A night of anger in the páramo


Independence Day was not a day of celebration in the small town of Timotes, deep inside the andean páramo.

While in Caracas a military parade (conmemorating a civilian event) was brodacasted on every radio and TV station, some inhabitants of this Merida State town stopped a possible robbery in a local store.

Hours earlier, Danny Briceño, a 32-year local man who was robbed and shot in the early hours of July 1st, died in a Hospital located in nearby Valera. People took the streets to protest the increase of crime in the area. Then the incident happened. The two suspected robbers were taken to the police station but that didn’t calm the protesters.

Suddenly, things spun out of control. Several vehicules were burnt. Riot police was called in. The electricity was cut out and there was some detentions by the authorities. The situation ended that same night. The following day, Mérida State Governor Marcos Díaz Orellana and the head of the police travelled to Timotes and have a dialogue.

Sadly for him, this particular problem wasn’t the only violence-related event in his state: The inmates of the local penitenciary are involved in a tense standoff in the last few days, with some casualties included. Meanwhile, the Domingo Salazar Dormitory Complex has become a center of crime and death inside the “City of Gentlemen”.

Violence is now endemic in every single part of Venezuela, no matter how remote. Even in the Island of Coche two years ago or more recently in the Guayana region, isolated rural hamlets are witnessing a surge of criminality and, sometimes, they respond by lashing out violently.

The new government security plan, A Toda Vida Venezuela, was made public more than three weeks ago, but it has not achieved any inmediate effects at all. The weekend prior to this incident, the number of victims in the country stood at 247. The capital Caracas only covered the 22% of that number. So far, it has not accomplished anything positive in the streets or in the public opinion. Too little, too late.

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.


  1. Until Oct 7, Chavez will attempt to hide the crime statistics, blame it on imperialist gangs, or on the opposition. He will in no way attempt to stop the crime.

    It seems that almost everyone is harmed by crime in Venezuela. Why would anyone but criminals vote for Chavez?

    • I personally know someone whose 15 year old daughter was shot by gangs in her barrio. They had insurance which only managed to keep her in a private clinic for a day, then she was sent to a public hospital. The hospital sent her home with the bullet inside, no room and needed the bed! Daughter passed away at home and mother became even more Chavista.

      Basically, once the news came out in her community, the Chavistas went knocking on her door providing support and started blaming the private clinic for letting her go once the insurance coverage ran out. The Chavistas blatantly omitted that it was gang violence that shot her in the first place and didn’t mention a single a word about the mala praxis of the public hospital, more liable than the private.

      That’s manipulation of the weakest at its best!

  2. Times have changed. Back in the day, my opinion of Timotes was that it was “tranquilo, tranquilo.” Also a great relief from Maracaibo’s heat.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here