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Cablegate: Brazil: Less Guns, More Butter: Lula Takes On

VZCZCXRO6047
RR RUEHRG
DE RUEHBR #0035/01 0071322
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 071322Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0791
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 6494
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 5217
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 7161
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 0081
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 7568
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 5650
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 1423
RHEFHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHDC
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BRASILIA 000035

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

FOR WHA, WHA/BSC, AND INL

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/02/2018
TAGS: KCRM KJUS PGOV BR
SUBJECT: BRAZIL: LESS GUNS, MORE BUTTER: LULA TAKES ON
CRIME (PART 1 OF 3)

REF: A. A. BRASILIA 000761
B. B. SAO PAULO 000873
C. C. RECIFE 000087

Classified By: DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION PHIL CHICOLA FOR REASONS 1.4 B A
ND D

1. (C) Summary: After much hesitation, President Lula was
finally forced to wade into the public security debate in
light of consistent polling that places crime as the number
one concern of most Brazilians. The result, a public
security plan called the National Program on Public Security
with Citizenship (PRONASCI), was unveiled earlier this year
and received Congressional sanction in October. The program
was developed under the premise that the crime problem in
Brazil is too big and complex to be solved by simply putting
more bullets, guns, and boots on the ground. The program
seeks to address the social causes of crime as well--a stance
that has earned the Lula government scorn and charges of
being soft on crime. Although the Lula government deserves
praise for finally proposing a national public security plan,
the unorthodox nature of some of the initiatives together
with the program's complexity and limited territorial reach
reduce the chances that this particular government will
succeed in putting a sufficient dent in the crime problem to
take the public security issue off the table as a major issue
for the 2010 presidential elections.

2. (U) This cable in one in a series by Mission Brazil on
crime issues at both the national and regional levels
(reftels). Septels will address PRONASCI's approach to law
enforcement reform and the potential role of the military in
solving Brazil,s growing public security concerns.

----------------------------------------
Crime No Longer Just a State Issue
----------------------------------------

3. (C) Since the fall of the military government 20 years
ago, the Brazilian constitution has assigned responsibility
for public security to the states. According to Ricardo
Balestreri, Director of Research for the Ministry of
Justice's National Secretariat for Public Security (SENASP)
this began to change in 2000 when President Fernando Henrique
Cardoso proposed the nation's first public security plan. In
Balestreri's view, since Cardoso's plan, public security has
become an issue in which the federal government increasingly
is expected to be a co-protagonist. However, Federal Deputy
Raul Jungmann (PPS, Socialist People's Party, opposition; of
Pernambuco), who serves as Vice-Chairman of the Chamber of
Deputies' Committee on Public Security and Organized Crime,
told poloff that it is still far from being primarily a
federal issue. Crime remains a topic that many federal
politicians-- in particular leftist ones such as
himself--would prefer to avoid both for political reasons
(fear of being held accountable for astronomical national
crime rates) and because of historical sensitivities (use of
the military and police as tools of repression during the
military era).

4. (U) Public opinion polls, however, have consistently shown
that the general public is fed up with the crime situation in
Brazil and are demanding a get-tough approach against
criminal activity. The most recent poll to confirm this,
carried in the November 28, 2007 of Brazil,s premier news
magazine "Veja," showed that 61% approved of the harsh
methods used against suspected criminals in the popular film,
"Tropa da Elite." The same poll showed the public is
clamoring for the active involvement of the federal
government, with 88% of those polled approving of the
military taking an active role in combating crime. Although
some observers believe public concern on crime in the past
has not translated into an election issue at the national
level (see Ref A), political parties may be reassessing this
view--one political analyst here told poloffs that he has
talked with two political parties about developing political
messages, heading towards the 2008 local and 2010
presidential elections, on crime and public security that
avoid appearing too militaristic or too soft.

BRASILIA 00000035 002 OF 003

------------------------------------------
Lula Enters the Fray with PRONASCI
------------------------------------------

5. (C) Alexandre Sankiewicz, Legislative Consultant on
Criminal Justice issues for the Brazilian Chamber of
Deputies, told poloff that, in the past, only spectacular
criminal incidents prompted the federal government to address
public security issues. The response usually took the form of
a flurry of punitive but short-lived military-style
operations and calls for changes to the penal code (e.g.,
increasing criminal penalties, lowering the criminal age of
majority for heinous crimes to 16), which tended to have
either little long-term impact or not to be approved once
public pressure subsided. Breaking with that pattern, as a
result of the intense public pressure stemming from episodes
such as the horrific killing of a 6 year old boy on the
streets of Rio de Janeiro (Ref A), the Lula government
devised what his government proclaimed is the first national
public security plan to ever deal with crime in a
comprehensive fashion. The plan, PRONASCI, breaks with most
previous approaches at the national level by attempting to
tackle crime both by addressing the needs of the law
enforcement community and by targeting what the government
views as the underlying social causes of crime--mainly
hunger, poverty, lack of social inclusion, and failure of the
state to maintain a presence in entire areas of the major
cities.

