By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Eleven days after the announcement of the military intervention in Rio de Janeiro’s public security operations by Brazilian president Michel Temer, the officer in charge of the military operations in Rio, General Walter Braga Netto gave his first press conference, and stressed that the military does not intend to permanently occupy favela communities in Rio’s Metropolitan region.
“There are no plans for the permanent occupation of communities. The operations will continue to be specific and for a certain period of time,” said General Braga Netto.
According to Braga Netto, the Armed Forces will continue to help state military and civil police in integrated operations by surrounding favela communities while police officers will continue to be responsible for actions within these areas.
During the press conference the commander also announced Rio’s new public security secretary, General Richard Nunes. According to Nunes one of his first challenges will be to who is also an Arm resize the Peacekeeping Police Units. “The UPPs remain, but we have a diagnosis that indicates the need to resize certain actions in this area,” he said, without elaborating on what will be done.
Nunes reiterated the need to resize the Pacifying Police Units (UPPs). “The UPPs will continue, but we have findings that indicate the need to resize certain actions in those areas,” he said.
In August of 2017 the state announced that the Pacifying Police Units (UPPs) would undergo major structural reforms and the force cut by one third. The changes, however, has yet to be implemented.
The first UPP was installed in Morro Dona Marta, in the Botafogo neighborhood in December of 2008. The idea was to set up permanent police units at the entrance of the more troubled favela communities to insure the security of its residents.
Since then 37 other UPP units have been established around major favela communities in the city. While welcomed at first, today the UPP units are receiving a lot of criticism from both the residents of the communities they were supposed to help and NGOs which point to human rights violations and abuses conducted by UPP officers.