Spear to the heart

Gone too soon
Gone too soon

As the father of a five-year old girl, it’s impossible for me not to be deeply shaken by the horrible fate of former Miss Venezuela Mónica Spear and her husband. Read the grim details here, I simply have no words to write about the events.

All I can say is that there is no solution in sight to the horrific crime wave gripping our country. Solving the crime problem is going to require a lot of things chavismo simply doesn’t have: brains, funding, the capacity to think outside the box, the willingness to go tough on malandros, and the ability to forge consensus across vast swathes of society.

Instead, the public outrage that is quickly building up will be channeled into some “Patria Segura“-like plan, full of smart logos, deceitful advertising, and lots of fat men in uniform.

Nothing will come of it because the problem has ceased being the crime wave.

The problem is chavismo itself.

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  1. I’m sure right now the revolutionary government is working hard to find the perpetrators of this horrible crime by airing a 12 hour long documentary about the US mortgage crisis on VTV.

    • Oh, I’m sure they will find the guilty parties, or at least two poor saps they will blame for the murders. But the underlying problem will persist.

  2. Unfortunately people get used to stress and many don’t realize the situation they are actually in.Then others even make excuses like ” we have to live in the moment, enjoying everyday without worrying about the future”….and it all sounds so Zen, you know.

    In this form of Buddhism, we would see suffering in any form as wrong or at least unenlightened.

    How can a problem be confronted when a large percentage of the people are not outraged and /or afraid to express rage?
    It’s a sad situation indeed, and very disturbing.

  3. I have been shaken deeply by these news. It is not the first time that I hear about a very similar situation. Someone’s car breaking down and becoming “statistics”. For some reason I can’t explain why in this case I was (as mny others) very affected by this. Maybe it was the nonsense of the crime. The car was left, maybe some cellphones and some money was stolen. Maybe it was the fact that she was 29 years old as I am. Maybe it was the fact that she was travelling around the country showing her daughter that she had at least that to be proud of. Maybe it was the fact that her daughter was not only shot, but witnessed how both her parents were shot. Probably it is all of them. Most likely it is because, as Nagel said, there is no solution in sight.

    Some people may be found. Maybe not. Truth is that this sad episode is bound to repeat itself. Maybe it will be one of us. Maybe, if we are lucky with our Venezuelan Russian Roulette it won’t be us.

    The crime problem in Venezuela is systemic. It will require not only to redefine law enforcement, but it needs a better legal framework, much more effective tribunals and court rooms (can’t stress this enough) and a correction system that works. Simultaneously, we must create opportunities, treat those that have been infected by violence. Violence is a disease of the mind, and we are suffering at epidemic proportions. We need urgent treatment.

      • Brilliant video.

        “… a new strategy, a new set of methods, a new set of workers. Science in a way replacing morality, and moving away from emotions … to science is the most important part of the solution”

        Powerful words…

      • Awesome video.

        I wonder what ever happened to the jueces de paz (peace judges) initiative? I’ve yet to hear of it being implemented successfully in any city, municipality or state in Venezuela. I think peace judges could fill the role of “violence interruptor” in our society.

      • How do you reverse the trend of violence in Venezuela? Everything very nice in the video, but how you adapt it to Venezuela? Venezuelan reality is not even the worst gettho in any American city, for many reasons. Close but not the same. The concept of building a neighborhood is a great one and works on a type of malandro who is dipping in the waters but it’s not a total coño de su madre with no way back, you know what I mean? If they give the decision to me I give a gun to any law abiding citizen and wish them well, not punish the citizen for killing a malandro who enters your home to rape and kill you. Since the law in the country are a joke, you need a effective method for citizens to defend themselves, a way to depute the jail system too. Those harsh methods in order to prevent even harsher realities, I am afraid to think a horrible civil war might come to Venezuela. God forbids.

        • There are different types of actions, the criminal most be removed and corrected (the infected patient), the persons that had contact with that person must be also treated and so on for a few levels.

    • Rodrigo, I think you nailed it, specially the part about the disease of the mind. I usually tell people that the problem is that we have many psychopaths in the streets that are feeding a type of violence you only see in places going through war. A friend of a friend was robbed while stuck in traffic and she meekly handed over everything via a small opening of the window. They guy shot her in the leg told her it was so next time she would not hand over everything so easily. That’s how a psychopath behaves. You don’t break that circle by only taking away the guns or bulldozing the favela like they did in Brasil. You need a comprehensive approach and any government would be challenged to even start making a dent on this issue, THIS government doesn’t even want to. A lot of the armed thugs are part of their network of support, they are not going to piss them off by doing anything real about this. While Chavismo is in power there will not be improvement of this epidemic.

      • Very important point that many armed thugs who commit crimes are also part of their “network of support”, intimidating people. What ideas would be consider to this comprehensive approach for the Venezuelan reality?

  4. I think the main cause of such a high crime rate is the huge amount of weapons freely running in Venezuela. Conservative estimations talks about 6 – 7 million (one per 4 people), mostly unregistered. Goverment started a plan about a year ago to reduce this ilegal arsenal but they were aiming to remove just 100 thousands a year which helps very little based on existing armory (and most likely they just achieved a fraction of the goal). This is the main difference I see comparing Venezuela to other Latin America countries with similar or worst social inequality but with a much smaller murder rate than in our country.

    • It goes much deeper than just guns. There’s something fundamentally rotten at the core of Venezuela that compels people to use those guns. A gun is simply pieces of metal that rely on a controlled chemical reaction to accelerate a projectile. The problem isn’t the guns, per se, but the people using them.

      Inequality? Greed? Jealousy? Impunity?

      We could debate the gun thing forever. Wouldn’t solve the problem.

      I, personally, lean towards the ineffectiveness of the government.

      When we do a country’s financial risk assessments, we look at the crime rate and, in particular, the violent crime/murder rates. Why would we look at that? Well, its a measure of the government’s efficiency in dealing with societal problems. If the government cannot handle violent crime, they are likely to be unable to deal with a stable economic policy and management of the currency in either short of long terms. Unsurprisingly, the “revolutionary” government fails utterly to manage pretty much anything within the country…aside from acquiring control of the media.

      As Mr. Nagel points out: its the government, chamo. Whether it be the corrupt and inefficient police, the corrupt and inefficient justice system, or the corrupt and inefficient prison/remediation/reintegration system, they are all controlled by one source. Look to El Moustachio, Godgiven Hair, and Iris (with the not-so Godgiven Hair) and all the rest, from the education minister who is utterly failing in educating the children to Rafa and the Monk who destroy the economy in the name of the revolution and remove productive opportunities for people who become criminals instead. But above all, turn thine eyes to the Eternal Comandante who set all of this in motion; the fellow who had the political capital, charisma and sheer power to fix this situation and turned a blind eye to it and who just happened to be fortunate enough to die before it blew up in his face.

      The “revolution” is just that. It is a war on Venezuelans.

    • The darkness. At the heart of darkness lies a voracious appetite to ignore, to subsume, to destroy goodness so as to build, to consolidate, and to control a pipeline of nefarious activities that yield easy money for a select few at the expense of many.

  5. Thousands died in 2013: Just dry, unpopular stats.
    but leave it to the death of a former Miss, and let the massive outcry begin.
    because this time, the line has been crossed and it “really” hurts like a spear to heart. Pathetic.
    Cynicism at its finest.

    • It happens all the time – humans are drawn to particularly shocking individual stories … sometimes more than to dry statistics. It’s not cynicism, it’s the way our brains and hearts are wired.

      Filmmakers know this better than anyone – why do you think “Schindler’s List” or “Hotel Rwanda” were so moving?

    • Max, Juan is right, it’s not cynicism. It’s just that we are not that emotionally affected by statistics. Everyone here knows and is outraged that thousands of people die horrific deaths in Venezuela because of crime, but when we learn of a case, any case, with real people, it somehow gets to us more strongly. It’s like car accident statistics: We can read all about them, even be concerned and outraged by some of the aggravating factors due to the hopeless state of Venezuelan roads, driver education, etc. But when we know someone injured, or killed by a car crash, man that really gets to us. Have you ever heard the phrase “a million deaths is statistics, one death is tragedy”?

    • It’s good that people are shocked with this unfortunate event. I am so sorry for her loss and for the little girl, but Monica and her husband represented a lot of nice things about Venezuela, and that’s why it’s the top of the jar in a million faceless murdered, it took one for people to cry out loud. We all know horrible crimes happened to many of us, but this one touched all of us at the same time.