6. (U) Also referred to as the PAC da Seguranca (or Security
PAC, so called after the Accelerated Growth Program, the
government's infrastructure investment program), PRONASCI
will invest 6.7 billion Reais (about USD 3.94 billion)
through 2012 and consists of 94 programs run by the Ministry
of Justice as well as 15 other ministries (including the
Ministries of Planning, Health, Science and Technology, Labor
and Employment, Culture, Sports, and Cities). The government
will implement the program in the 11 cities with the highest
crime-rates: Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Porto Alegre, Belo
Horizonte, Brasilia, Curitiba, Belem, Recife, Maceio,
Salvador, and Vitoria, focusing on three core areas:
enhancing education and technical training for law
enforcement professionals, investing in and improving the
prison system, and targeting the socio-cultural factors that
lead to crime.

---------------------------------------
Dealing with the Roots of Crime
---------------------------------------

7. (U) For many within the governing coalition, the real
importance of PRONASCI lies in its attempt address for the
first time what they call the social causes of crime.
Federal Deputy Carlos Eduardo Vieira da Cunha (PDT,
Democratic Workers Party, governing coalition; of Rio Grande
do Sul), a member of the Chamber of Deputies' Committee on
Public Security and Organized Crime, told poloff that the
emphasis on social programs was necessary in order to
overcome the tendency of the population to support harsh
police measures instead of addressing the roots of crime.
Inspired by the success of "Bolsa Familia" (the government's
popular cash assistance program), the government plans to
establish under PRONASCI three types of "bolsas", ranging
from R$100 to R$190 a month: "Projeto Reservista-Cidadao"
(Citizen-Reservist), for members of the armed forces to do
community work after completing their obligatory service;
"Projeto de Protecao dos Jovens em Territorio Vulneravel"
(Protection of Youth in Vulnerable Areas), for youth in
danger of entering a life of crime; and "Projeto Maes da Paz"
(Mothers of Peace) for mothers in poor and crime-ridden
communities to serve as community leaders and provide
guidance to at-risk youths.

8. (U) PRONASCI would also provide funding for a variety of
initiatives designed to address a range of disparate social
ills from the prevalence of domestic violence to lack of
access to cultural and sporting facilities for at risk youth.
It would strengthen the Maria da Penha Law by creating 53

BRASILIA 00000035 003 OF 003


domestic violence centers dedicated to rehabilitating
aggressors under the law, establishing domestic violence
courts, and specialized legal assistance units for victims of
domestic violence. The program would also create 20 centers
that would train and develop community leaders specialized in
conflict resolution in vulnerable communities and will
establish 132 Community Councils on Public Security to ensure
community dialogue and accountability with the police.

--------------------------------------------- ----------------
Proposal Exposes Government to Criticism Over Competence,
Ideology
--------------------------------------------- ----------------

9. (SBU) Most analysts and officials with which Post spoke
offered praise for the concept behind PRONASCI, while
expressing skepticism at its chances for success. Federal
Deputy Marcelo Melo (PMDB, Democratic Movement Party,
government coalition; of Goias), PRONASCI rapporteur in the
Chamber of Deputies, admitted to poloff that the Lula
administration lacked the competence to administer and
execute the program. Furthermore, a chorus of opposition
members has called PRONASCI nothing more than an effort to
foster "clientelism" among the poor. As Federal Deputy
Jugmann stated, "the PT does not have a program for
governance but one for power" supported by handing out cash
payments to every niche group. As a result of this
perception, opposition members succeeded in stripping the
three new "bolsa" programs from the version of PRONASCI that
became law. The government has re-submitted the three
programs to Congress and Minister of Justice Tarso Genro is
pressing for their approval, calling them an essential
component of PRONASCI.

------------
Comment:
------------

10. (C) Lula's effort to address Brazil,s growing crime and
public security problem in a comprehensive fashion has raised
government efforts to a new level. PRONASCI will provide a
significant test for his signature approach to Brazil,s
social ills. The government does not appear to have the
institutional capacity to implement such a broad program that
requires coordination among more than a dozen federal
ministries and agencies, in addition to dozens of state and
local government agencies. Even if effectively implemented,
the proposed programs and policies may not be the right mix
to put a dent in crime levels, particularly in the short
term. Finally, public impatience with the worsening
situation and the additional cost on top of Lula,s already
extensive social support programs may undermine the sustained
implementation required for PRONASCI,s key social elements.
The general public is clamoring for immediate solutions and
a show of strength from government at all levels, rather than
the socially-oriented, long-term solutions offered through
PRONASCI. This disconnect will continue to leave the door
open for the opposition to hammer the government on its weak
public security credentials when the next horrific criminal
incident inevitably takes place. And it almost guarantees
that public security issues will be among the top voter
concerns heading into next year,s local and 2010,s general
elections.

SOBEL

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