By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – After a massive show of force last week, residents of Rio will not see the same level of Armed Forces on the streets of Rio de Janeiro, at least for the moment. The nearly 10,000 federal troops sent to Rio is an operation ‘focusing on three pillars: integration, intelligence and surprise’.
According to the spokesman of the Eastern Military Command, Colonel Roberto Itamar, the absence is a signal of a new operation to “strike organized crime in its structure.”
Colonel Itamar says it is expected that there will be strategic and timely actions of the military, instead of ostensive patrolling, as occurred during the World Cup and the Olympic Games.
“This Law and Order Guarantee (GLO) operation, in the context of the National Plan for Public Security, obeys the ministerial directive that provides for several specific and localized actions during this year and next year,” Itamar explained.
“The mission given is not ostensible patrolling. It’s actions that will be carried out from here until the end of next year.” A sentiment echoing what Defense Minister Raul Jungmann announced on his visit to Rio on July 27th.
According to Colonel Itamar, the first phase of the operations was recognition, held over the weekend, and lasted for five days. After this initial show of force, according to him, the troops are in the barracks preparing for the second phase.
The colonel stressed that the National Public Security Plan aims to solve the problem of crime in the country and in Rio de Janeiro, which is not only achieved with ostensive patrolling.
“The goal now is to strike crime in its structure, its supply chain, its organization, its armaments. This is the goal now. It is not just transmitting security to the population,” Itamar said.
Adding, “[It is] clear population feels more protected with the presence of troops in the streets, but this does not solve the problem.”
Swedish expatriate living in Rio and operator of destination management service Rio Love Story, Tavi Norén, shares “When the troops arrived it felt completely necessary because crimes were happening left and right.”
Yet added, “At the same time it is clear that such drastic measures is not the long term solution and still awaiting a long term plan.”