My fears have been confirmed. São Paulo had a quiet Sunday. No bus was set ablaze, no Molotov cocktail was hurled against banks or public buildings, there were no attacks against policemen. The reader shouldn’t assume that I’m wishing bloody Sundays on my town. Nothing of the kind. It happens that, in this condition of state breakdown, the worst that might have occurred would be a Sunday without violence. This would mean that the pact between the state and the criminals has been reaffirmed.
When the State Prosecutor Office asked the Justice to not allow inmates to go home for Father’s Day, more than a hundred attacks shook the city. The Justice understood very well the message and rushed to release everybody. The prosecution still tried to prevent at least the release of the criminals linked to the PCC (Primeiro Comando da Capital – First Command of the Capital), who have been terrorizing the city.
But the Justice went beyond in its benevolence. It went as far as to offer privileged treatment in the city of São José do Rio Preto to five guerrilla members, transporting them in police cars, which were escorted to the airport.
The five VIP clients of the penitentiary system didn’t even have to worry about buying return tickets. The PCC now knows how to get prompt attention to their requests. All they have to do is to set a few dozen buses on fire, throw a few bombs here and there and sit and wait for the results.
Before Father’s Day, São Paulo governor Cláudio Lembo asked common-sense from the criminals, as if such virtue could be found among traffickers, murderers and kidnappers. “I am convinced that they will have common-sense to behave according to the date and according to the occasion.”.
He also said that he hoped that the inmates belonging to the PCC would be understanding towards society, preserving the integrity of everyone. “I believe in the human being. If I didn’t I would be in bad shape. The same way as I believe in the human being, I also believe to be possible that these people understand there is a society to be preserved. And that there is an individual dignity and physical integrity that belong to each one of us. The respect to the person should also be honored by them”.
The PCC’s answer to such noble belief in the human being was immediate. On Saturday they kidnapped a journalist and a technician of Globo TV network, to demand the broadcasting of a video. The manifesto brandishes a leftist speech, it berates the penitentiary system, asks for a task force to review sentences, as well as better jail conditions and criticizes the RDD (Differentiated Discipline Regime) which punishes with solitary confinement and other penalties those who badly misbehave.
Part of the text is an ipsis litteris copy of a government opinion, signed by criminologist Mariz de Oliveira. PCC and PT, the same battle.
Whoever transcribed it must be the worst shyster ever, because it confused illuminism and illusionism. At the end, the manifesto adopts a style more appropriate to banditry. “We do not want and cannot being (sic!) massacred”. In other words, the convicts claim the right of establishing their own prison system.
Wait a little and they will demand to be tried by their peers. Intent on preserving their employees’ life, Globo agreed to air the video. The PCC now knows how to conduct public relations. All they need is to kidnap journalists and threaten to kill them if the demands are not broadcasted urbi et orbi.
In kidnapping people to force the airing of a message, the PCC is just reading from the Left’s primer. Leftist leaders, today comfortably ensconced in power, call themselves saviors of the nation and enjoy millionaire retirement pensions as a reward for their criminal pasts. Perhaps nobody else remembers, but Fernando Gabeira, who today stands out as a stainless hero amidst Congress’s sea of mud, was one of the forerunners of this efficient strategy, when in 1969 he kidnapped American Ambassador Charles Burke Elbrick.
In acknowledgment of his notable feats, he was elected House representative. I wouldn’t be surprised if the scholarly Marcola (the PCC’s boss), the man who, they say, has read more than 3,000 books, would present himself to the electorate to run for office and get from the nation the same acknowledgment.
We had hardly established the connection between the methods of leftists in the 70s and those of the PCC and Gabeira already started to act all defensive. “We were not criminals,” says the deputy in interview to daily newspaper Estadão. Nobody likes to be diminished. Gabeira was a felon with an ideology in his head, which fed the grandiose project of turning Brazil into a socialist banana republic. The PCC never dreamt so high. All they want is a few privileges for their own.
Before the kidnapping, the São Paulo newspaper Jornal da Tarde had received an email in which the new defenders of human rights protest against “the years-long injustice, abuse of power, mistreatment, beatings and violence against the poor classes in this country.
“(…) We strive among ourselves for the maximum respect and solidarity and we support each other with social projects, sharing a little of all that we have in material stuff and human affection and our true fight is for human dignity without discrimination, we do not seek any kind of material profit from this fight, and for it we will sacrifice ourselves without sparing efforts”.
For those who arrive in mid conversation, the text conveys the idea of a letter of intentions from some philanthropic entity, possibly the internal statute of a Carthusian monastery. In its thirst for social justice, the PCC’s murderers and traffickers are not satisfied in advocating in their own cause. They demand the redemption of the nation’s poor and oppressed.
It’s nothing new that the guerrilla’s communications resemble the Catholic church and the PT’s platitudes. In a preceding message, the “Scream of the Oppressed Imprisoned,” the PCC proclaimed: “We are oppressed prisoners paying for some kind of mistake committed against society, some have not even made any mistake, but they suffer the human being’s injustices”.
The language is the same used by Lula and the PT. Nowhere can we see them talking about crimes, they are always mistakes. What always brings to mind the scruples of PT leader Tarso Genro when he talks about Stalinism’s deviations. Stalin did not commit crimes. Just slight deviations.
In this cultural broth in which crime is not crime, but mistake, in which kidnappers are not kidnappers but national heroes, and accordingly rewarded with fat retirements and seats in Congress, it’s no surprise that the PCC would try their luck.
In giving the crimes a political sense, we soon, who knows, might grant our current prison population amnesty, followed by fat retirements and compensations for the years unjustly spent behind bars. If it works great. If not, at least we tried. But let’s admit it. It will not work. The PCC members don’t have enough leftist juice.
Something that Oscar Niemeyer, for example, has enough. All the newspapers are vociferating today against the organized crime’s audacity. The daily Folha de S. Paulo, this Monday gave prime space in its pages to the Stalinist architect Niemeyer so that he could lament the death of the two Latin America biggest criminals, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. All PCC boss Marcola is lacking is its PT membership.
Press that grants prime space to praise the big murderers, has no moral authority to condemn the small fries.
Janer Cristaldo – he holds a Ph.D. from University of Paris, Sorbonne – is an author, translator, lawyer, philosopher and journalist and lives in São Paulo. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
Translated from the Portuguese by Arlindo Silva.