By Beatriz Miranda, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies approved this Tuesday the legislative decree that authorizes a federal intervention in Rio de Janeiro. Announced by President Michel Temer last Friday, February 16th, the decree puts Brazil’s military forces in charge of the security of Rio’s State.
According to the government representatives, the federal intervention would address Rio’s escalating crime issues, which would have worsened this Carnival with the increase of violent episodes.
The session started on Monday, February 19th, at 8PM, with the speech of the Chamber‘s President Rodrigo Maia, who asked the other parliamentarians for support on the approval of the measure – “We are living a war on crime, and the Constitution is our weapon,” he said. After seven hours of discussions, the decree passed with 340 votes.
Even though the chamber proved to be highly inclined to the decree’s approval, the session was marked by heated debates and resistance from the opposition, which presented three requests to postpone the voting. However, all the requests were denied by the majority of deputies.
Chico Alencar, Rio’s State deputy for PSOL (Partido Socialismo e Liberdade party), argued that the voting should have been postponed due to the lack of information regarding the financial resources for this federal intervention.
“This would be an important moment for doing an unprecedented sheet on the 29 operations of Law and Order Assurance that took place in Brazil since 2010. Does someone have a report that testifies the efficacy of such operations?,” questioned Alencar.
Refuting the opposition’s discourse that compares the federal intervention with the former military dictatorship (1964-1985), Rio’s deputy Otávio Leite, representative of PSDB (Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira party), claimed the measure is an opportunity to update the police’s structure:
“This is the chance to reorganize Rio’s police. It will guarantee the presence of ostensive police forces on the streets,” supports Leite.
During the session, some parliamentarians asked for a similar intervention in other states. The measure was suggested by deputies from Espírito Santo and Pernambuco, where Law and Order Assurance operations, run by Brazil’s Army, recently took place.
This Tuesday, February 20th, the decree will be voted by the Senate in an extraordinary session, at 6PM. In case of approval by simple majority, Brazil’s National Congress will be authorized to publish the decree, which authorizes General Walter Souza Braga Netto, Commander of Brazil’s East Military Forces, to run Rio de Janeiro‘s security institutions.