By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – After months of escalating violence residents of Rio de Janeiro woke up Friday morning to the news that Brazil’s President, Michel Temer, decided to declare federal intervention in Rio’s public security. The measures calls for the Armed Forces to oversee both civil and military police in the state, as well as firefighters and intelligence agencies.
According to media reports, after almost four hours of discussions late Thursday night, President Temer gave in to the pleas of Rio de Janeiro’s governor, Luiz Fernando Pezão, and gave the order for the country’s Armed Forces to take over Rio’s security apparatus.
“No more, Rio is in a state of calamity, we have no way out and we cannot delay (intervention) another day,” Pezão was quoted by O Globo as saying during the meeting. His pleas come after scenes of violence towards tourists and residents during this week’s Carnival festivities made their way around the globe.
In addition to Pezão, Defense Minister, Raul Jungmann, Planning Minister Dyogo Oliveira and both Senate and House leaders attended the meeting.
One dissenting voice during Thursday’s meeting in Brasilia was that of House of Deputies President, Rodrigo Maia. Eventually, however, Maia, who is from Rio de Janeiro was convinced to go along with the measure. “It is a very strong decision; hard, extreme,” he declared.
The intervention decree is expected to be signed by the President on Friday. According to Brazilian law the decision of federal intervention in a state has to be approved by Congress.
Brazil’s Constitution allows for federal intervention when there is a need to maintain ‘national integrity’, combat foreign invasion, enforce federal laws and judicial decisions, reorganize the finances of states in a situation of serious default, and when there is a breach of public order.
President Temer chose General Walter Souza Braga Neto, of Brazil’s Military Command of the East, to oversee the intervention and coordinate operations with local and state law enforcements. General Braga Neto was one of the officials responsible for security of the Rio 2016 Olympics.