From Latin America Advisor Newsletter
Published by The Inter-American Dialogue
November 13, 2018
Gene M. Smith, President and Co-Owner of Smith Brandon International, Inc. was one of several contributors to a Q&A in the November 13, 2018 issue of the Latin America Adviser Newsletter published by The Inter-American Dialogue. Each of the contributors was asked to answer the following question:
"During his campaign, Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro frequently vowed to crack down on criminals, promising to allow police more latitude in the use of force, make it easier for Brazilians to own guns and reduce the age at which defendants can be tried as adults to 16. How much of Bolsonaro’s pledges on crime will become policy? Will his tactics to reduce crime succeed? Will Bolsonaro expand the use of the military in civilian policing beyond Rio de Janeiro state, where troops have been operating for months?"
Gene's answer is reproduced below:
“Bolsonaro assumes the presidency on Jan. 1 following his second-round victory in late October. With a struggling economy, a long-standing corruption investigation pointing to corruption at the highest levels and crime rates perceived by the average Brazilian as out of control, Brazilians are fed up and ready for change. Bolsonaro, a former army captain, and his vice president-elect, Hamilton Mourão, a retired army general, may be the ticket to bring order through a crackdown on crime. Bolsonaro’s platform on public safety included increased police authority for the use of arms (proceeding without forewarning for criminals caught in the act), expanded legal search and seizure provisions, an increase in the development and use of technology (and the funds to support it), increased fl exibility in the right to carry arms (with a requirement for proper training) and a special elite cadre to work in prisons. The question is: will there be reasonable implementation of these policies or abuse and further corruption in the Brazilian legal system? The appointment
of Sérgio Moro, famous for his leadership in Operation Car Wash, as Minister of Justice is moving in the right direction. Bolsonaro has been a proponent of conservative attitudes on a wide range of social issues, but he has also shown some inclination to modify his position, as demonstrated by his jump from the Social Christian Party (PSC) to the Social Liberal Party (PSL), both minor players in the Brazilian political landscape, in the very year of the election. There were whispers in the past year of military intervention under President Michel Temer. At the very least, Bolsonaro and Mourão can be expected to work closely with the military. Satisfying the military will likely be a top priority.”