Federal intervention in Brasilia: what it is and the difference with a military coup

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Yesterday afternoon, January 8, 2023, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva decreed federal intervention in public security in the Federal District. The decree runs until January 31.

The measure came in response to the terrorist acts committed against the Federal Congress, the Federal Supreme Court (STF), the Planalto Palace and ministries on the Esplanade.

What is federal intervention

Federal intervention is a temporary measure in which the federal government removes the autonomy of states, DF or municipalities. In the case of the DF, the intervention is restricted to public safety. This means that by the end of the month the security of the Federal District will be the responsibility of the federal government.

Federal intervention is foreseen in the Brazilian Magna Carta, in article 34. The government must announce an intervenor, who is responsible for the measures to be taken during the period.

The decree does not mean that the governor of the state has been deposed. However, in this specific case, Minister Alexandre de Moraes, of the STF, decided to remove Governor Ibaneis Rocha, from the DF, for 90 days.

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Study: Exercises on Magna Carta

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Cases of federal intervention in Brazil

This is not the first time that the Federal Government has had to intervene in a state's public security situation. In 2018, in Michel Temer government, an intervention was decreed in Rio de Janeiro.

The measure was taken from February 2018 to January 1, 2019, under the command of General Walter Braga Netto. At the time, the decree was made as a result of violence in the state.

The state government itself may request intervention. This was the case in the Federal District, when, in 2010, it requested the measure after the impeachment of Governor José Roberto Arruda. However, the Supreme Court denied the request.

Another example of a denied request was by the government of Espírito Santo, in 2002. At the time, the request was due to the numbers of violence in the state.

Study: Exercises on the Military Dictatorship in Brazil

Is federal intervention the same as military intervention?

It is still necessary to make a distinction between the federal intervention of the military intervention, or military coup.

Federal intervention is foreseen in the law, in article 34 of the federal Constitution of 1988 provides that the president of the republic may order intervention to "put an end to serious impairment of public order".

Military intervention is when the armed forces of the army unite to intervene and overthrow the state itself and its constitutional authority. In the case of Brazil, we experienced a military intervention from 1964 to 1985. It is still necessary to emphasize that the military coup is unconstitutional, that is, it is not provided for by law.

Read too: what is a coup?


[1] - Wikimedia Commons

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