The Mean Streets of Rio de Janeiro

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same.

Translated from Old Brazilian Newspapers by Roberto Pedreira


Miguel Rodrigues Ribeiro had a vegetable garden at Andarhy on rua Maria Eugenia. A certain Antonio Sobrinho, also known as Jose Francisco, went to Mr. Ribeiro’s garden with the aim of “gathering” some fruits. Mr. Ribeiro showed up and chastised Jose Francisco, who vowed perverse vengeance. Later, when Ribeiro was leaving his home to visit friends, Jose Francisco suddenly attacked him with a razor blade with homicidal intent. Mr. Ribeiro suffered extensive and deep cuts to his face, chest, and left arm. Jose Francisco attempted to flee but was pursued by neighborhood residents who apprehended and presented him to the 16th district police station. The gravely injured Mr. Ribeiro was taken to the hospital da Misericordia (Gazete de Noticias September 20, 1909).

 The Street

In Anhangá, Belem, February 18, Raymundo da Silva, 15, killed his 13 year old  brother with a shotgun blast to the chest [tiro do espingarda no coração]. He was arrested, showing symptoms of mental illness [apresenta symptomas de alienação mental].

A poor boy from Santos named Emilio Pinto stowed aboard a ship headed to Lisbon . There he was discovered and sent back to Brazil on the German steamship “ Bahia ”. (O Imparcial February 20, 1913).

 The Street

On Friday May 2, on on rua Praia Pequena, near the corner of the estrada Bomsuccesso, 13 year Armando was playing with some friends. They said something to make Miguel Turco’s daughter cry. Miguel was an “arabe” and had a bad reputation [homem da máos costumes]. Miguel beat Armando to the ground and then “having satisfied his blood lust” [instincto sanguiario] he calmly returned to his home as though nothing had happened.

Witnesses to the savage beating detained him and brought him to the local police station.

The same day, Antonio Pereira de Christo, 14, resident of rua de S. Pedro, n. 55, was playing outside the business establishment of sr. Adelino Simões, at rua do Ouvidor, n. 45, when, oblivious to the danger that awaited, he yielded to the temptation to climb up an iron gate. The enormous gate fell and crushed the unfortunate boy’s head. Witnesses were horrified. The small body was removed to the police morgue where Dr. Morize Barbosa diagnosed the cause of death as a fractured skull [fractura do craneo]. (A Epoca May 3, 1913).

 The Street

Life and death went on in Rio. On January 11, a widowed nurse named Rosa Del Aguila, age 31, of rua Marechal Floriano n. 170, died from a skull fracture. She had been hit by a car several days before while crossing Praça da Republica. On rua Coronel Rangel, a 21 year old man named Guiomar Olympia da Silveira, age 21, of avenida Suburbana n. 3.048, tried to kill himself by jumping in front of a bonde [street car, tram]. The driver was skillful and stopped in time to avoid crushing Guiomar, who received only bruises for his trouble and was transported back home. At 5 a.m. , a ship owner named Luiz Cypriano Medina, age 35, married, a native of Cabo Verde, of rua do Propsito n. 42, decided to end it all. He had serious money problems. Luiz drank poison, cut his throat with a razor, and then jumped into the ocean at Cáes do Pharoux. Two nearby residents, Oscar Jose Alves and Miguel Gomes de Britto, heard the commotion and pulled Luiz out of the water. He was in serious condition and absolutely determined to die. In unrelated news, Olympio Motta Juniro, 51, decided to end it all and jumped under the wheels of a train as it was passing by estrada Monsenhor Felix. He was married, and lived at rua Oliveira Alves , n. 87 in Iraja, and had a job (he worked at Correios e Telegraphos). (Diario de Noticias March 10, 1940).

(c) 2016, Roberto Pedreira. All rights reserved.



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