Members of Brazil’s PCC (the First Command of the Capital) staged a massive prison break from a Paraguayan penitentiary. This latest episode underscores how powerful the gang has become. But to truly understand what the gang is—and how it works—we have to look back to 1992, when Brazil witnessed the bloodiest episode in the history of its prison system.
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On this episode:
- Gabriel Feltran is a sociologist. He wrote the book “Irmãos: uma história do PCC” (or ‘Brothers: a history of the PCC’), in which he gives what was called the “most original approach to understanding why [the gang] grew to become so powerful.”
- Matthew Richmond is a visiting fellow at the Latin America and Caribbean Center of the London School of Economics. He holds a Ph.D. in Human Geography from King’s College and has studied the PCC.
- In our January 20 Daily Briefing, we talked about the Hollywood-esque prison break from a Paraguayan penitentiary (for premium subscribers).
- Reporter Diogo Rodriguez wrote about the First Command of the Capital’s rise to become a multinational criminal empire.
- The degrading conditions within Brazilian prisons are a great asset for the gangs—which offers protection in exchange for blind loyalty.
- Euan Marshall writes about how the Amazon rainforest became a strategic region for the drug smuggling business.
Explaining Brazil is made by:
- Gustavo Ribeiro, editor in chief of The Brazilian Report. He has extensive experience covering Brazilian politics. His work has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets, including Veja, Época, Folha de S.Paulo, Médiapart, and Radio France Internationale.
- Euan Marshall, editing. is a journalist and translator who has lived in São Paulo, Brazil since 2011. Specializing in Brazilian soccer, politics and the connection between the two, his work has been published in The Telegraph, Al Jazeera, The Independent, among others.
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