Venezuela's Float Wins First Place in Rio
I just love it. I love Brazillians, I love carnival, I love half-naked women singing about Latin-American unity with pineapples, Azteks and a huge Bolivar ;) Cheap propaganda they will call it, or compain about the $1/2million it cost, but it was awesome - the people loved it, the judges voted it #1 and they all knew what they were doing. They knew that even though the spectacle was tame, it was heartfelt and expressed the rising Latin political feeling.
A samba club backed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez took first place in Rio de Janeiro's Carnival on Wednesday with a performance that promoted Latin American unity but steered clear of his outspoken opposition to U.S. influence.
The 4,000-strong (Brazillian) Vila Isabel parade troupe, which received about half a million dollars in sponsorship fees from the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, won the champion's title for its hour-long extravaganza in Rio's annual festival. The club's performance included a song about a "united and strong" Latin American people (and celebrated race mixing) and a float featuring a giant statue of Chavez's idol, Simon Bolivar, revered as the continent's liberator.
In an apparent nod to peace and harmony, the 43-foot (13-meter) statue of Bolivar held a heart in his hand instead of his traditional sword....