News outlets such as the BBC have recently reported developments concerning security in Rio de Janeiro. We wish to clarify to our international colleagues the significance of these events, which we view as very positive for the organization of ICM 2018.
The state government of Rio de Janeiro has been experiencing serious fiscal difficulties over the last few years, partly due to the decline of petrol market prices, the state's main source of income. Since in Brazil security is mostly responsibility of the states, this has caused substantial reduction of police budgets.
The situation has come to a head during Carnival, a notoriously difficult time of the year from the security point of view, as Rio welcomes over 1.5 million tourists and the streets are crowded with people celebrating. Although crime statistics for this year's Carnival were no worse than last year's, and much better than those for 2016 and 2015, the state government felt unable to cope and asked for the federal government to intervene.
"Intervention" is a formal transfer of constitutional prerogatives, which has been approved by the national parliament and is scheduled to run through December 2018. It will allow the federal government to use its vastly superior resources, both financial and human, to improve the situation in the short term and, even more importantly, to restructure the whole security apparatus in the state in a more permanent way.
The initiative has the collaboration and support of all three branches of government - administration, parliament and judiciary (https://goo.gl/b6niwP and https://goo.gl/fWJMZA ) - and is most welcome by the population of Rio de Janeiro, with an 83% approval rate.
Thus the Organizing Committee is confident that ICM participants will have a privileged opportunity to enjoy one of the most interesting cities in the world at its best (check our welcome video at https://youtu.be/_OT4Vf8hr44).
We look forward to welcoming you to Rio de Janeiro!