Rio De Janeiro: The ghosts of Brazil’s dictatorship are stirring in the wake of President Michel Temer’s order for the army to take over policing in Rio de Janeiro. There’s no direct comparison between the Rio operation and the 1964 coup that brought two decades of military rule to Latin America’s biggest country. In this case, the military isn’t overturning a president — it’s just taking charge of Rio state’s security situation after months of escalating crime.
However, the echoes have been loud enough to force the government into extraordinary denials. “I’m going to tell you how many marks I give the idea of a military coup: zero,” Temer told Radio Bandeirantes on Friday. The centre-right president went on to say that there was “no mood” in the military or population for a coup.
Earlier, the defence minister, Raul Jungmann, stated “there is no risk to democracy…. On the contrary, we are strengthening democracy.” Over the last decade, Rio residents have grown used to seeing camouflaged soldiers support the police in their battle against powerfully armed drug gangs. Some 8,500 troops arrived last July in an ongoing deployment to help with operations in favelas, the latest of which took place on Friday in western Rio.