  6. I live abroad and I have always refused to just give up and never return. Before tickets were sky high as they are now I would take my whole family back for Christmas.

    Every time I drove up from the airport with my family I would let the cab driver give us the “tour of terror” by recounting all the violence his daily route has seen over the years. We would also travel through Venezuela, with great trepidation.

    The decision is so difficult. Give up knowing your roots and nurturing a relationship with “tios y primos” or stay home safe and raise another gringuito with spanish names.

    And in good measure, the weekend before I travel I will go to confession, better be ready to meet your Maker.

    • I feel for you. I’m faced with the other side of the equation.

      A bone of continuous contention in our house is my abject refusal to allow our kids to go to Venezuela. My wife feels I’m forcing her to abandon family and friends and her whole culture and that I’m denying our children access to their heritage. I simply want our family to survive.

      She left Venezuela in 1999. Despite numerous trips back, including taking the older daughter with us several times, she cannot see the changes in the country. She asserts that it isn’t that much more dangerous now than a few years ago and that being here is risky as well (local murder rate? .9, state as a whole? 1.8). Even with our nephew being murdered two blocks from her mother’s house over a feud and a sweatshirt from my alma mater, she thinks Venezuela isn’t “that bad”.

      I understand the allure of home, family and country. I want my children to be proud of their Venezuelan roots. However, they would stick out like sore thumbs with their English and gringo-accented Spanish, clothes, and mannerisms. I cannot make my kids targets.

      It hurts just thinking of what that poor little girl is going through.

      • Same here pitiyanqui. I used to send my oldest daughter to Maracaibo, my home town, every year. No more.

        Rene, I sympathize with you.I ended up raising three gringas. It worked out but they do not understand their father’s homeland they way they ought to.

        Several things about this tragedy deepen its meaning for me:

        – These three victims were spending their vacations in Venezuela. Precisely what the information minister condemned the oppos for not doing.
        – Thomas Berry (her husband) ran a tourist agency in Venezuela. He walked the talk. Contrast with the “tourism minister”.
        – There is a personal connection. Berry’s father is a respected math professor at Universidad Simon Bolivar, my alma mater.

        Do they have to suffer the ultimate fate for their love of Venezuela?

        There but for the grace of God, go I.

        • She thinks it is bad…just not that bad.

          While we were talking about the particulars of this case, she pointed out that this exact same scenario happened to her cousin’s husband about 4-5 years ago. Something was placed on that exact same stretch of road and when he hit it, he lost control of his car, rolled and was partially ejected. While he was bleeding to death internally from his injuries, they descended on him like vultures and stole everything they could, including his watch and wallet that he still had on his person, and left him to die. Sadly, he was conscious the entire time; he made it to the hospital but by then he was delirious: he was begging the paramedics and doctors to not steal from him, but please save him instead.

          (A whole other topic of discussion is that the doctors waited for proof that they would be paid before they even attempted to help him. His ID and insurance information were in his wallet. Between the hour and a half it took for him to arrive at the hospital and another two hours to identify him, he could likely have been saved if someone had actually “helped” him.)

          We’ve hashed it out extensively. She thinks she is aware of the danger. She believes the media plays up the drama aspect despite what her family tells her to the contrary. I think it is a severe case of rose-colored glasses syndrome, and to a certain degree, I wholly understand; it is home after all and she is right that Merida is marginally safer than Caracas. If not for the kids and I, she’d move back in an instant

          I think she also feels guilty. We couldn’t get tickets in a reasonable manner right after our nephew died, and she feels the call of her family despite repeated warnings from them not to come. They believe, as I do, that she would become first a target, and then a victim.

          Either way, it has lead to some significant disagreements on occasion. I understand her going; she has at least some understanding of the risks. I cannot, however, rationalize sending my children into that den of adders under any circumstances.

          She loves the Venezuela that was and adores the Venezuela that could be. I think, however, that she wouldn’t truly recognize the Venezuela that is; it would be a complete stranger to her.

          • I understand your wife. I know a lot of people who are abroad who really need their country. I never had that problem. Although I truly enjoy when I go back, they are things I really can’t overlook. Wish you well and a safe trip if you guys are travelling to Venezuela soon.

      • My wife and I have the same discussion. I am terrified to allow her or my son to travel to Valencia. I know she takes all the precautions, but still! She has told me that if we can get her mom out of Venezuela she will have no reason to go back.

    • I can’t say how much I empathize with what you are describing. We are still planning to go, but I wonder if I really should. I (unlike pitiyanqui’s) am totally clear on how bad things have gotten. It used to be that if you practiced some common sense you could mostly avoid becoming a statistic, but it’s getting harder and harder to hide from this.

        • Rene,

          I have a believer friend from Margarita who called me some moths ago, and just while she expressed to me her salvation from harm for being a believer and as we were talking, she heard someone pull up to the front to her house, and make a noise…then suddenly went into panic mode and cried that it sounded like someone was trying steal her water tank.

          old joke:

          God Will Help Me

          There was a very religious man named Jim, who lived near a river. One
          day, the river rose over the banks and flooded the town, and Jim was
          forced to climb onto his porch roof. While sitting there, a man in a
          boat came along and told Jim to get in the boat with him.
          Jim said, “No, that’s okay. God will take care of me.”
          So, the man in the boat drove off.
          The water rose higher, so Jim climbed onto his roof. At that time,
          another boat came along, and the person in that one told Jim to get
          Jim replied, “No, that’s okay. God will take care of me.”
          The person in the boat then left.
          The water rose even more, and Jim climbed onto his chimney. A
          helicopter came along and lowered a ladder for him. The woman in the
          helicopter told Jim to climb up the ladder and get in.
          Jim said, “That’s okay.”
          The woman said, “Are you sure?”
          Jim replied, “Yeah, I’m sure God will take care of me.”
          Finally, the water rose too high and Jim drowned. Jim got to heaven
          and was face-to-face with God.
          Jim said to God, “You told me that you would take care of me! What
          God replied, “Well, I sent you two boats and a helicopter. What else
          did you want?”

          • Which reminds me of my third year Spanish class. Every week the teacher would post a Spanish language proverb/folk saying on the wall. One I remember: “A Dios rogando y con el mazo dando.” [God helps those who help themselves.] Or as is said in Venezuela, Dale clavo.

          • But when you have to go, you have to go…., and if you must go to Venezuela… My point is not to tempt fate, but instead play the odds of the russian roulette, hence the prayer 🙂

        • I know, and although few can afford to invite their whole family, it might be better to invite them to Bogotá or Cartagena for some relax time.

          • My close family is about 40 people. That’s the brothers, sisters, their kids, and their grandkids. We are in the same dilemma Rene has described. What you are doing makes a lot of sense. When we can afford to charter a plane to take the family to a peaceful country for a holiday we will do it. Meanwhile, the only way to mitigate this situation is to support reasonable people who are working to change Venezuela.

          • Of course, when you have to go you have to go, like Rene said. It’s just like facing a surgery with some not that great odds and be prepared for the worst.

  7. This morning, another Venezuelan acquaintance of mine announced his intention to leave Venezuela. This is becoming routine. His main reason? Crime.

    • The tradeoffs people I know make are excruciating painful .

      Case in point.

      My wife’s cousin, a VERY successful MD at a top rated private clinic in Caracas, ABANDONS everything to be a babysitter in a safer country. A close friend, an ophthalmologist, leaves everything to become a photographer in a big city in the north. Both are way in to their forties!

      And they did not leave out of need, they left because of fear! Can you imagine starting again at this age? And then the sad reality of the incessant drain of talent from the country… like Cuba.

      • To uproot one’s self is not easy. The acquaintance I spoke of is very sad and not a little apprehensive. But, life here has become insufferable for many people.

      • Better to be a busdriver (pun intended) in peace on a 1st world country, than president of Venezuela, you know. Glad to hear those two MDs came to their senses. I know many people abroad who don’t want to be abroad, but they are safe, and I am happy for them. I suffer so much for my family in Caracas. The parents of a political cousing, two elderly, in their ealry 80s, were killed horrible on a home invasion in their home. You tell me, is it better to be living in Venezuela because you can pay a cachifa and maintain some living status, or be poorer but with peace? I don’t know if any of us Venezuelans can have peace, it’s always some horible story.

  8. That path between Valencia and Puerto Cabello: lots of people I know travel through it every day and they have been victims of crime time after time. Yesterday another relative of mine
    was robbed, a few days earlier two bikers threatened one in the middle of traffic in Caracas.
    As Juan said: the bastards in power will probably try to do something to catch some of the murders of this case and that’s it, just like they did with the case of those children of the industrialist and so on.

