Brazilian Military is More Concerned about the Olympics than the World Cup

Brazilian Military is More Concerned about the Olympics than the World Cup

By Dialogo
September 09, 2015

Armed Forces.
Order and Progress.
You need to show respect. I think Gen. De Nardi's statements are very important, as much from the point of view of the Defense Sector as from the Justice sector because he is very clear about the role each one should play in a society where common crime, drug trafficking and terrorism are getting harder to control each day.


Since the Conference on Environment and Development (ECO '92) took place in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the Brazilian military has been working in cooperation with the various police forces and other public security agencies at the so-called mega-events held in Brazil.

More recently, the Brazilian Armed Forces have had a very positive experience helping to organize security for the Military World Games in 2011, the Pope's visit in 2013, and the FIFA World Cup in 2014.

Diálogo
spoke with General José Carlos de Nardi, chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Brazilian Armed Forces, during the South American Defense Conference (SOUTHDEC 2015), in Asunción, Paraguay on August 19. There, they discussed the Brazilian Armed Forces’ preparation for the 2016 Olympics and their participation in UN peacekeeping missions.

DIÁLOGO:
What lessons have the Brazilian Armed Forces learned during prior large-scale events that can be applied to the Olympic Games in Rio?

General Jose Carlos de Nardi:
We learned a lot of lessons, but the specific legacy of those big events was integration, integration between Justice and Defense. I believe, as President Dilma Rousseff has said, that that was the most important point, and that is what we will put into practice in 2016, per her decision.

DIÁLOGO:
According to figures released by Brazil’s Ministry of Defense, the number of security personnel, including the Armed Forces, deployed to the Rio Olympics will be twice that at the London 2012 Olympics. Why?

Gen. De Nardi:
You see, we're in a situation where nothing must fail. So, I believe that the excess is not a problem. And it's not so much, speaking in military terms; that is, in the area of defense the number will be smaller than that of the World Cup. We're going to have more elements directed toward the area of public safety.

DIÁLOGO:
The World Cup was held throughout 12 cities, whereas the Olympics in only one. In your opinion, is this more or less complicated?

Gen. de Nardi:
As the one responsible for defense security at the World Cup, and now again for the Olympics, I say that the Olympics is worse.

DIÁLOGO:
Why?

Gen. De Nardi:
Take a look at the following: In each city [during the FIFA World Cup], we had two delegations, which arrived 48 hours before and left 24 hours after. So there were two supporting groups, two delegations, and our concern at that location was [for] 72 hours. Afterwards, the delegations went on to their training centers and the situation returned to almost normal. During the Olympics, we’ll have more than a month of continuity, with several delegations —over a hundred— in one city. Another detail: For us in the area of security, we may have, for example, four events being held at the same time. So we have four regions of Rio de Janeiro that may be holding games at the same time. That really is not just one city; that multiplies it by four, in terms of security. So, there is no doubt that the Olympics are more of a concern to us. Another detail: the Olympics have a history of terrorism. That's a reason to increase our security concerns.

DIÁLOGO:
Has there been an exchange of information, of intelligence, with other countries?

Gen. De Nardi:
Yes. There is no doubt that we have to have it, especially with those countries that have already organized other Olympics. That’s normal. For our part, that is, defense, certainly. I know that as far as the Ministry of Justice and also the Federal Police, Civil Police and Rio de Janeiro’s Military Police are concerned, we all sent delegations for the purpose of this exchange with other countries. We, ourselves, will maintain these contacts throughout the year so that nothing can occur in the last event of this series that we call the great events of Brazil.

DIÁLOGO:
Is the fact that soccer games are being held in other cities and not just in Rio a complicating factor?

Gen. De Nardi:
No, because that already happened at the World Cup, so we've already got that experience; the personnel already know the cities where the soccer competitions will take place. They already know, they already have the experience and the ability to work there. It’s in Rio that it’s something new, because, as I said, there are four events within a single city.

DIÁLOGO:
You were very clear during SOUTHDEC that Brazil’s Armed Forces do not participate in the fight against drug trafficking and related activities. Why?

