<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
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Lula's Anti-Crime Secretary Calls for Decriminalization

Public Safety Secretary Luiz Eduardo Soares: Drug Use Should Not Be a Crime


By Elder Ogliari
O Estado de São Paulo, translated by Narco News

April 9, 2003

Publisher’s Note: In the interests of the global public’s right and desire to know the authentic news in our América, we have translated Wednesday’s report by the daily O Estado of São Paulo in which a top anti-crime official in the government of Brazilian President Lula da Silva has publicly called for the decriminalization of drugs.

The call by Public Safety Secretary Luiz Eduardo Soares comes on the heels of public statements by Regina Benevides of the Health Ministry late last month that broke with the prohibitionist policies of the past.

The statement by Soares, in a public forum in Porto Alegre last night, reveals, once again, that there is a fierce battle underway at the highest levels inside the Lula administration over the future of drug policy. Soares acknowledged that “this is not the government’s position,” but it is clear that he would like it to be, and has turned to Civil Society for help.

The voices in tune with Civil Society – like those of Public Safety Secretary Luiz Eduardo Soares and Regina Benevides of the Health Ministry – are in conflict with the leftover and tired advocates of the previous drug policy – imposed upon Brazil and other nations by Washington and Wall Street – a policy that has failed to impede any problems associated with drug use and that has caused a larger problem: the creation of the narco and all the violence and corruption it brings.

Stay tuned, kind readers. A grand conflict is underway over the future of drug policy in Brazil, and Narco News is here to report each stage of the battle to you.

From somewhere in a country called América,

Al Giordano

“Drug Use Should Not Be a Crime”

By Elder Ogliari
O Estado de São Paulo
Translated by Narco News

APRIL 9, 2003; PORTO ALEGRE, BRAZIL – The national Public Safety Secretary, Luiz Eduardo Soares, confirmed in Porto Alegre yesterday, that he favors the decriminalization of drug use. He also stressed that his statement represents his personal position and not that of the Public Safety department.

“This is not the government’s position, and I need to submit to the general policy of the government,” he stressed. In spite of that, Soares admitted that the debate over this issue must become public.

The decriminalization of drug use was one of the issues discussed in the Liberty Forum, promoted by the Institute for Business Studies. In this panel, the forum addressed questions of public safety.

The Mexican attorney Luiz Pazos defended the idea of distributing drugs to those dependent on them at accessible prices in order to combat narco-trafficking. Soares presented the investigation of money laundering, and activities that offer social integration and values to the youth, as strategies to combat drug trafficking

Provoked by the audience, which wanted to know about specific and practical actions to combat crime, Soares divided the government’s job into two parts. According to him, the first line of attack involves repression. The second and next step is to reduce the causes of violence with social programs and better police training.

Police corruption was also a topic among the public’s questions.

Soares confirmed that many times, in Brazil, the police institutions are part of the problem and the solution is the “purging” of certain police, case by case, and “isolating the rogue sectors.”

“We can limit the maneuvering room of the (corrupted) sectors and provide incentives for the development of productive and honest ones,” he said.

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The Narco News Bulletin: Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America