The Battle of Sabaneta Prison Ends (Updated)

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Relatives of Sabaneta’s inmates were allowed inside to retrieve their personal belongings

In the end, there was no final battle between Sabaneta Prison pran-in-chief “El Mocho Edwin” and State forces. Instead, all the remaining inmates were moved out over the weekend.

“El Mocho” backed down on his earlier promise to stay inside Sabaneta no matter what. He was transferred in an armored vehicle to a military aircraft, which took him and other 13 inmates to Tocorón Prison (in Aragua). The entire operation was done at Edwin’s request.

What about the rest of regular inmates? They were put in government buses and spread around prisons all over the country. But they weren’t the only people living in Sabaneta: lots of inmates’ relatives lived there for almost six months, including between 200 and 300 children (according to an unnamed source of the Prisons Ministry).

For those waiting on the outside, their main priority is trying to figure out where their relatives are by looking at the lists published by the authorities. But not all inmates were included, leaving their close ones worried sick. The whereabouts of at least 60 prisoners remains unknown.

To make it up to them, they were allowed instead to take their loved ones’ personal belongings back with them, from AC units and electrical appliances to pets. Zulia State Governor Francisco Arias Cárdenas has also pledged financial aid so they can travel to other prisons.

Meanwhile, Prisons Minister Iris Varela sees last week’s events in Sabaneta as nothing short of a “victory”. For the government, this was no battle, just a “pacification”. And who’s taking full electoral advantage of all this? None other than Chavismo’s candidate for Mayor of Maracaibo Miguel Ángel Pérez Pirela.

Sabaneta Prison may be empty for now, but Prannation goes from strength to strength.

UPDATE: To make things even more bizarre, Sabaneta Prison had its own version of a zoo. Between the animals found inside there were two ocelots, a small caiman (babilla), three macaws, a raccoon, a pig and lots of dogs. Some of those animals belonged to the personal collection of former pran-in-chief Edwin Soto.

1 COMMENT

    • That was really, really scary. Of course, I decided to look for the complete video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4e7eKpeb9_8

      After the warning, it’s really depressing, you get “los pranes” drinking and doing coke (and showing off guns) and then calling their ‘partners’ in Colombia who are likewise shirtless thugs talking about money and drugs and guns. So then the ‘paisas’ go and bring the singers to the prison, and it just gets scarier.

      It’s scary not just because it’s a group of thugs holding military weapons (and I really don’t like guns, I’ve never even seen one being fired), but because of the larger implications. I said it before, but the mixture of guns, drugs and absence (and to an extent collaboration) of the State is a mixture that we Colombians know is nothing but explosive. “Absence of the State” takes on a weird flavour since it is inside prisons, it is not so much a physical absence but rather that it has lost the monopoly on armed force, it has lost control over the institutions, it has lost control over people and territory.

      When I look at Venezuela and everything that goes on I think, well, at least they have been spared the decades and decades of senseless violence that we’ve had. This makes me fear otherwise.

  1. “But they weren’t the only people living in Sabaneta: lots of inmates’ relatives lived there for almost six months, including between 200 and 300 children (according to an unnamed source of the Prisons Ministry).”

    Incredible! 200-300 kids living in the prisons!!!

  2. “Se conoció que además de la fauna silvestre encontrada dentro de la cárcel existían vacas, cochinos, chivos, gallinas, gallos, aves y mapaches, algunos eran para alimentarse otros usados en peleas y para su recreación. También se tenían perros como mascotas. Los caninos eran de diferentes razas, entre ellas: pitbulls, mastín napolitano, lobo siberianos y yorkshire terrier para los 192 niños que vivían en el penal” http://www.lapatilla.com

    OMG!!!!!!!!! This is SO freacking outrageous!!!!!!

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