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Rio’s Security Secretary Resigns Amidst Surge in Violence

By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – On Tuesday, October 11th, Security Secretary for Rio de Janeiro State, José Mariano Beltrame handed in his resignation after almost ten years on the job. Beltrame was responsible for the implementation of the Police Pacifying Units (UPP) in Rio’s main favela communities.

Brazil,Rio's Security Secretary Jose Mariano Beltrame resigned on Tuesday his position as sheriff of the state,
Rio’s Security Secretary Jose Mariano Beltrame resigned on Tuesday his position as sheriff of the state, photo by Tomaz Silva/Agencia Brasil.

“It’s a cycle that ends. Security is an endless battle,” Beltrame said in an interview to local newscasters at RJTV. “Since it is a long battle, we must face this challenge as a relay race. There comes a time when we have to pass the baton to another person, because public security is not something we win, we can (only) anticipate and ease problems,” he added.

During Beltrame’s time as head of security, Rio has hosted the Panamerican Games (2007), an United Nation’s Conference, Rio+20 (2012), a worldwide Catholic gathering with the presence of the Pope (World Youth Day 2013), the World Cup (2014) and the Olympics and Paralympics Games (2016). In all those mega events security was tight, federal troops were called in to help, but no major incidents were registered.

Beltrame’s best known project is the implementation of the units Police Pacification Units (UPP). Since the first UPP, installed in Morro Dona Marta, in the Botafogo neighborhood in 2008, state officials have deployed more than nine thousand police officers to install UPPs in another 38 favela communities throughout the city, serving more than 1.5 million people in those low income areas.

The decision to resign is not linked to the events which occurred on Monday, when residents of Copacabana faced several hours of a shootout between police forces and drug traffickers at the base of the Pavão-Pavãozinho community complex. Beltrame had stated his intention of stepping down in an interview before the Olympics began in August.

In a press release, Rio de Janeiro governor Luiz Fernando Pezão thanked Beltrame for his years of dedication and announced Roberto Sá as the new Security Secretary for the state. Sá was a military police chief before becoming sub-secretary under Beltrame.

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