When violence reaches small towns

Boconó, Trujillo State

The city of Boconó, located in the Andean state of Trujillo has seen crime grow fast in the last twelve months. Local police admits that every weekend five robberies take place in the town, and retailers are now being extorted. Two who refused to pay were killed in their businesses.

Last week, there were protests there against the lack of security, including one that blocked one of the main entrances to the town.

In recent years, crime has radiated out from the major metropolitan areas into small cities all around the country. Boconó wasn’t the only place to make its discontent public last week.

The people of Sanare (in Lara state) took to the streets to demostrate against the rising numbers of robberies and kidnappings. Stores were closed for the fifth time in a year claiming for more police presence. But not all small towns in Venezuela raise their voice peacefully. Last July, the people of Timotes (Mérida State) simply lost their patience.

Another problem for inhabitants of small towns is the limited access they have to justice. The Chavernment committed itself to establishing 150 municipal courts this year, reducing the pressure on the overcharged system. But the process is going too slow and the TSJ (which manages the country’s courts) is not sure about their possible future.

The “sensation of insecurity” continues to spread across the nation and yet very urgent legislation like the long-delayed Disarmament Bill (Ley Desarme), gets the shaft for another year. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Néstor Reverol focuses his attention on fighting what he calls “destabilizing messages” in social networks.

Thems evil Internets!