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Rio Samba Schools Use Carnaval to Criticize Government

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A little over a year into Jair Bolsonaro’s administration, Brazil has become deeply polarized. Right-wing Bolsonaro and his team have attacked media, dismantled social programs and amplified conflicts between classes, races, and religions; and many samba schools and street block groups are choosing social and political issues as their theme for this year’s Carnaval.

“We are living in a very polarized society, with a complicated economic situation and samba is a popular tune. This tension that society experiences will be reflected in some way,” samba composer Luiz Carlos Máximo, who writes lyrics . . .

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