Thinking global, living local: Voices in a globalized world

Panel: Security in the Face of Globalization

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The following article deals with the topic “Security in the Face of Globalization,” which is currently being discussed at the Global Economic Symposium in Rio. The author intends to enrich the discussion at the symposium with his personal stories and ideas.

A crime may be committed within the borders of a country like Brazil, although the weapon used in that crime was foreign, produced elsewhere. There’s no control over its production or its destiny. Crimes are globalized, but at the same time, there’s no real control over the tools of crime.

It’s not easy to control Brazilian borders, but it’s possible, and it’s even easier to control the origins and the destinies of the tools used for and obtained through smuggling. It’s a necessary way to control, or at least to monitor, the black market of weapons, bullets, etc. from their origins to the final consumer and, if the gun was diverted along the way, to enable better intelligence on its destination.

The mafias have become international, using online tools to communicate and taking advantage of the lack of control not only of borders but also of the arms trade. We must be able to track the weapons we make in any part of the world as we do with others products; it’s a first step in fighting international criminal organizations.

But, of course, this is just a simple first step. And “control” is not always the answer.

It doesn’t matter if we just start to track weapons or even drugs. The real problem lies in education, health, welfare, etc. In other words, the problem is social, arising from the way society organizes itself and sees itself and the way it deals with those who are and have been neglected.

It doesn’t matter how many people you throw in overcrowded jails, it will never be enough.

Police and other military and repressive forces have a very limited range of actions and effect if society remains ill, divided and individualistic. Repression is not the answer. If it was, the U.S. would be a heaven of peace, as it has one of the biggest prison populations (if not the biggest).

Addiction, social problems, illiteracy, lack of opportunities and jobs, lack of education, and failures in health systems, among others, are the main reasons for violence, trafficking, social exclusion, and violence. It’s all related.

One cannot really believe or think that the invasion and occupation of favelas and poorer areas will solve all — or any — of the many problems they (we) have. You can give the idea or sense of security, but we are talking about a melting pot of anger and resentment.

The solution to violence is not more “counter”-violence but social inclusion and welfare. It’s easy to occupy favelas using violence and terror, creating UPPs, but what about giving that population a chance, an opportunity?

Raphael Tsavkko Garcia Twitter: @tsavkkoRaphael

PhD candidate in Human Rights (Universidad de Deusto), MA in Communications (Cásper Líbero), Bachelor in Intl. Relations (PUCSP), blogger, journalist and author/translator at Global Voices Online.