By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – After ten months of federal military intervention in Rio de Janeiro’s public security agencies, officials of the Armed Forces state that the goals of mission – lowering crime rates and recovering the state’s security agencies – were reached.
“We are convinced that we are treading a difficult and uncertain path, but we have fulfilled the mission,” said Army General Walter Braga Netto during a symbolic conclusion of the intervention plan on Thursday.
The intervention, implemented in February of 2018, officially ends next Monday, December 31st after 319 days.
According to officials the impact of the federal intervention on the state of Rio de Janeiro was positive. During the more than ten months, cargo transportation theft fell by 19.6 percent, auto theft declined by 7.7 percent, and street robberies and homicides by 5.9 percent each.
Deaths due to police actions, on the other hand, increased by 38 percent during that same period.
During his farewell speech, General Braga Netto defended the importance of the continued integration of forces. “The challenges of public security will only be overcome if faced in an integrated way, where each organization offers its best capabilities to achieve the common good,” he said.
The army general confessed that when the Forces went in there was no plan and that he felt like his team was on a plane they had to jumpstart in mid-air.
“Unlike many people imagine, we did not have a plan ready. Surprise was on our side and we knew that the request (by President Temer) was urgent. We felt pride when we literally realized that the men and women who joined the initial team not only learned to pilot this plane but were building it in mid-flight,” he added.
During the ceremony, Justice Minister Torquato Jardim presented a recorded audio message from President Michel Temer praising the ‘brilliant work’ carried out by the intervention team.
“It is not without reason that the population of Rio de Janeiro approved the intervention,” concluded Temer.