  9. This can happen to anyone in Venezuela. No one is safe. This couple was on vacations making a road trip as many of us do when we accept the risk of going to Venezuela for the holidays. The murderers are so heartless that they filled up the car with bullets even though there was a five year old girl inside it. It is very possible that the car had tinted windows and that they fired without seeing who was inside, but that’s not in the least an attenuating factor. On the contrary, it makes it worse. There is a profound dehumanization of people in Venezuela. These individuals do not have any qualms about killing people, adults or children. This is a direct consequence of the actions of the grandísimos hijos de la gran puta who claim to govern Venezuela that have allowed criminals do whatever they want with almost complete impunity. 15 years of stinking crap, corruption, carelessness, incompetence and irresponsibility have taken a country that was in bad shape to the complete chaos in which it is immersed today. As long as people don’t understand that this is a direct consequence of government policies (or lack thereof) and that Chavez, Maduro and the bunch of incompetent thugs that have paraded in different government positions for the last 15 years are made responsible as it corresponds, the tragedy of the senseless loss of lives to steal a few bolivars, a pair of shoes or an old car will not stop and it will even continue to get worse, as difficult as it is to fathom (yes, there’s still a lot of room for things to get worse in Venezuela!). The reason is the absolute impunity and the creation of a steadily growing class of dehumanized individuals who are amoral rather than immoral. This is a direct result of 15 years of crap, and I’m not over-reacting here, as murders like this occur almost daily, but we don’t notice or don’t put the same attention unless it happens to someone close to us or to a celebrity. I can name three or four people I have known closely that have been killed in attempted car thefts in the past five years, as I am sure most of the people reading this can do as well. I can also mention half a dozen close calls in which relatives or close friends of mine luckily ended with the thugs taking away their car and other possessions. Chavistas can say whatever they want, but things were not nearly as bad prior to 1998.

    A person who is capable of committing such a horrendous crime is not a human, but a beast. The Venezuelan regime is slowly creating a country of beasts and a population that tolerates living among beasts. The rest of the population, like in a bad zombie movie, are either attempting to run away or surrendering to the dehumanization.

  10. When I was in that situation, the thugs took a hell of a lot more from me than a cell phone but did not feel the need to shoot me anyway. What does it say about us as a society when I tell this story to coworkers, family and friends, and the response I get is always: “Gracias a Dios te tocaron malandros de buen corazon”?
    At this point, it’s not a case of whether or not you’ll be a victim of crime, it’s whether or not the scum pointing a gun at your face will shoot first and ask for your belongings later.

    • And the question now is what do you do with these kids and what are we going to do with the hundreds of kids who have been a victim of violence and whose set of values and principles is distorted out of recognition?

      Six shots at the car. Not a warning shot. That’s how they dealt with the frustration of not being able to rob them.

      • That’s the million dollar question. What do we do with the malandros?

        I can think of three “pillars”, maybe there’s a couple more.

        Protection: Separate thugs from society, lest their violence breeds more violence and more victims. More police patrolling, community police, prison, mental institutions, penal colonies or house arrest could be viable methods of keeping thugs from hurting people.

        Punishment: Punish thugs for their deeds, because is their commeuppance and to deter other people from turning into thugs out fear of being punished. This has strong religious roots, think sins and damnation. It also has a lot of research establishing punishment isn’t a deterrent if you think you’re smarter than everybody else or the justice system doesn’t work, or if you’re acting on an impulse, or if you don’t mind paying the price. Some methods used to pursue this path are prison, forced labor, harsh coditions, long sentences, criminalization of undesirable actions, less leniency on minors, etc.

        Rehabilitation/Disruption: Turn thugs into law abiding citizens, since few thugs means little crime. It’s the social theory en vogue. It emphasizes reinsertion of thugs into society, building more community centers/sport centers/craft schools to keep young people out of trouble, training community mediators to solve problems peacefully, birth control to disrupt the misery cycle, decriminalizing victimless crimes, etc.

        There’s got to be some combination of those three pillars to deal with the problem successfully. I hope the public discussion in Venezuela on this subject will start in the medium term. In the short term, all we have is partisan politics.

        • In the US there are two basic solutions to handling the chronic criminal , one, you stop them from being born by persuading the would be mothers ( which can be identified psychologically through their upbringing environment) from having them by making birth control and abortion an easy and favoured alternative when they become pregnant and lack the means of raising their children or dont want them for themselves ( but only to hook up the fathers to themselves) . Freakonomics (the book) quoted studies which showed that in the US as each state adopted abortion the crime rate started to fall precipitously some fixed number of years after its adoption, so that states that were the first to adopt abortion experienced a fall in their violent crime rate first and those that adopted it later had their drop in violent crime some years later than the former. The other solution long heavy penalties and high rates of imprisonment for recidivist criminals which makes the US one of the countries with a highest number of imprisonned population in the world , (in short by taking them out of circulation for long periods) . Maybe if in Venezuela irresponsible parents were fined and made to maintain their abandoned children that would also help. Rehabilitation is possible but only for a certain percentage of the criminal population , those who were never abandoned by their parents but ended up becoming what father Moreno calls ‘circumsntancial criminals’.

          • The thing about long penalties is that, to be effective on their own, they have to be practically for life, so the thug you’re not reforming doesn’t commit crime once released. Some times they’re literally life sentences, sometimes death penalty (which I don’t support), and sometimes you just take in young men in their late teens – early twenties and release old men in their sixties – seventies. It requires a properly funded prison system too.

            Rehabilitation isn’t just aimed at “criminals, criminals” it also tackles violent people. There’s been a surge of news stories in Venezuela like someone shooting a friend for mocking him about baseball results, domestic fights gone to stabbings or shootings, a Valencian woman recently shot two men dead for using vulgar compliments, young men fighting over someone dancing with someone else’s girlfriend, young women fighting over someone flirting with someone else’s boyfriend, and so on and so forth.

            Instead of abortion, I would prefer a modern sexual education. Not because of religious reasons, but because abortion is more dangerous and responsible sexuality leads to fewer pregnancies and fewer STDs for a lower cost.

            I like reforms like the one Uruguay recently approved, that aim to defund drug trafficking networks and focus police resources away from non-violent drug users.

            Another point is that honest work needs to start paying. People who break their backs cleaning offices or work as store clearks or other minimum wage jobs can’t afford the minimum food basket without subsidies, can’t afford to rent even a room in a decent house/apartment. Someone steals a smartphone which sells for VEF 30,000 and sell it at VEF 15,000, and they’d be making almost 5 minimum wages instantly. Honest work in Venezuela pays too little, while crime pays barely enough.

          • I have it from a psychiatrist relative that sociopaths like our marginal society is breeding in record numbers cannot be rehabilitated , they are what they are for life , so long prison sentences at least take them out of circulation and during that time their prospective victims are protected . Read of an american cook long time ago who biologically was a walking germ bomb making anyone she came in contact become infected with her germs even though she (who had developed inmunity ) remained healthy, She was finally declared a public health hazard and put in a life time quarantine in a island until she died . Same principle applies to a criminal sociopath . You cant treat them as if they were normal people because they arent.
            The long term solution is to change the mentality of the marginal men and women who practice indiscriminate prosmicuity breeding children they later irresponsably abandon causing them emotional injuries that convert them into violent criminals . I you cant do that short term you have to make it easier for them not to breed which means trying to persuade them through various means to either use contraceptives or have abortions.
            Meantime effective law enforcement is your only defense against the depradations of the now burgouning criminal class , For that you need competent crime prevention and law enforcement institutions to function which in turn means having competent and responsible leaders who put have the resources to build that kind of institutions which means forming the people and building the organization to make them run . Thats difficult and usually takes a long time because there are also cultural factors that make it difficult to form find the people and create the organizational cultures that can run those institutions competently.
            In turn the typical mentality of the kind of people our sick marginal societies breeds in such great numbers creates electoral opportunities for cheap demagogues to become elected , demagogues who dont bother with taking any effective measures to control crime , who destroy the institutions that do exist to handle crime prevention and punishment and generally prevent the problem from ever being tackled with any rationality . So its a vicious circle , the same socio cultural problems that make our crime rate so high also operate to make our political system so dysfunctional because they breed people who lack the education , information , character traits , habits , intellectual literacy that makes for a working democracy . .

