By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – President of Brazil, Michel Temer authorized on Tuesday (August 28th) the deployment of troops to the state of Roraima to reinforce security. The measure comes ten days after the confrontation between Brazilians and Venezuelans in Brazilian border city, Pacaraima.
“I have taken the decision to complement the humanitarian actions that the federal government has been promoting for several months,” said President Michel Temer in a statement to the press corp after signing the decree. The troops will remain in the state until September 12th, overseeing security, especially at the border.
The President also said that the federal government will ask the international community for a strong diplomatic solution due to the serious crisis faced by the neighboring country. For Temer, the Venezuelan crisis has surpassed the context of domestic politics, and now affects all South American countries, ‘threatening the harmony of the entire continent’.
Brazil’s Institutional Security Secretary, General Sergio Etchegoyen, dismissed the possibility of federal intervention in the state. “No intervention has been considered,” he told reporters on Tuesday night.
Etchegoyen stressed that the military will not overstep state powers. “State highways are not our responsibility, but federal highways are,” he said.
Public Security Minister, Raul Jungmann, also ruled out the need for federal intervention. “There is no need because, with decree, the Armed Forces assume the coordination of security. State security now goes into the hands of the Armed Forces. It is not an intervention it is similar to what occurred in Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Norte and in my state, Pernambuco,” he stated.
The arrival of thousands of Venezuelans immigrants to the state of Roraima in recent months has pressured public services and generated tension between the local population and Venezuelans fleeing the crisis in the neighboring country.
The most recent conflict occurred on August 18 in Pacaraima. After a local merchant was assaulted and beaten, allegedly by Venezuelans, Brazilians attacked groups of foreigners, burning part of a makeshift refugee camp.