The hell down the street

sabaneta-carcelLast December, Prisons Minister Iris Varela announced the future closing of Sabaneta Prison in Maracaibo. A new jail (currently under construction) outside the city would be its replacement.

Everything was going according to plan, until a few days ago. Now, things have changed.

The residents of the area where the new prison is being built were not happy with the idea, so Zulia State Governor Francisco Arias Cárdenas (who was in favor of the plan) decided to drop it, and ditch the new jail. The future of Sabaneta is once again in the air. Meanwhile, violence continues to be a daily occurence inside its premises, making life close to impossible for those who live nearby.

With the relocation called off, the once hopeful neighbors of Sabaneta Prison are the biggest losers in this situation. How bad it is? Newspaper La Verdad has made a series of reports about how those living next door have become prisoners themselves.

It’s not just the stray bullets, but also the noise that doesn’t allow them to sleep when a pran is having a party. Those who dare to speak out have to move elsewhere. And the worst is that the local children are not afraid of the pranes – they want to be just like them!

One surprising thing is that those doing time in Sabaneta don’t like electrical blackouts, and in that at least they agree with almost everyone else. But they don’t protest with signs, but with gunshots.