Gen. De Nardi:
It is a line that we, particularly, have followed at all meetings. I'm part of the Executive Council of the South American Defense Council of UNASUR [Union of South American Nations]. It's a line that is ours in Brazil. Brazil's defense is the responsibility of the Armed Forces. We’re trained for that. And in Brazil, you see, we are a Federal Republic – we and the United States – unlike other republics, which are unitary republics. So in some cases, such as in Colombia, the police are entirely in the hands of the Ministry of Defense. There it’s something else. Not in our case; we and all law enforcement agencies are in the hands of the Ministry of Justice. So for us, it’s very clear what defense is and what public safety is. Another detail: Brazil’s Armed Forces are only authorized, only have police power, in a small strip of the border that runs from the border line itself to 150 km [93.2 miles] inland. And even so, only to undertake occasional action. Now, according to the Constitution, the responsibility for combating drugs belongs to the Federal Police, in connection with the Ministry of Justice, and not the Ministry of Defense. That’s why I said that for Brazil, defense is the responsibility of Defense – namely, defense of the homeland. Public safety is the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice – namely, Article 142, Defense, 146, Public Safety. It's very clear to us; it’s provided for in the Constitution. Of course, the Constitution also provides a loophole in the case of Article 142, by which we may act occasionally, under the so-called Guarantee of Law and Order clause. But you see, there is a decree that says that every time the president orders the use of the armed forces for public security, she must state the time period, from when to when, it will occur. So, the legislator was concerned that the armed forces would not be employed continuously, but rather within a limited time for this task, which makes it clear to us that our main mission is defense of the homeland.

DIÁLOGO:
With regard to peacekeeping missions. Brazil is taking a major part in Lebanon [UNIFIL], and in Haiti [MINUSTAH]. Even though the UN is the one that requests the continuation or not of this kind of mission, would you say that the Brazilian Troops will remain in Haiti?

Gen. De Nardi:
Brazilian Troops will remain in place until the moment the UN says the operation is to be discontinued, or when the peace forces are disbanded. I believe that's going to happen soon. I believe in a little [time] – I think by next year – there is a UN provision that will terminate the mission and Brazil will return home with her BRABAT1 [peacekeeping force] with no problem. However, we will continue with the mission in Lebanon.

DIÁLOGO:
And with regard to other peacekeeping missions?

Gen. De Nardi:
We also have General Santos Cruz in command in Africa, and we have generals in the UN Department of Peacekeeping Missions, and should the UN request it, and of course, should the president agree, we will undoubtedly be ready to deploy our Troops in other parts of the world. I would say, as far as priority, to either South America or Africa, those being our strategic environment.

DIÁLOGO:
What is your opinion on the relationship between Brazilian and U.S. Armed Forces in recent years?

Gen. De Nardi:
I think the relationship between the Armed Forces and between the two countries is very interesting. Oddly enough, the Armed Forces get along very well, the commanders and politicians notwithstanding. Today, Brazil has a very good and close relationship with the United States. In fact, now, in recent months, we have been working bit by bit toward greater closeness. I, myself, have a very strong relationship with Washington, with the Chief of Staff of the United States, and the U.S. Armed Forces as a whole. That relationship has never been stressed. It was and is a mutually professional relationship, since that is what we are – that is, of Soldier to Soldier. It is peaceful with virtually every country in the world because we know our profession, and we are linked to whatever politics decides in defense of our country. But the Soldier from another country that we may be opposing, no matter how much of an enemy he might be, always knows that we are professionals, just like thay are. And that we have goals identical to theirs. That is, the defense of our country. And therefore, the relationship in recent years has been very good and has never stopped being so.

DIÁLOGO:
Since he will soon be leaving SOUTHCOM’s command, would you like to say anything about General Kelly?

Gen. De Nardi:
I would say the following: Mission accomplished! Congratulations! That's what's important in the life of a Soldier after remaining on active duty for a long period of time. I say this because I'm about to complete 55 years [of service], and still feel like a young man.
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