Brazil News

Weekly InSight: An Open Discussion on Crime and Corruption in Latin America

Weekly InSight: An Open Discussion on Crime and Corruption in Latin America

In our September 21 Facebook Live Session, Co-director Steven Dudley and Senior Editor Mike LaSusa discussed some of our viewers' questions concerning the most pressing crime and corruption issues in Latin America.

Brazil Profile

Brazil

Brazil

Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy, has seen some important security advances in recent years, taking dozens of communities in Rio de Janeiro from criminal gangs through its innovative UPP security program. However, it faces a serious threat from its two largest domestic criminal gangs, the First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando Capital - PCC) and Red Command (Comando Vermelho), who are becoming increasingly involved in the international drug trade, as well as operating extortion and kidnapping rings at home. Militia groups composed mostly of police are another source of violent crime, extorting entire neighborhoods and carrying out extrajudicial killings. The country is one of the biggest cocaine markets in the world and is an increasingly important drug trafficking transit point for cocaine shipments heading to Europe.

More Brazil News

  • Governor: Rio de Janeiro Almost Free From Gang Rule

    In a May 13 interview with Infobae America, the governor of Rio de Jaineiro says that the city is almost pacified, after a string of operations against drug gangs. 

  • Haitians Smuggled into Brazil Via Drug Routes

    Brazil's authorities are concerned about the increasing number of refugees from Haiti flooding into the country, traveling over routes more commonly used for drug trafficking.

  • The Comeback of Suriname's 'Narco-President'

    The president of the tiny Caribbean nation Suriname has been charged with murder, convicted of drug trafficking, and accused of leading an international drug cartel. So why is he in power?

  • Prison No Problem for Rio's Militia Leaders

    One of Rio de Janeiro’s biggest paramilitary leaders is still commanding his group from prison, according to reports. This calls into question the effectiveness of the government's campaign against the militias, now one of the main instigators of the violence in the city.

  • Brazil Red Command 'Members' Arrested in Paraguay

    Paraguay captured five alleged members of Brazilian gang Red Command (Comando Vermelho), a sign of Brazil's organized crime stretching out into the neighboring country in the wake of recent security crackdowns in Rio de Janeiro.

  • RioReal: Oba! Obama in Rio

    (Reprinted with permission from RioReal.)

    There were headsets for the Portuguese translation of U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech to an audience of over 2,000 at  Rio’s art deco version of the Paris Opera, but Rinaldo Gaudêncio Americo and his two bodyguards (“Jack” and “Bauer”) passed. Rinaldo was dressed up as Obama, and Obama wouldn’t need a headset.

  • Obama's Visit to Rio 'Favela' Highlights Security Strategy

    • On his first visit to Latin America, President Barack Obama has scheduled a visit to Rio de Janeiro's most famous 'favela,' or shantytown, Cidade de Deus, a nod to the city's recent efforts to quell criminal activity in these poor neighborhoods. At Americas Quarterly, contributing blogger Jason Marczak has a report on some of the NGOs and social advocacy groups active in Mare, another one of Rio's larger favelas. The magazine has more analysis about what awaits Obama during his first trip to Latin America, including what kind of influence could Japan's current nuclear disaster could exert during the stopover in Chile. In an Op-Ed, Obama said energy and economy are the top issues for the trip but discussions over security policy may take precedent once Obama arrives in Brazil on Saturday, and later El Salvador on March 22.
  • Video - Journalist in Rio Talks about Obama's Visit

    InSight Co-director Steven Dudley spoke with Taylor Barnes, a journalist based in Rio de Janeiro, about U.S. President Barack Obama's upcoming visit to Brazil and Barnes' perceptions of the security strategy implemented in the city.

    Barnes is based in Rio as the recipient of the Inter-American Press Association award, and writes for the Miami Herald and the Christian Science Monitor.

  • RawFeed: Inside a Rio Favela's Walls, Prejudices

    The Brazil that President Barack Obama will visit in the coming days is one that is being torn asunder by drug trafficking and violence. Akin to the violence that places like Los Angeles experienced in the 1980s around the crack epidemic, this situation is worst in the famous 'favelas,' or shantytowns in places like Rio de Janeiro.

    The video below, from a TV series that aired in February, gives you a glimpse inside one of those favelas, the Complexo do Alemao. It is courtesy of Roberto "Beto" Chaves, a civil police officer, who also works with the local NGO Afroreggae, an effort to get former traffickers to leave criminal gangs behind for good.

  • InSight: A Carnival of Police

    Carnival in Latin America means revelry, skin and ‘fiesta,’ or ‘festa’ as you might say in Portuguese. But it also means organized crime. From Rio to Barranquilla to Port au Prince, organized criminals have always financed the biggest party of the year.

    So it was strange to see this year that one samba school from the hillside slum of Salgueiro in Rio de Janeiro would have some of their members dressed as police. The homage to the security forces, however, may reflect the winds of change in that city.

Investigations

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