          • I agree that properly working police, prisons, attorney generals, public defenders, judges, bailiffs are a necessary condition to solve this violence problem. In particular to protect the population by keeping criminals from becoming repeat offenders.

            My point is that is it not sufficient. Because some violence isn’t “criminal, criminal”, and because there would still be first time offenders.

            That’s why I also advocate interrupting the violence-breeds-violence cycle, and would also like something done about the misery cycle of teen pregnancy-irresponsible dad-troublesome youngster.

        • Amigo esto muy bonito y todo pero si usted vive en cualquier barrio peligroso o en cualquier lugar de Venezuela para los mismos efectos, lo que se necesita es un lanza llamas y carta blanca, preguntele a un policia de confianza, a ver que le cuenta.

          • Carta blanca para que? Para que los vecinos se linchen entre sí? Así es como estamos ahorita, que cualquier disputa vecinal o entre amigos se resuelve a tiros (https://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/sucesos/por-un-piropo-una-mujer-mato-a-2-hombres.aspx)

            O la carta blanca es para que la policía asesine gente y se lave las manos diciendo que “no se paró en una alcabala” o “se resistió al arresto” o “ignoró una voz de alto”? Porque así estábamos en 2012, antes de que recogieran al CICPC y al SEBIN. Así murió la familia de un diplomático chileno en Maracaibo (http://www.notitarde.com/Seccion/Efectivos-del-Cicpc-mataron-a-tiros-a-la-hija-del-consul-de-Chile-en-Maracaibo-97097/2012/03/18/97097)

            Lo que hace falta es que se cumpla la Ley que tenemos, e ir haciendo las modificaciones necesarias al código legal para mejorar la calidad de vida de la gente, y cumplirlas también. Ignorar la ley es lo que nos trajo hasta donde estamos.

          • Si, carta blanca para linchar azotes de barrio que tienen jodido a todo el mundo. No todos los malandros son malucos pero hay algunos que si tiene que irse para el mas allá porque aqui en este planeta no hay cupo ni en carceles ni en la sociedad civil para ellos y la gente, los vecinos saben quienes son. Son los carajos que joden a todos los demas y que simplemente no tienen rehabilitacion alguna, que estan metidos en toda vaina mala en fin, ese individuo. Hay que limpiar el pais de esos coños desgraciadamente para muchos tuvieron mala suerte de haber nacido donde les tocó a lo mejor su papa les pegaba que se yo, pero efectivamente hablando, eso es lo que tiene que pasar. La policia tiene armas y hace lo que le da la gana, ellos tambien, mucho de ellos son malandros, lo que estoy diciendo yo es armar a la sociedad civil para que empiezen a respetar a los ciudadanos que quieren vivir su vida sin violencia.

          • Ok. Me queda claro tu punto de vista.

            También me queda claro que estoy en desacuerdo. No creo que la solución para la violencia sea más violencia.

            La violencia genera más violencia. De una disputa sale un muerto, luego viene venganza, luego la contravenganza y así sucesivamente. Es más deseable prevenir la violencia que igualarla.

            No considero deseable vivir en un país donde haya que ir con un arma al trabajo por si acaso hay que matar un motorizado con malas mañas.
            No considero deseable vivir en un país donde haya que ir armado a la playa, por si el carro se accidenta en la vía de regreso.
            No considero deseable vivir en un país donde haya que cargar un arma para ir a rumbear, por si acaso a la salida le tiran un secuestro a un pana.
            No considero deseable vivir en un país donde haya que sacar una pistola, para luego sacar el teléfono y atender la llamada.

            Una sociedad armada no es tan civil.

          • Virtok tu comentario no ofrece ningun tipo de solucion al respecto. Dijiste lo de la policia lo mismo que dije yo que no es viable que no va a ver en estos momentos porque el gobierno no esta interesado ni tiene los recursos porque se lo gastan todo en viajes y en corrupcion. Por x y y z no tenemos policia. Al menos mi comentario ofrece una opcion para los ciudadanos. El pais es de todos y si no hay policia es deber de los ciudadanos de tomar cartas en el asunto como ciudadanos responsables y proactivos. Los malandros no se van a ir por su propia cuenta. Es una situacion militar en estos momentos. Ni eso tenemos.

          • Fui ciudadoso en decir que aumentaba la efectividad de los intentos de suicidio, no la tasa de suicidio. Hay mas supervivientes de intentos de suicidio con pastillas, corte de venas u otros métodos similares, que de disparos a la cabeza, sencillamente porque es un tiro a la cabeza es bastante definitivo, en cambio otros métodos dan tiempo de detenerlos (vendando los brazos, lavando el estómago) o de revertirlos (resucitación, cirugía y rehabilitación para alguien que se lance de un 2do piso), etc.

            Por otro lado, también mencioné que existe evidencia anecdótica de crímenes evitados gracias a que alguien armado confrontó a los antisociales.

            El asunto es que los tiroteos como solución al crimen son claramente subóptimos. Si unos malandros se montan en un autobús a robar, mucha gente prefereriría que el malandro muriese en un tiroteo a que se materialice un asalto/violación en masa. Pero TODOS preferirían que la presencia policial en la calle disuadiera a los antisociales, o que la zona estuviese libre de malandros.

            La gente en los barrios no está muriendo sólo a manos de asaltantes y violadores. También está muriendo a consecuencia del fuego cruzado entre pandillas, de disputas que se resuelven a tiros, de balas perdidas disparadas como celebración por borrachos, etc. Más armas no van a solucionar estos problemas, así como la gasolina no apaga fuegos.

          • Yo tambien soy del grupo que prefiere que la policia se ocupe de todo, pero la realidad es que eso no va a pasar en mucho tiempo…. mientras tanto….?

          • feathers, the gun control issue will be moot soon, given 3D printer technology advancements in producing firearms.

          • Mientras tanto las alcaldías y gobernaciones no-chavistas pueden crear planes de seguridad que protejan a la gente y que propicien la resolución pacífica de conflictos.

            Por ejemplo, la alcaldía metropolitana de Caracas tiene el programa Transmetropoli en el que sirve de enlace entre los transportistas y los bancos para renovar la flota. Los nuevos autobuses están equipados con GPS, botón de pánico y una cámara que transmite a una sala de monitoreo; estas medidas sirven como medida preventiva (desestimula) y correctiva (detecta y facilita una respuesta apropiada) respecto a los asaltos.

            La alcaldía de San Diego en Carabobo, aplica cierres nocturnos de las urbanizaciones, lo cual ayuda a evitar secuestros, asaltos en la casa y otras forma de violencia.

            Otras alcaldías y gobernaciones podrían aplicar medidas similares, o medidas como las que las que mencionaba el video que Rodrigo enlazó (tratar la violencia como una epidemia).

          • Hola J, entendiste un punto de vista que no es lo que yo dije sino lo que estas condicionado a entender cuando de habla de uso de armas de fuego. El uso de armas de fuego por parte de la sociedad civil que esté interesada, ni tu ni yo ya que yo en mi vida ni siquiera he tocado una pistola, sino por la gente que sabe usarla, por decision personal, no es violencia con violencia. Es nivelar el uso de armas de fuego, entre quien las tiene, lo que hace que el malandro lo piense dos veces porque no sabe si esta persona esta armada o no. Porque acuerdate que los malandros estan requete armados y la sociedad civil no. Ellos saben que son los que mandan y nadie los puede parar. Saben que el policia esta comprado etc… Ese el el primer punto. El segundo punto es que seria mucho mejor que uno le pagara a la policia con sus impuestos para que ellos hicieran ese trabajo, pero esta claro que en estos momentos y por el gobierno que tenemos eso no va a pasar. Ademas, por muy efectiva que sea la policia en mi opinión siempre necesita la ayuda de la sociedad civil para mantener el orden público, uno tiene que ser proactivo como ciudadano y a nivel personal tambien, responsable de sus actos, y nosotros los Venezolanos no somos ciudadanos proactivos y por eso estamos jodidos.

            Entonces eso haria posible que los ciudadanos como tu y yo que no queremos violencia podamos circular en la ciudad sin sentirse que lo estan cazando, entiendes? Ese es mi punto de vista. El romanticismo de que no se puede eliminar a ciertos individuos por derechos humanos y tal es un poco idealista y no se traslada en el pais porque no tenemos instituciones que hagan ese trabajo, todo esta colapsado, las carceles estan colapsadas, todo el pais esta colapsado, y si no se hace also pronto, lo que va a pasar a a ser un coje culo tan grande que va a terminar en una guerra civil, y ahi si vas a ver violencia para todos inocentes, viejtos, niños y mujeres. Eso es lo que veo yo, a lo mejor estoy equivocada y exagerando ojala y que nunca pase.

