Fernando Henrique: “we have to insist”

Friday, February 26, 2021

by Priscila Marotti (text and pictures)


After learning about the experiences of countries such as Portugal, Holland, Mexico, United States, Colombia and Argentina, Brazil’s former president, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, decided to get a closer look on the work being developed by the Pacifier Police Unit at Santa Marta, in the district of Botafogo. FHC (this is how he’s known in Brazil) is the host of a documentary that intends to promote a global debate on preventive measures against drugs. The experience of Santa Marta will figure as one of the positive alternatives.

The former president – who arrived at the community at 9am – walked through the community’s alleys, chatted with residents and, at one of the houses’ balcony, interviewed the commandant of Santa Marta’s UPP, Captain Pricilla Azevedo.

“Recording this documentary I realized how things have changed. The community was reconquered. This is a very important step, winning these people’s trust,” said the former president.

FHC stressed that he already knew about the UPP project, but said that he was surprised by the visit to the community located at Botafogo, district where he was born.

“This ratifies the idea that there is a way out, that there is hope. People are going to say that only a few slums have been occupied. But the lives of a hundred thousand people in Rio have been improved, and this is no joke, it’s the number of residents of a medium-sized town.

The documentary approached – in each of the cities – projects that were successful and experiences that failed. According to the movie’s executive producer, Fernando Menocci – who accompanied the president in all his visits – the main goal of the documentary is not to impose a definite model, but to present us with alternatives to get to a solution.

“Here at Santa Marta, for example, people lived completely isolated from society, without so much as the civil rights and duties of a citizen. The Estate had lost the territory completely and now we see that the UPP is reconquering the area. It’s an incredibly positive experience,” he affirms.

Fernando Henrique spent three hours at the community. The documentary – that shows the reality of around 10 cities around the globe – has its premier scheduled for 2011.

“People are going to judge, to say that it’s insufficient, that there are too many slums. But this doesn’t make it any less formidable. Among all the indiscriminate evils that the violence perpetuates in the traffic chain, this project comes as an alternative to a huge problem in Rio,” finished the former president.


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