Temer seeks to regain control of Rio de Janeiro through the army

The extraordinary presidential decree is given after the governor asked federal aid after Rio Carnival

Temer seeks to regain control of Rio de Janeiro through the army


Brazilian president Michel Temer took an unprecedented decision on Friday February 16th, which was to give the country's army  all the responsibilities of public security in Rio de Janeiro. The city has been plagued by rising rates of violent crime since it hosted the Olympic Games nearly two years ago.

After nearly a decade of declining crime rates, Rio has seen a dramatic increase in violence and killings in the last two years. In 2016, the state of Rio was home to more than 5,000 homicides, of which about 1,000 were committed by the police. The state is experiencing a deep fiscal crisis. Rio governor, Luiz Fernando Pezao, said that a stronger economy would be crucial to combat crime in Rio. "Just win the war security jobs in the formal sector", he said last Tuesday at a press conference to discuss the security measure with journalists.

During the night of Tuesday, February 20, the armed forces and police dispersed in Rio in the first major operation since the army entered combat crime in the city in June 2017. They took up positions on the main roads that connect Rio to the rest of the country in an effort to prevent the entry and exit of drugs, illegal weapons, and stolen property, said Colonel Roberto Itamar, a military spokesman. About 3,000 members of the armed forces were involved.

The decision to Temer deliver the full control of security in Rio until the end of the year to the military, marking the first time a Brazilian president mobilized the armed forces to take over public safety efforts of a city or state since the end the country's military dictatorship in 1985.

A move during election time

Brazil's lower house approved the decree to put the military in charge of security forces in Rio de Janeiro. By military police in Rio on Friday 16 February were made, but the presidential decree still needs approval of Congress all. The Chamber of Deputies sent the measure to the Senate, for evaluation and approval. The Senate's approval is expected before Thursday, Feburary 22nd.

Julita Lemgruber, a sociologist who specializes in security issues in Candido Mendes University, said that the military intervention "could serve as the political project of Temer". When offering to help Rio, Temer has given a welcome break in news coverage of an almost constant stream of corruption scandals and his failure to push through controversial cuts to the pension system. "Although it is the most unpopular president on record that has been growing rumors that Temer might consider running for re - election in October", says Lembruguer.

"The intervention in Rio de Janeiro seems to be part of a larger set of security by Temer before the general elections scheduled for October. The day after signing the controversial decree concerning Rio, the president announced the creation of a new Ministry of Public Security, which will assume control of the federal police", says the sociologist, who confirms that Temer is seeking approval before the election.


Latin American Post | Carlos Eduardo Gómez Avella

Translated from "Temer busca recuperar el control de Río de Janeiro con el ejército"

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