It's an off-year election season in Brazil, too, where my man Cabide DJ actually ran for vereador (selectman or alderman) of his town, São Gonçalo, just over the Guanabara Bay from Rio proper. Unfortunately, he didn't make it past the primary, but I don't think we need to worry about him quitting his day (night?) job: being O No. 1 Sampler do Brasil. See him live at the Milky Way in just a couple hours.
That said, a friend recently sent me an interesting campaign tool released by Fernando Gabeira, PV (Green Party) candidate for mayor of Rio. He's most famous for having helped kidnap the American ambassador in 1968 to protest the military dictatorship, which resulted in his exile (the event was later made into an Oscar-winning movie, "Four Days in September"). Gabeira has since given up armed revolution for politics, however, although his cultural revolution continued on Rio's beaches. After a distinguished career as a deputy, hopefully his strident leftist voice will now put him in charge of the city.
Like any mayoral candidate, he wants to address the overwhelming issue of the criminal factions that run the drug trade. How anyone is going to stem that tide is beyond me, but if calling a spade a spade is a start, then he's on his way:
Exibir mapa ampliado
This is a map of all the favelas in Rio, color coded by the ruling faction (one of the three gangs, or independent vigilantes called milícias. There are symbols for recent flare ups as well. Laying it out like that is a very stark -- and very powerful -- method of recognizing the scope of the problem. I wish him luck on Sunday.
p.s. On a lighter note, there are several Barack Obamas running in Brazilian local elections this weekend.