Government launches federal intervention in Roraima

. Dec 08, 2018
Venezuelan workers in Roraima hold signs asking for jobs. Venezuelan workers in Roraima hold signs asking for jobs.

On Friday, president Michel Temer announced the launching of a federal intervention in the state of Roraima. Brazil’s northernmost state has faced strikes of public security officers, deep financial problems, prison riots, and growing tensions caused by the arrival of Venezuelan refugees.

Last month, Mr. Temer declared an intervention on Roraima’s security apparatus, similar to what has occurred in Rio de Janeiro since February. This time around, though, the intervention will spread to all government areas and requires prior approval from Congress and the National Defense Council.

</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The news has come as a relief for people in Roraima,” journalist Eliane Rocha told <strong>The Brazilian Report</strong> from Boa Vista, the state capital. &#8220;Particularly for the public servants who have gone for almost three months without being paid.&#8221; Delays in payments to state employees have lasted since October, which has caused students to miss their school year and families of police officers to hold protests in front of precincts, in order to prevent them from working while they are not receiving their salaries. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Governor-elect Antonio Denarium will lead the intervention. Though he will only formally take office on January 1st, Mr. Denarium will act as de facto governor from now on and has pledged to submit a plan on Tuesday to recover state finances.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mr. Denarium has stated that the first priority of the intervention is to settle back pay for public servants. The state interventor made an appeal to groups who have gone on strike or have threatened to, saying that there “is no need for walkouts” and that they will receive their salaries in the coming days.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The government is bankrupt in every meaning of the word,” says Ms. Rocha. “Roraima has been sacked and it is bleeding with the effects of long-term corruption which today has reached its limit.&#8221;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Roraima suffers from the same problems of systemic corruption as the rest of Brazil, says Ms. Rocha, but the situation is magnified in what is the country&#8217;s least populous state, which relies on the federal government to sustain itself.</span></p> <h2>Refugee crisis</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Roraima state government has engaged in a legal battle against the federal administration since April, when it requested the border with Venezuela be closed. Since 2017, almost 128,000 Venezuelans, fleeing crisis in their home country, have entered Brazil through Roraima, though most have already left. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The situation got a lot worse with the <a href="">refugee crisis</a>, because it demanded more resources for health, education, and security, which the government didn&#8217;t have,” explained Ms. Rocha.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Local authorities want to get BRL 168 million to reimburse what they have spent on dealing with the migration crisis. They also want the federal government to give monthly reimbursements for costs with healthcare for Venezuelans.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A settlement will not happen soon, as the federal administration&#8217;s lawyers asked for 30 days to <a href="">analyze</a> the terms proposed by Roraima.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The local people are hopeful that the intervention will improve their situation and allow them to draw a line under what has been a series of woeful government administrations. “It’s as if we’ve been kidnapped, and the police have arrived to rescue us,” explains Ms. Rocha.

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