          • Bueno, ya esta pasando poco a poco, no solo a Monica y su esposo, sino tantos Venezolanos, dime tú si esto no es una guerra civil. No sé.

          • Con el debido respeto, si estas equivocada. Armar a “los buenos” para que se defiendan de “los malos” no es solución, por el simple hecho de que no existen tales divisiones. De hecho, uno de los problemas en Venezuela es lo fácil que es conseguir armas de fuego, seas malandro o sociedad civil. Yo me atrevo a especular (sin saber si en este caso ocurrió así) que muchas veces los asaltantes disparan por el temor de que sus víctimas estén armadas y puedan dispararles a ellos. El problema de Venezuela, como lo dije antes en otro comentario, venía mal desde antes de 1998 pero se ha multiplicado y ha llegado a niveles intolerables como consecuencia de las políticas disparatadas, la desidia, la incompetencia y la perversidad del régimen actual. Si tomó 15 años llegar a este nivel de deterioro es ingenuo creer que el problema se va a solucionar en menos de ese tiempo. Lo que sí se puede hacer de inmediato es detener el deterioro con una combinación de campanas de prevención y combate activo por parte de las fuerzas policiales. Sin embargo, esto requeriría una muy rara combinación de experiencia, conocimiento, planificación coherente y una profunda dosis de ética, moralidad y apego a la legalidad del liderazgo encargado de emprender esta dificilísima tarea. Yo diría, sin temor a equivocarme, que el liderazgo actual carece de TODOS los aspectos antes mencionados.

          • Parafraseo un poco tu idea de: “El uso de armas de fuego por parte de la sociedad civil […] [e]s nivelar el uso de armas de fuego”.

            Ese tipo de razonamiento suena bien por su cuenta, porque en efecto hay casos anecdóticos de crímenes evitados a consecuencia de que alguien con arma detiene el delito. Pero no todo es color de rosa:

            Estar armado en Venezuela aumenta el valor de la víctima para los antisociales. Hoy en día, los malandros están atacando a civiles, vigilantes, ex-policías, policías y militares para robarles el arma.

            Las armas en hogar lo hacen menos seguro. Las armas aumentan drásticamente la probabilidad de que una discusión doméstica/familiar/vecinal/entre amigos termine en un muerto. También aumentan drásticamente la probabilidad de que un niño (o alguien en general) muera por manipulación accidental del arma. También incrementan la efectividad de los intentos de suicidio.

            Estar armado aumenta las probabilidades de ser asesinado. Una victima armada tiene mayor probabilidad de resultar muerta a consecuencia de un crimen que una víctima desarmada. A la gente armada que muere como víctima de un delito, gran parte de las veces, las han matado con su propia arma. Una víctima armada aumenta las probabilidades de que el antisocial dispare (en lugar de sólo utilizar el arma como amenaza).

            Armar civiles no iguala su condición con los antisociales. Esto se debe a dos asimetrías. La primera es que el civil suele estar menos dispuesto a matar a alguien o herir inocentes que el antisocial. La segunda es que el antisocial suele estar mejor entrenado, preparado (escoge sitio y momento) y protegido (escoge sitio, va acompañado, goza de factor sorpresa) para el enfrentamiento.

          • J todo lo que dices estoy mas ó menos de acuerdo solo que tus argumentos no son 100% ciertos todo el tiempo, me explico, en muchos casos victimas se han salvado por tener armas de fuego. Yo, personalmente no quiero tener armas de fuego en mi casa, pero tambien creo en la gente que las usa para protegerse y gracias a Dios que existe esa gente. Pero, el caso es que estamos hablando mucha paja porque la gente que vive en el barrio tambien quiere vivir tranquila pero no puede por los azotes de barrio, que forman parte de un grupito de todo el vecindario. No existe re-educacion para ciertos anti sociales. Entonces una cosa es digamos las convicciones intelectuales y otra es la realidad de que Venezuela esta viviendo practicamente una guerra civil. Por cierto, ese argumento de que tener armas de fuego aumente la tasa de suicidio me estoy desayunando con la noticia. Acerca de tus otros argumentos, nunca esta demas leer los estudios serios en este respecto: “The purpose of the present study is to determine the effects of state-level assault weapons bans and concealed weapons laws on state-level murder rates. Using data for the period 1980 to 2009 and controlling for state and year fixed effects, the results of the present study suggest that states with restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons had higher gun-related murder rates than other states. It was also found that assault weapons bans did not significantly affect murder rates at the state level. These results suggest that restrictive concealed weapons laws may cause an increase in gun-related murders at the state level. The results of this study are consistent with some prior research in this area, most notably Lott and Mustard (1997).” http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13504851.2013.854294#.Us8fM_RDs9D

            Si bien el estudio es en el Imperio mesmo, es totalmente consistente con lo que se vive en Venezuela, los malandros armados disparando a diestra y siniestra y la sociedad civil presa en sus casas con miedo todo el tiempo.

          • No todos los paises son iguales y por ejemplo en Australia se ha bajado mucho la tasa de criminalidad usando gun control, pero eso no veo yo que pase en Vzla especialmente si se vive en un pais sin leyes estilo lejano oeste. En fin, mi humilde opinion que ni va a pasar, primero se congela el infierno que los Chavistas le den ningun tipo de autoridad a la poblacion civil.

        • Disagree with punishment. No adult should be punishing another adult. Restitution. Prevention through containment. Compensation. Rehabilitation. All good.

          Punishment, no.

          • I could explore that line of thinking. Got any links/literature that go deeper into “No adult should be punishing another adult”

          • My position regarding this is personal. I do not know if others share this position; I have never seen it elsewhere, nor heard it from others. It is a personal conclusion I have reached from considerations on human rights and acceptance of others. I was then forced to then work out a compatible justice system that I could support. With what I came up was a justice system that would be based on restituting damage and compensating for the ordeal while estimating the probability of recurrence, and only based on this latter probability could a person’s liberties be at risk. But in no way should the containment of said person to prevent a new act be to punish. I see too fine lines between punishment and revenge and mere venting of anger for a system to be based on them.

            A consequence of the above is that those being sent to prison should be able to pay for a better situation. They could, in fact, end up having a “good” life, so long as they are prevented from further damage. I don’t see a judicial system having the justification for causing suffering, especially when there are so many cases of flawed sentencing.

            Sorry that I cannot offer links or literature on this matter. I can only offer any discussion on this topic at a personal philosophical level.

          • Wow. Very interesting. It certainly cements many of my thoughts on the topic. It’s an odd feeling to reach the same conclusions from a completely different angle.

            Relating the part about the rewarding feeling of hurting guilty people to the Venezuelan scenario, chavez made it a point to drill into his followers minds the idea that what he represented was the sticking it to the “guilty” opposition. Perhaps it’s partly that kind of mentality that renders it so difficult to make inroads into that voter percentage.

          • That’s what I meant with punishment having “religious roots”. It’s a way of sending a sinner (criminal) to hell.

            I prefer to argue from a framework of “incentives”. Living honestly should be easier, safer and more desirable than a life of crime. So crime should pay less, not pay at all or even be “expensive”.

            Making crime more “expensive” means it has to cost the criminal something worth at least the potential benefits (so it doesn’t become a cost-of-doing-business). Abhorrent crimes should be more “expensive” than petty crimes.

            To make crime “expensive” one can use fines, confiscation of property, loss of privileges (driver’s license, eligibility for benefits/critical jobs), loss of freedom, loss of free transit rights, loss of political rights, loss of time (community work), etc. Death, torture, mutilation, flagelation, etc; are widely considered barbaric by current standards.

            Some of those measures could be used for restitution, reparation. Perhaps even atonement (itself a another religion based concept).

          • J. Navarro, I like the use of the economic perspective in getting a “bad” life to be costlier than a “good” life, but I rather turn that into a reward system, instead of a cost system. Instead of increasing the costs (i.e., punishments) of “bad” choices, I think those will work themselves out by simply making “good” choices very rewarding.

