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Two Years After Olympics, Brazilian Military Takes over Crime-Ridden Rio de Janeiro


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Nearly two years after Rio de Janeiro police welcomed Olympics spectators at their airport with a banner reading “Welcome to Hell,” Brazilian President Michel Temer sent the nation’s military to take over the city on Friday, cracking down on a crime wave exacerbated by Carnival festivities and a woefully underfunded law enforcement corps.

Temer announced the intervention on Friday morning, deploying troops to the city and asserting that the Armed Forces, not the police, are now responsible for combatting crime in Rio de Janeiro. “Organized crime almost took over the state of Rio de Janeiro,” Temer said in remarks confirming the move. “It is a cancer that spreads throughout the country and threatens the peace of our people.”

“I take this extreme measure because the circumstances require it,” he concluded. “The government will give tough, firm responses and take all necessary steps to deal with organized crime and gangs.”

In addition to police work, the military will also be managing local fire departments and any intelligence activities and can arrest citizens if necessary. The man in charge of the operation, multiple outlets report, will be General Water Braga Netto, head of Brazil’s East Military Command. Before assuming that job, Braga served as a special adviser to the Rio Olympics on security.

“In practice, the officer will replace the governor of Rio, Luiz Fernando Pezão (MDB), in the area of security,” Veja notes.


Sending in the troops.

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