Latin America

The violent drug trafficking hotspot on the Paraguay-Brazil border

The small Paraguayan city of Pedro Juan Caballero was once known as a place for Brazilians to buy cheap electronics and domestic appliances — but it is now best known for being a crucial and violent drug crossing

drug brazil paraguay
Police forces operating along the Brazil-Paraguay border. Photo: Miguel Noronha/Agência F8/Folhapress

Perhaps, in a parallel universe, the small colonial Paraguayan city of Pedro Juan Caballero would be just another sleepy countryside town, with an economy based on cultivating the yerba mate which grows in abundance on its outskirts. But, in reality, it is one of the most violent places in the Southern Cone.

Home to little more than 100,000 people, the geographical location of Pedro Juan Caballero has been its downfall. Lying directly on the Paraguay-Brazil border and separated from the Brazilian city of Ponta Porã by nothing more than a series of barrier-less streets, Pedro Juan Caballero has become...

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