So I’m just now – far too late, I know – settling down to read Mirtha Riveros’s La Rebelión de los Náufragos, a blow-by-blow account the pivotal second CAP government of 1989-1993. It’s a cracking good read. I’ll be posting thoughts on it over days to come.
For now, I just want to note one nugget that staggered me. In her chapter about the Caracazo riots of 1989, Rivero notes how slow the High Government was to grasp the magnitude of what was going on. Even though widespread looting started in the early morning of February 27th and had spread to at least ten cities by noon, it was only late that night that President Pérez quite grasped that this wasn’t just an ordinary type riot he was dealing with, but a history-making national freakout.
In Rivero’s telling, CAP worked through the night, demanding updates from his security staff with more and more urgency. It wasn’t until the wee hours of the morning on February 28th that a Ministry of Defense report jolted him into realization that something catastrophic was afoot.
What was in this report?
Confirmation that 64 people had been killed in the first 24 hours of nationwide rioting.
From the vantage point of 2012, that’s downright quaint. On average, 53 people were killed violently each day in Venezuela last year.
27 de Febrero levels of violence are, quite literally, the New Normal.