Inside Peru’s largest and most notorious prison, an unlikely sort of democracy has emerged. Bloc 7, which houses those accused of international drug trafficking, is the site of yearly elections, with everything a political campaign on the outside would have: door-to-door politicking, horse-trading, intrigue, campaign parties and rallies, speeches and even secret ballots. How did this surprising system develop, and why? Daniel Alarcón spent two weeks inside Lurigancho, observing the most recent election, in order to find out.
Daniel Alarcón is a CLAS Visiting Scholar and the author of two story collections, a graphic novel, and Lost City Radio, which won the 2009 International Literature Prize. He is co-founder of Radio Ambulante and was named one the New Yorker’s 20 Writers Under 40 in 2010.