Beltrame: the future of pacification

Yuletide thoughts from Rio’s Public Safety Secretary

Para Beltrame: o futuro da pacificação, clique aqui

Just like the [temporary unit of account that preceded the Real currency] URV, the [police pacification units] UPPs should be understood as a transition mechanism, from the old to the public safety new model, and consequentially, to a new reality of economic and social development in the city of  Rio de Janeiro.

In the era of hyperinflation, in the eighties, most businesses made money not from what they’d set out to do, but in the financial market. The so-called “overnight” investment market, that lasted night upon night, was more lucrative than the production of goods and services.

Similarly, here in Rio we got used to distorted behavior and values, during the long sleepless night of violence of the last few decades. Cops were murderers. Drug traffickers were judges. And so on. We all colluded, until the profits turned to a loss to big to sustain.

In the main article on Globo’s opinion page today, State Public Safety Secretary José Mariano Beltrame makes an enlightening comparison between the pacification program he manages, and the 1994 Real Plan that stabilized Brazil’s currency. The title is “Just the first step”, something he says almost every day.

Carioca surrealism: photographer Davi Marcos holds up a photo that took a bullet in the Maré complex of favelas, when posted on a corner as part of the Travessias art show

“Just as the URV prepared the way for the arrival of the real in the economic stabilization program, the UPPs are an instrument of transition from the yoke of violence to a regime of citizenship, where the state returns with essential services such as health, education, water, sanitation, trash collection and public lighting,” he explains.

Beltrame always points out that social services are crucial. “With the arrival of the Pacification Police, with men and women trained not only to face violence — but also, and especially, to speak with and negotiate with the community — public agencies now find the doors of these communities open to receive the services they’ve been demanding for decades.”

While social services try to transform themselves to better serve communities that were until recently excluded, Beltrame undertakes the transformation of Rio’s police forces. The O Dia newspaper published a long interview with the secretary Dec. 24, headlining the news that in 2012 pacification is coming to the favelas of Manguinhos, Jacarezinho and Maré.

Christmas barbecue on the hood of a pickup truck, Av. Visconde de Pirajá

But the interview contains another big piece of news. Beltrame has tried to combat police corruption by investigating personal fortunes. He came up against a legal obstacle, since the courts require case-by-case justification for access to such information.

Now, says Beltrame, ‘”We are going to be using, after the Fallet/Fogueteiro case (wherein drug traffickers were paying UPP police a monthly stipend), a legally acceptable mechanism. The state attorney general’s office, and the internal affairs units are almost finished drafting a decree allowing preliminary checking, an instrument that will allow us to discover possible malfeasance. In theory we’ll be able to see a police officer’s disproportional personal fortune. I wanted to have this done by the end of this year, but the attorney general’s office is finishing the decree, that the governor will sign.”‘

Police misconduct is common inRio de Janeiro, and much remains to be done for favelas to have the same degree of attention from  city services as in the formal areas of the city. As our overlong “overnight” dissipates and we transition to the “new reality of economic and social development in the city of  Rio de Janeiro”, now is an excellent moment to do a little of our own holiday reflection.

In the Batan favela, west zone

How did we allow favelas to exist?

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About Rio real

American journalist, writer, editor who's lived in Rio de Janeiro for 20 years.
This entry was posted in Brasil, Brazil, Transformation of Rio de Janeiro / Transformação do Rio de Janeiro and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Beltrame: the future of pacification

  1. Zezinho says:

    favelas exist becase brazil is not a welfare state/country..favelas are our public housing for the poor working class. I am just grateful I have a place to live.

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