Pacification chief in New York next week
If you’re in or near New York, keep your eye out this Monday for Rio’s unassuming State Public Safety Secretary, José Mariano Beltrame. He’s there for just a day, first and foremost to attend the MOMA world premiere of five short films about the city’s pacification efforts, directed by young favela residents. Peace in Rio is a followup to the 2010 5 x Favela collection of shorts, produced by veteran filmaker Cacá Diegues. He’ll also be in town, together with the directors. The premiere is at four p.m. At six p.m., Beltrame will participate in a New York Times debate, moderated by Larry Rohter, the Times’ former Rio de Janeiro correspondent and author of Brazil on the Rise.
Earlier in the day, Beltrame meets with Human Rights Watch Deputy Executive Director Iain Levine, and will give an interview to the current NYT correspondent, Simon Romero.
It’ll be interesting to know what gets discussed in the HRW meeting. In the last few months, police have killed two notable suspects in loco rather than bring them in alive, claiming there were confrontations.
Unlike many of his subordinates, Beltrame is always open to conversing with human rights advocates and observers. HRW recently wrote a letter to Rio Governor Sérgio Cabral that criticized the Rio police, despite the drop in police violence seen since pacification began almost four years ago.
Levine might do well to ask Beltrame about a report released yesterday here by the Ford Foundation-funded research unit CESeC, showing that more of Rio’s pacification police consider themselves inadequately prepared for their jobs than those surveyed two years ago. The training program is being revamped but is still sadly short on community policing techniques. Police also reported a growing perception of negative attitudes regarding them, among favela residents. Perhaps even more worrisome is the fact that many of those surveyed (as well as many favela residents) doubt that pacification is here to stay; of the 885 cops surveyed in twenty police pacification units, the study classified 51% “neutral or ambiguous” about pacification, 12% “partially resistant” and 3% “totally resistant”.