Marcelo Crivella

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Marcelo Crivella
Marcelo Crivella Prefeito.jpg
53rd Mayor of Rio de Janeiro
Assumed office
January 1, 2017
Vice MayorFernando Mac Dowell (until 2018)
Preceded byEduardo Paes
Senator for Rio de Janeiro
In office
February 1, 2003 – January 1, 2017
Minister of Fishery and Aquaculture
In office
March 2, 2012 – March 17, 2014
PresidentDilma Rousseff
Preceded byNóbrega de Oliveira
Succeeded byEduardo Lopes
Personal details
Born (1957-10-09) October 9, 1957 (age 61)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Political partyPRB (Since 2005)
PL (2002-2005)
Spouse(s)Sylvia Jane Hodge
OccupationEvangelical bishop

Marcelo Bezerra Crivella (Portuguese pronunciation: [maʁˈsɛlu biˈzeʁɐ kɾiˈvɛlɐ], Rio de Janeiro, October 9, 1957) is a Brazilian evangelical bishop, a gospel singer, engineer, and a politician. Since January 1, 2017, he has been Mayor of Rio de Janeiro for the Brazilian Republican Party.

In 2002, Crivella was elected as a federal Senator of Brazil from the state of Rio de Janeiro on the Liberal Party ticket.[1] He has since helped found the Brazilian Republican Party (PRB) which has been allied with President Luís Inácio Lula da Silva.

With a Civil Engineering degree from Universidade Santa Ursula, Crivella became known for planning and execution of the Projeto Nordeste, a charitable project to redevelop lands abandoned by the Brazilian federal government in the city of Irecê. The project was developed to use Israeli irrigation practices, which Crivella has observed in his several trips to Israel. It has led to the renewal of agriculture and livestock raising there.

He is a bishop of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God which is an international evangelical church founded by his uncle Edir Macedo in 1977.

Early life[edit]

Born in Rio de Janeiro to Catholic parents, Crivella attended the Methodist Church in his youth. His connection with his uncle, Edir Macedo, made them try an unsuccessful commercial partnership, before he was invited in 1977, to work in Macedo's newly founded Universal Church. Soon Crivella became a pastor.

Religious career[edit]

He took his family on a mission to Africa in 1992, where he achieved considerable success in planting new UCKG temples, although he spoke no African languages. he became pastor and bishop, having worked ten years diffusing the Universal Church in the African continent.

Crivella is a lively preacher, who attracts very large crowds; in his first major event, he spoke at the Nilson Gymnasium in xx, which holds 25,000 people. In 1999, he was part of an event at the Macaran sports stadium in Rio de Janeiro, where the overflow crowd was accommodated by getting to follow the action on huge screens.

By 1999, he had signed a contract with Sony Records for three disks, one to be in Spanish. His religious preaching is also conveyed by radio. Crivella has recorded as a singer, often using his own songs. He has been a major figure in gospel music in Brazil. He has released 14 disks, selling more than 5 million copies. His biggest success was his first album, O Mensageiro da Solidariedade (The Messenger of Solidarity). The albums were recorded by Line Records, where Crivella was considered the principal artist, and by Sony Music.

Crivella is the author of the books Histórias de Sabedoria e Humildade, a collection of moral and religious tales, Um Sonho que se Tornou Realidade, which is about the Projeto Nordeste, and “Evangelizando a África,” a book he wrote during his 10 years he spent in Africa as a missionary.[2]

Political career[edit]

Marcelo Crivella entered to the political life, having acquired great name recognition in the Rio de Janeiro area. He was a founder of the Brazilian Republican Party (PRB) and ran successfully for the position of Senator in the 2002 elections. Crivella was elected at the same time as Sergio Cabral Filho, who had a mandate for the period 2003-2011.

In 2006 Crivella ran for governor of Rio de Janeiro state. He ran for mayor of the capital in 2004 and 2008, but was unsuccessful in the three races. In 2004 he came in second in the disputed Rio de Janeiro municipal election, but he did not succeed to go to the second round against César Maia. He complained about negative coverage by the O Globo newspaper, which published several matters accusing him of fraud. It is owned by the second-largest media conglomerate in the country.

In 2006, he was gubernatorial candidate for the state of Rio de Janeiro, and was supported by the President Luís Inácio Lula da Silva. Polls leading up to the election said he was in second place. But, in the last week, he was superseded by Denise Frossard, the candidate of the PPS, and Crivella declined to participate in the runoff election.

In 2008, he ran for mayor of the state capital, but came in 3rd place in the first round and was eliminated.

Crivella reached the second round but was defeated on his running for Governor of Rio de Janeiro in 2014 by Luiz Fernando Pezão.

In 2016, Marcelo Crivella won the election for Rio de Janeiro Mayor beating left-wing candidate Marcelo Freixo by a margin of approximately 20 percentage points. He is the first Pentecostal to govern a big Brazilian city.[3]

Parliamentary conduct[edit]

Senator Crivella speaks in the Federal Senate in May 2015

In the Brazilian Senate, Crivella has established himself as a representative of the Brazilian diaspora, as many citizens are working abroad. He was president of the Subcomissão Permanente de Proteção dos Cidadãos Brasileiros no Exterior (Permanent Subcommittee on Protection of Brazilian Citizens Abroad), subject to the Comissão de Relações Exteriores e Defesa Nacional (Committee on Foreign Relations and National Defense), of which Crivella was vice president. As an example, he has led efforts to gain better treatment of Brazilians picked up in the United States as illegal immigrants. As policy, they are detained while their cases are being reviewed, but that can be a lengthy process.

Personal views[edit]

Crivella identifies as a conservative politician but he has been a great ally of President Lula. His party is part of the base of support to government. Crivella opposes the legalization of abortion. Crivella favors public policies for family planning through sex education and sterilization, and the Law on Biosafety, which regulates research with stem cells.

He opposes civil unions for homosexuals and the codification of homophobia. After protests by activists, he explained that he feared unintended consequences of a proposed law against homophobia, but certainly wants protections and equal rights for homosexuals.

Veja magazine had a cover story about the influence of Charles Darwin, who developed the theory of evolution. In an interview, Crivella said that he is a creationist and rejects this theory. The Senator said "there is no conclusive proofs that [...] one species could generate another species".


He has been criticized for his 1999 book Evangelizing Africa which found him saying that homosexuality was a "terrible evil," that Catholics were demonic, that African religions were based on "evil spirits," and that Hindus drank their children's blood.[4][5] He has since tried to distance himself from the book, saying that it was the work of a young, immature missionary.[4]


  1. ^ Stålsett, S.J. Spirits of Globalization: The Growth of insanity and Experiential Spiritualities in a Global Age. University of Michigan SCM Press, 2006. p. 51.
  2. ^ Sims, Shannon (October 30, 2016). "Rio de Janeiro Elects Conservative, Sometimes Homophobic, Bishop To Mayor As Brazil Swings Right". Forbes. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  3. ^ "Rio de Janeiro: A Pentecostal's progress". The Economist. 4 November 2016. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  4. ^ a b Leahy, Joe (October 24, 2016). "Brazil's evangelicals push politics to the right". Financial Times. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  5. ^ Samuels, Gabriel (November 2, 2016). "Rio de Janeiro elects mayor who said homosexuality is 'evil'". The Independent. Retrieved March 15, 2018.

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