Brazil's military to take control of Rio police amid crisis

Brazil's federal government has issued a decree to put the military in charge of Rio de Janeiro's local police amid a spike in violence.

The move is significant, both symbolically and in practical terms, for Latin America's largest nation, where many still remember the brutal 1964-1985 military dictatorship.

Putting the military in charge could bring immediate relief from drug trafficking violence, but also spur fears among Rio's residents about the use of strong-armed tactics.

The decree needs to be confirmed by Congress and is expected to pass.

Chamber of Deputies Speaker Rodrigo Maia told journalists in Brasilia that it would be voted on next week.

The move is a "triple jump without a safety net," said Maia. "We can't get this wrong. This is an exceptional measure that hopefully won't take too long to re-establish order."

The move comes as President Michel Temer's popularity has fallen to single digits, and his push to pass pension reform looks to be flailing.

Many saw the decision as a way for him to deflect attention from his political woes.

Still, there is little denying that Rio is struggling.

Rio state Gov. Luiz Fernando Pezao admitted that security planning failed to secure residents and tourists during Carnival celebrations, which ended Tuesday.

Several violent incidents took place in Rio during the world famous bash, including muggings, armed robberies and confrontations.

Brazilian media said Rio's Public Security Secretary Roberto Sa has already stepped aside due to the intervention.

Temer is expected to speak to the nation.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - December 28, 2013: Aerial view from a helicopter of Rio de Janeiro with the Corcovado mountain and the statue of Christ the Redeemer with Sugarloaf mountain in the background.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Source: 1 NEWS