            Here’s a social example. Imagine someone seeking a life partner in Venezuela. Currently, an enchufado may seem like a better candidate than an engineer, just economically speaking. A malandro may be able to offer a better economic life and even more stability than workaholic. Because of this, the person seeking may turn a blind eye to the “bad”. Switching to the point of view of the enchufado or malandro, they get rewarded by being chosen by the seeker. It has become too difficult for a “goodie” to be a good catch, anymore. By making it easier to be a “goodie”, such as with UCT, we improve the relative advantage of being “good” without having to set up a punishment system, which costs money and takes people out of the market to run the system.

            Take the taxless system proposal. By eliminating having to report taxes, it makes it much easier to start and administer a business, so it makes it relatively less justified to choose an illegal enterprise.

            In a nutshell, any system change that increases the ease and efficiency of a “good” life, will help end and prevent “bad” choices. For these reasons, UCT, eliminating SENIAT, eliminating punishment judiciary, etc. are all part of single vision.

          • On average, I’d say people are more likely to be law abiding than outlaws. Therefore, I think a system that makes law breaking “expensive” is more practical than one that rewards law abiding.

            Beware of overstating the benefits of UCT, hay que arroparse hasta donde llegue la cobija. Also beware of going too deep into libertarian/minarchist/anarco-capitalist land…

            I don’t think UCT can improve the advantage of being good, because UCT can’t reward good behavior. Since they’re unconditional by definition, they don’t nudge people to act one way or another. Conditional Cash Transfers, on the other hand attach strings to the money, thus incentivizing people to behave in certain ways.

            And so far, UCT, in a Venezuelan context, is mostly pitched as: the state stops bypassing the citizens to get funding because oil profits go to the citizens, and then the state takes back some of that money as taxes. So UCT and scraping SENIAT aren’t that related. In fact it is usually presented as a way to make the state accountable to the citizens through taxes.

            Non-poor people commit crimes (or resort to violence) too. They murder spouses, fight over money, try to scam the car/home/business/life insurance, harass underlings, commit fraud, break traffic laws, ignore safety regulations, issue threats, etc. So I don’t think the judiciary, defense, police, fire fighters, civil protection or other government services can be scrapped even in the long term. Since these government services need to be paid somehow, I don’t see taxes being scrapped in the long term either.

          • J. Navarro, I’m not claiming UCT rewards good behavior. I’m claiming it removes some of the justification that currently exists for bad behavior, especially in a nation with presidents telling its people point blank that their bad behavior will be justified. Think of the respect gang leaders get in their own neighborhoods. They achieve this by sharing their blood money to get their surrounding social frameworks to turn blind eyes to their sources of monies.

            Where I agree completely with you is in the lack of direct or causal effect that can be claimed. So I don’t. All I claim is that whatever effect it has is positive simply because *any* lowering of difficulty for “good” choices is a *relative* increase in cost for “bad” choices. Even you state that you believe in people tending to be, in general, law abiding. These people would need to justify not being law abiding. Logically, if you accept that UCT makes it easier to live in a law abiding way, then it must also make it more difficult to justify not doing so, at least relatively. One can only expect this to be not just at the personal level, which I agree with you would be tiny compared to what you propose, but also at the social fabric level, whereby the social frowning upon any signs of bad choices should be less forgiving. In a nutshell, however, no need to argue on the level of effect of UCT on violence reduction, so long as we agree the level is positive, regardless of how tiny it is.

            Note that I’m not claiming there should not be a cost for bad behavior. I’ll emphasize what I’ve said before: There should be restitution, plus *compensation* for having caused the situation at all. The more unacceptable certain acts become to a society, the greater the compensation that would be expected by society for them. A key, however, is to remove the *punitive* element from the process, while minimizing the need to ever make bad choices. The same way governments should not use taxation for controlling the market, neither should the government use punishment for controlling behavior.

            As for my possibly overstating UCT’s effects, consider the social paradigm shifts in a country that would distribute three times the poverty level amount to each and every citizen when those citizens have been used to having 40% of its population below the poverty line and 20% below critical poverty. Frankly, I think I understate UCT’s effects.

          • Ok. We can agree to that. Less poverty means less people turning to crime to satisfy their needs (because thre are less needs/desperation). It also means less violence due to precariousness (like housewives getting into a fistfight over chicken/cornmeal)

          • Regarding eliminating taxes, I’m not saying the government should be without income. All the public services you mentioned and many others need to exist and need to be paid for. When I talk about eliminating taxes I am really talking about eliminating the current taxation *collection* system and replacing it with a modern, inevasible, more efficient one, but let’s leave that for another time.

          • J. Navarro, one other thing: how much of the current violence in Venezuela would you attribute to ongoing money going from oil to military involved in the drug business, or to FARC, or as a result of weapons and “revolutionary” training going to civilians, etc., and would you credit UCT for reducing that violence if UCT were implemented?

          • It would be hard to measure. Exactly how much oil money do drug traficking organizations need? Drug trafficking is usually insanely profitable by itself, so FARC and the “Cartel del Sol” and the “Cartel de los Soles” might do without oil money pretty well.

            I have no idea how UCT would affect the situation of Tupamaro, Aguilas Negras, and other paramilitary organizations.

            It may be that UCT makes it more difficult to recruit new youngsters into these organizations, but that migh be offset with offering more money/perks or scalating violence so gang protection becomes more desirable.

          • J. Navarro: I think the links/literature sources to ex-torres’ newest feel-good claim are after the chapter on “shower ’em with unconditional cash transfers, even though the state under inflationary pressure needs funds for infrastructure”.

            Good luck waiting for a direct answer.

          • syd, I can see your faulty memory at work yet again.

            Firstly, I discussed my position regarding justice systems being all about restitution and prevention, and not punishment, with Quico and others over 5 years ago.

            Secondly, I also answered weeks ago directly to you how privatizing all natural resource enterprises and funneling all natural resource revenue to the citizenry was more efficient at relieving the inflationary pressures and building of infrastructure.

            How about a direct answer to what do you think is better for the nation: a handful of officials wasting 40% of the oil revenue, or 40% of the population wasting it?

          • sorry, I didn’t see your answer to Navarro. As for my reply to your UCT theory from the Kumbaya Khronicles that never mention inflation nor infrastructure outlays, I”ve provided my reasoning to you on multiple occasions. You simply don’t want to accept it, and would rather pigeon hole where it suits you. Go play your game somewhere else.

          • syd, I have made every effort in all our past to reply reasonably to your every comment. Your attempt at diverting the topic on this occasion is not new, nor is your negative attitude. The times you have provided reasoning are few and the amount has been scant, and I dare not once did you reply to my counters or questions to those few occasions.

            As to the question you sidestepped about whether you think a handful of officials wasting 40% of the oil money is better than 100% of the population wasting 40% of it, I’ll guess I’ll quote you to myself:

            “Good luck waiting for a direct answer.”

          • the issue was punishment, ex-torres. I made an analogy on your inability to answer directly by mentioning a related issue. You, ex-torres, decided to fully open that latter related issue (diversion), before pinning the blame on me.

            Btw, as for your call about my faulty memory because presumably I didn’t take notes, 5 years ago, after one of your (circuitous) comments (talk about narcissism – phew!), that tells you that no amount of discussion between us will go anywhere. Hint: I have no respect for your nirvana ideas, which are not backed up (especially your “privatizing all natural resource enterprises and funneling all natural resource revenue to the citizenry was more efficient at relieving the inflationary pressures and building of infrastructure”), nor do you have any respect for me.

            Let’s leave it at that. And don’t forget to take your lunch to Kumbaya Akademy.

          • syd,

            You make a stink about direct answers, yet you don’t provide them when asked of you. Since you agree that the issue was punishment, I’ll stick to it, then. “Stop fartin’ around and answer”:

            Do you or don’t you believe some adults should be punishing other adults?

          • syd, you came into this thread with a wrong premise, that I was not going to answer J.Navarro directly.

            Not only was your premise incorrect, you entered a thread about punishment making a wrong claim about my position, that it was new.

            Not only were you wrong about that, you then made an analogy to another topic, claiming again incorrectly, perhaps with ill intention, that I had failed to reply to your comments on that topic in the past.

            For the home-run, you yet again incorrectly assume that I do not respect you, which I do.

            It seems, on top of it all, that you believe that having no respect for someone gives you the right to be disrespectful to them. That would be where you would be most wrong.

            If you don’t answer the punishment question, you will be guilty of what you think is so awful that it gave you the right to come in with a derailing comment: not providing a direct answer. And that, syd, is intellectual dishonesty.

    • How do we know they did it? These people have been found conveniently quickly in a country where even arrests are a rarity.

