Mourão urges South America to join efforts against drug, gun trade

The Brazilian vice-president argued for reforms in public security

Published in 30/09/2019 - 17:44 By Alex Rodrigues - Alex Rodrigues

Brazil’s vice-President, retired Army General Hamilton Mourão, argued for more integration among South American countries in the fight against drug and gun traffic.

“We need firm integration to combat the traffic of drugs and other illicit goods linked to it, as gun smuggling and smuggling in general,” Mourão said, while attending an event held by the Justice and Public Security Ministry and the Federal Police.

Cocaine production

He noted that fighting crime has been among the government’s priorities, along with the resumption of economic activity, which also depends on a safe environment. “All this issue of restoring growth is closely connected with public security.”

When talking about neighboring countries, the vice-president mentioned cocaine production. “The large production of cocaine in neighboring countries is a great concern to us, from planting coca leaves to their transformation into cocaine, which, as we all know, comes to major consuming markets in our country, and is partly consumed here, where part of it becomes its worst by-product: crack cocaine.”

Kids in crime 

Mourão also advocated changes in Brazilian criminal law. “Our laws are lenient. Just look at our progressive sentence reduction system. A young chap kills someone, and, five years later, he’s out on the streets on what people call the semi-open regime—more like always open,” he quipped.

He also criticized the way under-age offenders are punished, which he referred to as a topic “we have to discuss with no ideological passion, as big criminal organizations use them as putty in their hands.”

The vice-president also mentioned the need to revamp the country’s prison network, saying it should be “neither a dungeon nor a summer camp, but rather a place for re-education.”

More social investment

The Brazilian state, he went on to remark, needs to invest more in social aspects and value its police force. “We have to seek solutions to the problem in the favelas, which need streets and houses with a number. Proper electricity is also necessary, not illicit hot-wire power supplies. They need pipelines, sewers, full-time schools,” the vice-president declared.

With its social problems unsolved, Brazil will continue “to flog a dead horse” in public security, Mourão argued. “Crime will be constantly refueled by those discontent with the situation they live in,” he added.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Nádia Franco / Augusto Queiroz

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