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Cuban Government New Criminal Code and Brazilian Authorities Arrest Valdeci Alves Dos Santos

April 14-20, 2022 | Issue 4 - SOUTHCOM

Stacey Casas, Daniel Ruiz, Jhamil Moya, SOUTHCOM Team

Justin Maurina, Editor; Demetrios Giannakaris, Senior Editor


Date: April 15, 2022

Location: Cuba

Parties involved: Cuban government; Cuban Journalists from the Association for Press Freedom (APLP); Cuban citizens; Human rights Watch; Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)

The event: After approving a new criminal code, the Cuban government threatened Cuban journalists from the APLP with criminal proceedings. The new criminal code allows the Cuban government to convict those who allegedly receive foreign funding to support seditious acts. Cuban journalists supposedly received threats of legal reprisals if they received financial aid abroad.[2]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The Cuban government’s threats against journalists likely indicate increasing restrictions on freedom of speech. Restrictions will likely develop further to restrict foreign news sources, almost certainly attracting international attention from human rights advocates, such as Human Rights Watch. Repression of Cuban citizens will very likely escalate, likely fueling anti-government protests and increasing social unrest.

  • An increase in social unrest will likely cause protests similar to the 2021 protests. The police and military will almost certainly clash with protesters and arrest citizens, which will likely lead to escalating protests in Cuba and increased injuries and destruction of public property. A rise in protests will likely prompt the Cuban government to exert greater population control methods via phone interception, monitoring of social networks, and infiltration of protests to arrest protesters.

  • The Cuban government will almost certainly use the new criminal code for social extortion. The government’s objective is likely to implicate independent media in alleged foreign financing crimes to repress attempts to publish anti-government media. The Cuban government very likely seeks to censor the international condemnation of human rights violations from foreign governments and NGOs.

Date: April 17, 2022

Location: Salgueiro, Brazil

Parties involved: Brazilian government; Brazil's Justice Minister Anderson Gustavo Torres; Brazilian federal police; Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC); No. 2 leader of the PCC Valdeci Alves Dos Santos “Colorido”; Brazilian prisoners

The event: On April 17, Brazilian Justice Minister Anderson Torres announced that the federal police had captured the No. 2 leader of the First Capital Command (PCC), Valdeci Alves Dos Santos “Colorido,” in Salgueiro. He was on the most wanted criminals list and one of the leading suppliers of drugs to Brazil’s southeast. The PCC is one of the most powerful criminal organizations in the Americas, Brazil’s most powerful prison gang, and a significant exporter of cocaine.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • PCC members will likely seek retaliation against the federal police for Dos Santos’ arrest by targeting civilians around the city. Judges and other government officials involved in Dos Santos' incarceration process will likely receive threats from the PCC. PCC members will also likely seek to bribe local police officers to avoid further arrests.

  • Dos Santos’ arrest will very likely weaken the PCC, hindering its capacity to carry out short-term criminal operations. Senior leaders in the PCC will likely seek to replace Dos Santos quickly to avoid potential disruptions to its supply chain operations. There is a roughly even chance that losing Dos Santos will disrupt PCC’s revenue stream, likely causing internal conflict among senior leaders.


The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)

[2] Castro Regime Threatens Cuban APLP Journalists with Criminal Proceedings, Cubanos Por El Mundo, April 2022, (translated by Stacey Casas)

[3] Brazil arrests 'Colorido,' PCC drug gang's No. 2 leader, Reuters, April 2022,



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