  11. Used to be years ago that people got robbed but very seldomly were killed or hurt by their assailants , they were after the valuables or the money but werent particularly interested in hurting their victims however much they frightened them to make them ‘cooperate ‘, then new generations of criminals were born who wanted more than the money , that actually appeared to enjoy treating their victims with wantom cruelty or taking their lives , often amids laughter , like little kids playing a game . they became thugs who used violence because of the thrill it gave them .
    The studies of scholar priest Alendro Moreno have examined the evolution of the criminal class throughout many years and discovered that there came a moment when the mind of the criminal changed , he didnt just want the money , he wanted to terrorize or kill his victims as a way of feeling important , violence to them was not simply the means to an end but part of an experience of power they were seeking through their crime, were they felt above the law , above the rules that govern life and death . For old criminals robbing someone is just a business , violence is used as needed , but for the younger criminals wantom cruelty and murder are too often an essential part of what they get from committing their crime . they ve grown up under conditions where they feel their lives are worthless so why should other people feel that their lives are important than their own .?? its not just the rise in crime thats worrisome but the kind of crime that is now committed that makes one concerned at what is happening inside the subculturas in which the criminal is bred.

    • Bill Blass,

      I had the experience just before leaving Venezuela 4 years after Chavez came into power, that my husband and I were driving to’ La Cueva del Indio,’ when we stopped at the red light in front of the entrance to San Luis.A car came out from the entrance and passed by us, turning left onto Ave. Raul Leoni. There was an older/middle aged man in the car who looked square into my face as he was turning onto the blvd, when he suddenly took out a gun and pointed it at me, grimacing in the most hateful way imaginable…I just froze because it was a look of such pure hatred that is hard to describe.I was paralyzed by shock and consternation.I had seen this look of hatred( without intent to rob) a few other times on the streets of Caracas that year but in this moment I knew I had to get my children out.

  12. “Public outrage that is quickly bulding up” sounds to me like BULLSHIT!!!. Outrage on twitter. On the barrio they don’t care, they keep loosing their sons and no one rings a fucking bell about it. Just statistics on a small note in the newspaper, shared by 4 or 5 other dead, an improper burial and forget about it. twitter outrage will last a week. Then, is business as usual. 25000 deaths last year and about 300 this week.

  13. Cinco …. alleged? innocent? highway persons? mentally challenged? YO TE AVISO !!! … están detenidas hasta el momento por averiguaciones. Extraoficialmente se conoció que dos de ellos serían menores de edad, uno de 15 y otro de 16 años.

    • Dogs in your community can be vaccinated against rabies.
      You should ask your veterinary for service & advice.

      When there is an outbreak of rabies,
      livestock living in the community
      can be vaccinated.

      Blood Lusty,
      Beserk Humanoids
      with Guns
      can’t be vaccinated.

  14. I completely agree with “The problem is chavismo itself“. Remember Minister Izarra laughing his heart out at murder statistics? Remember Freddy Bernal handing out high caliber handguns to thugs near Plaza Altamira? Remember government provided rifles to armed groups in down town Caracas? Remember the Army buying russian rifles because they used the same caliber bullets as those of the Colombian guerrillas? Remember Chávez addressing murderer Guveia as “Caballero“ Guveia?

    The list is endless. Can you not remember?

    We live in a dictatorship. They want their thugs well armed and ready. They want to drive everybody else into submission.

  15. I became acquainted with Monica through her last soap Prohibited Pasion for Miami Telemundo. Of all the Venezuelan actresses doing soaps in Miami, she was my favorite. I was captivated by her looks. I knew she had moved here (Miami) and was proud of her accomplishments. I was vaguely aware of her marriage to the Irish guy but completely unaware she was traveling in Venezuela the way she was… something I would not do without weapons or escort. Her death is a real shocker. She was a Miss Venezuela and look what she got.

  16. Regarding the video and innovative solutions: I don’t believe this problem can be solved. THey can lower homicides in NYC that’s about it but what about Chicago? BUt this is the USA, not Venezuela. Venezuela is cursed. Talk all you want about buying back guns and democracy and training cops to fight crime but it won’t make a difference. Venezuela went over the edge a while ago. THe cult of death is here to stay for now.

    • The social problems that make young US black ghetto dwellers end up leading a life of crime are very similar to those that make young men brought up in Venezuelan marginal environments engage in violent crime . There is literature on the subject both in the US and Venezuela that links up the two phenomena . Of course in the US black ghetto dwellers represent a much smaller part of the overall population , live in restricted geographical areas , there is a much more elaborate and resourced social safety net for needy single mothers with children from multiple partners and the police and justice systems work much more effectively , so the impact is much less noticiable than in Venezuela , but the underlying problem is the same , the lack of stable family groups that are able to take care of the young and instill in them the discipline , character , self control , sense of self worth that allows them to grow up normal human beings . A percentage of children who are brought up by parents who abandon them end up emotionally maimed , needy of some morbid means of asserting their self esteem . You can see a similar phenomena in central america , in countries like Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras , and in countless barrios and favelas throughout latin america . It doesnt help that in Venezuela criminals are coddled by an ideology that sees them as victims of capitalist society and therefore as engaging in a morally legitimized behaviour against their capitalist tormentors.

  17. Monica is a remarkable example of how many of us are never sentimentally detached from the country we were born and raised in. She didn’t have the necessity of taking the risk of driving around the country in an old car through roads that have become notorious for the deadly criminal groups that operate around them. The arteries of Carabobo and Aragua are surrounded by some of the most violent slums in the country, all chavista-supporting and all sieged by gangs armed with heavy weaponry.

    Still, naively, Monica and family drove across the country. Their love for the fields, rivers and mountains of the country pushed them to take a trip that- for the standards of us security in the United States- could be considered as dangerous as traversing through Iraq.

    A sad event that unfortunately deters us expats from wanting to visit.

    • I believe this couple knew what they were doing and how. They were driving an ‘old’ car for the sake of anonymity and not to bring any attention. They did a route considered safe by those of us who have to tour Venezuela regularly: Gran Sabana, then Los Llanos, Merida, etc. Avoiding the crammed north coast. Unfortunately, they had to get back to Caracas, and probably were relaxed after the wonderful trip (pictures speak for themselves). They might consider not to travel during the evening, but traffic and other nuisances in the long trip from Merida might have materialised adding more hours to an already long road trip. Not long ago, probably 12 years ago, this motorway was very safe, with assistance and constant patrolling, during the period of Salas-Roemer father as governor; and the used to haul that as a triumph of decentralisation. We all know very well what happened.

      • That is THE road everybody takes from Puerto Cabello, Venezuela’s most important port, to Valencia, Venezuela’s third largest city.

        There is another “carretera nacional” still, which is still more dangerous and now even more

        Indeed the route has gone to pot after Salas-Römer father.

        Up until 2008 the roads were managed by the governor, but Chavismo took away that and so many other things from them. Since then roads have gone literally to pot.

        • True man!
          My point is that they might, involuntarily though, have broken what it has become a golden rule in Venezuela, do not travel during the night.

          • Sure, but the golden rule is no guarantee for anything: it is more likely people will be murdered after sunset but things are pretty grim already at noon.

            A friend of mine was almost shot in the middle of the traffic on the Casanova Avenue in Caracas at noon on a working day a few days earlier.

            Another one almost died after getting shot in the early afternoon at the Avenida Bolívar in Valencia, he will have a big handicap all of his life.

        • A major factor was the dismantling of toll roads in 2008. Toll roads provided funding to repair potholes in highways, but also used to have police presence, car cranes, ambulances which were ready to respond quickly to emergencies.

  18. Whoever mentioned sociopaths… bingo. This is about antisocial personality disorder aka socipathy aka pyschopathy. This is the realm of the mind and the experiences that shape one’s personality starting almost from birth. Everyone is familitar with the “resentidos” and many are aware that HCF was “sick” before assuming power. How do you deal with these people? By brute force but when the regime is at the root cause of the problem then your’re fucked.

    I’m in the camp that believes the only way you can negotiate with the Iranians (for example) is when they have a sword over their necks. Nobody is interested in taking that regime or this regime on. Only the US can take this regime on and all roads lead to military action. That is why the US is not going there. I used to think that Venezuelan oil was indispensable for the US. Not any more. Fracking changed the game thus the US will not meddle in Venezuela period.

    I don’t buy that social instability will lead to regime change. THey have all the guns. I think they care about having popular support but it the cerrros come down on Miraflores, it will not dislocate the regime. AGain, they have all the guns.

