Brazil’s spectacular Carnival is kicking off this weekend, but some cities will be far more subdued than usual.
Rio de Janeiro is still hosting its glorious celebration. But dozens of other cities and towns across the country have been forced to cancel their official Carnival parades. Many just can’t afford it. Others are afraid it would unleash more violent crime.
The Terra news network reports that at least 70 cities have canceled their official Carnival. Many of them cited a lack of government money to pay for security for the celebrations, which tend to include raucous, alcohol-fueled street parties.
That’s a slice of the more than 5,500 municipalities in the whole country. But Terra says, besides the 70 cancellations, dozens of other smaller Carnival parties could also be scaled down because of financial strains.
Two years of brutal recession have left state and city coffers empty, from Curitiba, in Brazil’s south, to Fortaleza in the far north.
In Rio de Janeiro, the flagship Carnival city, things are no better.
Rio city faces an estimated budget shortfall of nearly $1 billion this year and the state of the same name is projecting a deficit of $6 billion.
In response, Rio’s governor is working to pass a slew of unpopular austerity measures. This has led to violent clashes between police and protesters in downtown Rio in recent weeks.
Earlier this month, Brazil deployed 9,000 federal troops to patrol the streets of Rio during the run-up to Carnival. The move came after…