The relationship between violence, the drug war and the growth of the prison population was highlighted by Brazil’s former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso in conversation with Patricia Villela Marino, president of the Humanitas360 Institute (H360). The video with Mr. Cardoso, who serves as chairman of H360, was screened at the opening of the Institute’s annual board meeting, which took place on March 16th.
According to Mr. Cardoso, there is a lack of understanding about the impact of the current drug policy on violence rates in the region. “Here in Latin America, the first reaction is to arrest or kill. That is of no use. We need to understand it; we need policies that don’t focus on actions alone but on a long-term process. There has to be regulations for drug users. What has been done with tobacco? Nobody prohibited it, but combated it. It is much harder to smoke today than it was in the past,” Mr. Cardoso argued.
The former president also highlighted the crisis of representative democracy in Latin America and the movement that is going against it, which has been led by the most active part of civil society. According to him, this is a scenario in which the Humanitas Institute stands out for maintaining a permanent dialogue with the most diverse sectors of society, in addition to constantly working to engage citizens in the battle for improving the standards of living on the continent.