Senate-imposed Brazilian President Michel Temer said Tuesday that he will not rule out military interventions in other states after federal troops were authorized to assume control of all police duties in Rio de Janeiro last week.
Shortly after swearing-in Raul Jungmann as the Extraordinary Minister of Public Security, a new government post created to oversee military functions in civilian areas, Temer said he will convene a meeting with all state governors to determine, “case by case,” which ones qualify for future interventions. During the ceremony he said measures taken to reinforce public security will not be restricted to Rio de Janeiro.
As part of his efforts to bolster public security, Temer has also named a military general, Joaquim Silva e Luna, to head the Ministry of Defense. It's the first time since Brazil's military dictatorship (1964 – 1984) that a civilian has held this government post, according to the local Merco Press.
Rui Costa Pimenta, president of the Labor Cause's Party, said Temer is a “hostage” to the military, which has been “gradually occupying areas in the federal government,” according to Prensa Latina. He affirmed that “The current government, which came to power as a result of the 2016 coup, has practically ended” and that Brazil is “one step away from an explicit military coup.”
On Feb. 16, Brazil's federal government dispatched the army to assume full control of police forces in the state of Rio de Janeiro. The move was in response to increased violence and drug gangs who have “virtually taken over,” according to Temer. Approximately 3,200 soldiers now patrol public streets in predominantly poor, working class neighborhoods.
Former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff characterized the intervention as being a means to create an enemy, which “in Brazil's case, is poor Black people who live in periphery neighborhoods...It's not white people who live in Ipanema nor in Leblon.”