Brazil: Federal Intervention in Rio - A First Step towards Return of the Military?


Statement by the Corrente Comunista Revolucionária-CCR, (Brazilian Section of the RCIT), 18 February 2018,




The news arrived in the country on the morning of February 16 when the illegitimate president Michel Temer decided for a federal military intervention in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Rio's Secretary of Security, Roberto Sá, was removed from office and in his place General Braga Netto was appointed to control all security until at least the end of the year.


The measure is a continuation and deepening of the military intervention in the streets of Rio de Janeiro that has been happening since the Olympics in 2016. In practice, the Armed Forces will occupy the streets of the city and replace the regular police. In practice the military will take control of the state.


The demonstrations of masses during the carnival celebrations strongly expressed the level of disapproval of the Brazilian population against the coup d'état and the regime of emergency. The most evident example was the parade of the Tuiutí samba school that shook the country showing all the effects of the coup d'état in live broadcast in national network and caused a political earthquake. The coup president was portrayed by Tuiutí as a neoliberal vampire who destroyed labor rights, among other things, and that image went around the world. This was devastating to the image of the government, which was almost ready to try to have a vote in Congress on the pension reform. The government had to try to react to minimize international humiliation. The Temer government's response came four days later when it declared military intervention in the state of Rio de Janeiro.


However, the Temer government justified the military intervention with the necessity to reduce the street violence, which supposedly would have increased in the last days in that same period of carnival. In reality the decree of intervention is not related to security, but to the serious political situation of the country.


First, the Temer government was not able to fulfil the promise it gave to the financial capitalists to implement the neoliberal pension reform. It had to delay a vote in the Congress several times during the year 2107 due to insufficient support among congressmen. At the beginning of 2018 it appeared as semi-dead. In this crucial year at least half of parliamentarians did not want to risk their elections for a project rejected by 85% of the population. The popular rejection of the president in opinion polls now has reached more than 90% and, consequently, any candidate in the next elections that is very close to the president and his reforms runs the risk of not being re-elected.


The federal military intervention in Rio de Janeiro serves to solve a problem only of the president and not of the safety of the population. On the contrary, other military interventions in the state only served to protect the rich and middle class and increase oppression in the poor neighborhoods and communities of the city. The army soldier is trained specifically to kill, not to control urban violence. This is even worse when we think of popular demonstrations of workers' strikes and mobilizations of social movements. "Coincidentally" such a measure of the federal government came after several announcements of the communities living in the hills (favelas) in Rio de Janeiro appeared, saying "If they arrest Lula, the favela will come down the hills!" The reference of the masses to former president Lula da Silva reflects the mood of a population that does not see in the other candidates any hope of improvement of life after neoliberal reforms have been achieved. It is implicit in the message that the population of the favelas in the city will not go down the hill for samba parades.


In short, this military intervention in the state of Rio is a first step towards a possible nationwide intervention of the Armed Forces, including the possibility of controlling the presidential elections in October, or even the cancellation of the elections and the installation of a harder regime than it is today.


So we in the Corrente Comunista Revolucionária (CCR) strongly condemn this military intervention and call on all the workers and oppressed to organize against these measures, just as we call on mass organizations and social movements to do the same. We call on CUT, MST, MTST, PSTU, the progressives sectors of PSOL, and other progressive organizations to support the mobilizations and the creation of action committees by any means necessary. This putchist regime governs every single day to advance new measures against the people. First with its tough economic measures, such structural reforms, and now with the rise of the repressive apparatus. We call for the formation of neighborhood workers' committees to organize their own security committees against criminal violence and police violence.


* No to the criminalization of political demonstrations and the criminalization of social movements! Public safety is not the role of the Armed Forces! For the cancellation of federal military intervention in the state of Rio de Janeiro!


* For the creation of committees of action in factories, unions, neighborhoods, favelas and peripheral regions in defense of our rights and against the government of the coup and against any military intervention! For committees of self-defense of the workers and poor in the neighborhoods and peripheries!


* For the cancellation of the Pension and Labor Reform, the privatizations and the outsourcing!


* Down with the constitutional provision that allows the army to intervene in political matters!


* For a revolutionary workers' party – a new world party of the socialist revolution! For the Fifth International!