40 years of Sapucaí

Sketch by Oscar Niemeyer / Rio de Janeiro Sambadrome


Globo was against Leonel Brizola and Darcy Ribeiro when the Sambadrome was built. Today it and the Brazilian carnival have their importance recognized

The Professor Darcy Ribeiro Passarela, better known as the Sambódromo do Rio de Janeiro, or even Sapucaí, for the region where it was established, that is, Avenida Marquês de Sapucaí, turns 40 years old in 2024. Its origins come from a context in line with with the country's redemocratization process, literally during the period of political and diplomatic negotiations that brought about the return of the presidential government in Brazil. And the initiative came from the government of the State of Rio de Janeiro, in the first administration of Leonel Brizola, between 1983 and March 1987, with the vice-governor Darcy Ribeiro and the architect Oscar Niemeyer as an enthusiastic, idealizing and executing partnership.

It is precisely because of the political element that the largest post-military dictatorship radio broadcaster, and with this, it can also be said that after the annihilation of the state-owned cultural industry, Organizações Globo (currently Grupo Globo), opposed governor Leonel Brizola, and all public policies of that government, which includes the Sambadrome.

The criticisms of Globo they ranged from carnival management to architectural structure, even in the face of successful demonstrations of the project's execution. Starting with the fact that the works only lasted 120 days (three months), with the architectural whimsy of none other than Oscar Niemeyer, with the Arco da Praça da Apoteose as its greatest symbol. And, finally, by confirming the repressed demand of the people and culture of Rio for the valorization of samba, which involved a large community, even for the parade of the junior sectors of the samba schools, and which administratively demonstrated that more was needed than a day of spectacle, contrary to what the Globe It only “required” one day.

The set of advertising and articles coming from Grupo Globo's communication channels in relation to the 40th anniversary of the Sambódromo is noteworthy, which, apart from the round age and the carnival festivities, do not mention in detail the historical factors that generated the Avenida dos Parades, and , therefore, are very far from making an inflection, which would be plausible to signal through self-criticism via the newspaper's editorial The Globe, for example. It is worth noting that the practice of criticism by Organizações Globo in the 1980s was open, and it can be said without equivocation, that it occurred in a banal way.

Furthermore, another “40 years” will come when it comes to the aforementioned management, taking as a reference the official announcement of the largest public, popular and comprehensive education program by a state government: the First Special Education Program of the Integrated Public Education Centers (I PEE-CIEP). Which took place on September 1, 1984, by Governor Leonel Brizola at the Guanabara Palace, in a press conference, with the presence of authorities, including the Minister of Planning of Angola, Lopo do Nascimento.

The PEE-CIEP, whose creator was vice-governor Darcy Ribeiro, was hit head-on by criticism from Rede Globo throughout its entire journey, and coincidentally began with the relationship with the Sambódromo, as the construction of one of the CIEPs on Avenida Marquês de Sapucaí, close to the Sambadrome. Logo: “The first signs of media sensationalism (of Globo in relation to CIEPs) appear with the announcement of the construction of a CIEP at the Sambadrome. The construction of the Sambódromo seemed to be reflected like a tuning fork, such was the significance that an innovation in the carnival structure had for the public management of Rio de Janeiro, and, with the proposal to create a CIEP in that area serving a double objective (carnival and teaching), also demonstrated the state government’s renewal objectives in educational terms.” (Lemos, p. 87, 2023)

An important piece of evidence is that Brazilian culture in terms of broadcasting on an industrial scale began to be led by Organizações Globo, with foreign financial investment and structural aid from the Brazilian State, materialized in the 1970s, and since then, any initiative in the sector in national level has to pass through its sieve. On the other hand, there was management in an important state like Rio de Janeiro, especially for culture, and which paid attention to culture, being an element of the scope of the educational project. The CIEPs came with auditoriums, for example, and with a routine pedagogical plan and a close relationship with art, culture and science. In addition, of course, to other more general initiatives of the government's commitment to art and culture in the state.

In terms of infrastructure, Rio de Janeiro was undertaking a large civil construction project generated and encouraged by the state government, with the expertise at that time of starting the manufacture of so-called pre-cast cement for the construction of buildings, designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer. . Once again, here, the Sambódromo is related to the CIEPs, as in order to build the CIEPs it was necessary to create the so-called “School Factory”, responsible for creating the pre-molded schools, an initiative that strengthened the Sambódromo project.

A factor that, in addition to the objective of structuring culture and education, also ensured that Rio de Janeiro had the lowest unemployment rate in the country, in a period of national economic recession. As shown in the Government advertisement, entitled “When you finish reading this advertisement, unemployment in Rio will be even lower”, dated September 19, 1985, in the newspaper itself The Globe (verifiable in archives and/or collection).

However, and the truth must be told, carnival is there, along with the spectacle of Brazilian culture manifested in poetry and drumming of good and loud tone. And the late creators and creators of Avenida dos Desfiles, Passarela Darcy Ribeiro, Sambódromo and Sapucaí, had their passions, had their “shirts” and would not do without the passinho or the samba in the foot, even in the face of adversity. Because, regardless of contexts and projections, as the late Nelson Sargento would say, “samba agonizes, but does not die”, and everyone knows, and the world too, that samba is vitalized by the people, by the working class, generated for the art created by people of African descent in Brazil. New generations will come in the immensity of the carnival community, which is increasingly broad, including “public opinion”. It's good to see the recognition of the importance of the Sambadrome and the Brazilian carnival.

*André Lemos is a sociologist and master in education.


WE READ; A. Grupo Globo and conservative criticism of the I PEE-CIEP: Conflicts in the educational, political and cultural production fields. Dissertation (Master’s in Education) – PPGEduc/UFRRJ. Rio de Janeiro, 2023.

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