The great public security swindle

Some unusual posters appeared in the streets of Caracas last Monday. Generic obituaries that remind us that violence is still out of control. The number of casualties in the capital last weekend was high once again. The prior weekend was even worse all around the country.

What’s the Chaverment’s response to this? The following TV spot could give you a hint.

Beside ripping off The Departed, the spot offers statistics that can’t be verified and don’t reflect reality. The first six months of 2012 ended with 52 murders per day and estimations indicate that 2012 could be the most violent year, with more than 20.000 violent deaths as a possibility.

The comandante presidente has tried for a long time to ignore law and order issues, but the upcoming election has forced him to display some initiative on the matter. Therefore, the Gran Mision A Toda Vida Venezuela was created. First announced in May and publicly presented in June, the 19th government plan to fight crime was finally published in July. So, what this plan can do that its predecessors couldn’t? Let’s see…

The plan is split in six lines of action: Crime prevention, police reinforcement, justice system transformation, prison sytem transformation, victim protection and the head-scratching “creation and socialization of knowledge for civic coexistance and security”. Wait, what?  They wanted to use “friendship is magic” first, but the name was already taken.

Some actions made earlier have been promoted as part of the plan as the reform of the Penal Code for example. In the case of the justice system, the latest report of Human Rights Watch gives a glimpse of where the “transformation” is really going.

The prison system transformation hasn’t started well, but quite the opposite. Recent events in a Merida State prison confirms the failure of the one-year old Prisons Ministry, created specifically to attempt controlling the collapse of our penitenciary system.

In the case of the police forces, the Chavernment has already started with the refoundation of the national investigative force (CICPC) and promising to put a large number of police officers in the streets ASAP, but still the gap between the number needed and the one available right now is too big. Beside that, police has become the new target of choice for delinquents in Caracas and other cities like Barquisimeto.

The most curious aspect of is that this plan is being sold as anything but a security plan. That’s not surprising: The head of the Chaverment still believes that the problem of insecurity is mostly exacerbated by the media. So, what’s the point of launching this plan anyway? Pure electioneering, I suppose. I wonder what one key member of the Interior Ministry will have to say after suffering the “sensation of insecurity” himself.