and to promote peace.”

The organizers of Brazil’s various Carnival festivities suffered major setbacks during the lead up to the events. In Rio de Janeiro, the popular street parties — which are privately funded and occur separately from the main samba school competition — have been scaled down due to an unusual lack of interested sponsors. The southeastern states of São Paulo and Minas Gerais, meanwhile, are struggling with the worst drought in 80 years, leading 10 towns in the region to cancel their public Carnival plans.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

  • A bus that missed a stoplight Friday was split in half by an oncoming freight train in northern Mexico, in a crash that left at least 16 dead and 30 injured.
  • A committee of experts working for the United Nations has asked Mexico to investigate “disappearances” that have left thousands of people unaccounted for, and prosecute the potential complicity of state authorities.


  • The United States relaxed restrictions on imports from Cuba on Friday, though some products, like Cuba’s famous cigars, will remain restricted.
  • The U.S. House of Representatives will hear a bill aiming to restructure Puerto Rico’s enormous debt, as has previously happened under U.S. bankruptcy law in cities like Detroit.

Central America

  • Unlike many other regions of the world, FM radio continues to be popular and successful in Costa Rica, where over 70 legal stations and a large number of pirate stations operate.


  • Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Friday announced he will propose a joint “eco-corridor” with Venezuela and Brazil aimed at protecting a huge swath of the Amazon that is threatened by deforestation, a major contributor to climate change.
  • At least 14 police officers were injured when clashes broke out Friday in the Venezuelan city of Táchira after residents of the city, a major center of unrest last year, called for rallies to mark the one-year anniversary of those protests.

Southern Cone

  • Argentine President Cristina Fernández on Sunday made her first television appearance since the death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman, and while she didn’t mention the allegations he made against her, she described herself as “tough,” an apparent reference to the attendant public relations woes she has suffered.
  • The son of Chilean President Michelle Bachelet has resigned from his job at a government charity following accusations he used his status to secure a loan for his wife, which caused a national scandal despite the fact that what he did was apparently legal.
  • Uruguay’s Tabaré Vázquez, who takes office as president on March 1, announced he will organize a commission to investigate crimes by the country’s military dictatorship that ruled from 1973 to 1985, a process he said will go further than earlier truth and reconciliation efforts.

Image: Nicolas de Camaret, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Subscribe to Today in Latin America by Email

1 Comment

[…] Carnival float on which they were standing hit a power line. The incident in Brazil followed the shooting death on Sunday of a reveler during Sunday celebrations in the town of Paraty, and the cancellation of […]

Comments are closed.