  19. A few years back, I remember watching the news on Ciudad Juarez and being appalled. Kidnappings, rape and murder. The particular story was about a grenade being thrown inside a Nightclub, leaving many dead, and many more injured. I thought, why don´t people just leave? Why do people stay in this godforsaken city? For Heaven’s sake, why were this people even enjoying themselves inside a Disco knowing how dangerous their city is. I couldn’t understand it.
    I didn’t realize that I was living under the same circumstances. Slowly but surely, my freedom started to waiver due to fear. After being robbed at gunpoint inside my car at 6pm by two motorizados, I started to go out less, in frequency and in distance. I stopped going to visit my family in Puerto La Cruz, terrified of the road. I seldomly went out of my Municipio, choosing to stay “safe” inside Baruta and Chacao. No beach trips for me, no sunday evenings at the town square. I rushed to my car every evening as I left my drawing lessons (my only late night shenanigans) at 8:45pm in Sebucan.
    When you’re inside the mess, you can’t see all you’ve lost. You can’t see how trapped you live, inside your house, in a little cage you make for yourself to feel a little better with the craziness outside. It was pure hell everytime I needed to cash a check at the bank. My Nana, who traveled often to San Cristobal and Maturin always came back with some terrifying tale of murder and mayhem. I never felt that Chavismo honestly wanted to solve the violence issue in the country, so I had hope in October, then I had hope again in April, I though that maybe under new management things might get better. But the new management didn’t come.
    3 years later, I spent my first christmas as an ex-pat. After being mugged in my car at gunpoint, having an aunt kidnapped twice, my cousin shot in the leg during a car robbery, friends upon friends be mugged, robbed, kidnapped, I asked myself: Why am I still here? Why don’t I just leave? And I did.

  20. This horrendous, senseless killing has left me shaken all day. Someone went to bed last night knowing they killed 2 people, maybe a third (a child) and then woke up this morning to hear the news they killed Miss Venezuela, a symbol of their own country. Horrible, Sin Verguenza, How they will live with themselves is beyond me. Even the worst of criminals have a conscience. It will weigh heavy on them and the Nation and especially on all those that look the other way and allow such impunity and lawlessness for the sake of votes. They may have well pulled the trigger themselves. God Bless the child and the family in what must be unimaginable grief.

  21. The fact many of us were forced to leave because Chavismo decided to set the country ablaze, and with it ruin the lives of its inhabitants, has left some very deep scars. And It’s not like a new, alternative government will heal these. So much suffering has been caused to so many families that likely their members will never again set foot in the country, even under the right circumstances.

    Asking my wife’s grandfather if he would ever return to Cuba, even after the fall of Communism, I was impressed to find the answer was no, even for a man who was always close to his roots. You could easily perceive a deep resentment from all he had to go through to get his family’s life back on track.

    What I guess I’m trying to say is that so much appreciation for your country can easily and instantly turn to hate. Likely, the surviving daughter of the victims will grow hearing that it was not crime that killed her parents but a twisted, incomprehensible nation that consciously decided to become a corner of hell.

      • Excellent commentary indeed. I do not agree with Alex’s assertion of it being a conscious decision.
        People need to come to terms to the fact that their government is being run by an occupying foreign power / powers and organized crime ( los piratas del Caribe a pleno saqueo)and all they receive is propaganda and social control measures.
        Once this sinks in, hopefully more successful resistance plans can begin to be implemented.

    • I have been reading all the comments, especially Alex’s. And after living 15 years in this hell (sorry, there’s no other way to sugarcoat it, despite all the efforts people do to keep it under the rug with parties, booze and beaches) I have come to one conclusion.
      This is all part of a deliberate plan to keep the elites away from the country so they can keep on ruling with the people they CAN control.
      And with elites, I don’t mean the rich and powerful. I mean the middle-class, professional, forward-thinking people, with enough knowledge and rationale to be a powerful opposition against this Government. If you can read this, then you’re an elite by this definition. You’re a professional, with a degree, maybe a graduate one; you have traveled outside the country. You know better and you have seen better.
      Then you are part of those people they have to scare away.
      People from the barrio, and maybe some people here will have feathers ruffled after I say this, don’t know any better than this. They think this is the only way to go. They watch HTV with reggaeton videos full of bling bling, money and booty-shaking. They have no education, and the only way ahead is to rob and kill everyone in sight with two more bolivars than them.
      What’s there to lose? The Government itself has feeded this discourse and resentment (“if you’re hungry, then you’re forgiven for stealing,” “that petite bourgouis,” and other greatest hits) added with the fact the judicial system has become corrupt and inefficient, complete with jails which treat inmates as kings.
      It all adds up: fear IS state policy. The Government won’t do crap because they want you to leave. Either that, or you’re willing to “live” in this cesspool.
      Which brings me to this: when you’re forced to make this decision to leave (I wish I could, my fear of living as an illegal complete with no one wiling to give me a job because I am not legally authorized), then there’s a bunch of people, like Monica Spear, who want to keep a link to the country. Maybe my upbringing didn’t give me this concept or “my family is everything, I can’t live 10 seconds without them” so I can’t really understand what brought her into not being able to cut the cord and not coming back to Venezuela.
      It’s simply not worth the risk.
      Of course, she had all the right to visit her country and show it to her daughter. She didn’t want to raise a gringa without full knowledge of her roots. That’s remarkable. But in this day and age, it’s impossible.
      And I’ll be damned. If I ever leave, I won’t come back. Not once. Why? Because this simply isn’t the country I was born in, this isn’t the place my mom raised me in. This has become pure hell. And I don’t want anything to do with hell.
      This is a hostile, unlivable free-for-all. And guess what? the majority of the current people who still live here WANT this. As much as you’re against it and you can’t understand it, which is in a nutshell the beauty of the polarized society we live in and is the reason why this Government has thrived.
      May God help us all.

        • You didn’t understand what I wrote, Rodrigo. I didn’t mean the wealthy. I meant the people with professional knowledge and enough know-how. Probably I would have been better understood if I used phrases such as “brain drain”

          • Sorry for the snarky comment. I understand what you are saying. But I don’t think there is a plan. At all. The whole idea that the government is fostering some kind of lumpen maybe be true and a micro scale but not macro.

            What we are witnessing is the slow demise of Venezuelan institutions and their role in society. We have been simply descending into the dark ages.

          • Please look for Jon Lee Anderson’s New Yorker piece on Torre de David. It was frightening when he described Juan Barreto’s “bodyguards.”

      • Great comment. It has to be some state kinda policy since one thing dictatorships can do very well is control street crime. They don’t want people with brains interfering with the takeover. I can see through the peephole, the top echelon laughing and saying “que se vayan” haven’t they said that many times?

  22. A friend of mine put in his Twitter account that he had visited almost the same places that Monica had, and drove by the same highway between Puerto Cabello and Valencia a few hours before, and missed the pothole that they later fell in and that punctured the two tires in the right side of the car; this was the reason that they had to call a tow truck. He said that it could also had happened to him . . .

    Here you can see photos of the car, you can see it had dark tilted windows:


      • It is very suspicious, if the hole has damaged more than one car, it seems a place for “business opportunities”. I once drove near Los Ocumitos Tunnel towards Caracas and some nut had spilled water + gasoil at night (it was around 700 pm) , I felt the car slippery and saw a truck almost going sideways, somebody told me that some tow truck operators do that so they later can tow the crashes cars for a quick buck (2000 to 3000 bs)

        • gasoil = diesel fuel, mixed with water it is very slippery, I had to drive 2 – 3 kms very slowly until the front wheels had enough traction to continue at norml speeds …

  23. Definetelly, chavismo IS the problem.
    It’s sad how this respectable forum tries to come to grasp this nonsensical crime, and comment in a calm, cold headed manner. hay que arrecharse coño.

    And act. It may be too late for Venezuela though.

    As Kepler notes, many thugs have only known Chavez times given their youth. A raised psychopath, with pycopathic role models for the higher places. Communications hegemony that spits bile and hatred, lies and resent 24/7.

    What else do you all expect! This is state policy, not an unfortunate accident.

    • Me permito aunar en el tema:
      Citando al autor
      La retórica de la humillación
      El discurso del odio va abonando el terreno con anterioridad para propiciar las masacres.

      El discurso del odio va abonando el terreno con anterioridad para propiciar las masacres.

      “No se establece una dictadura para salvaguardar una revolución. Se hace una revolución para establecer una dictadura”. George Orwell, “1984”

      Edgar Cherubini Lecuna / Soberania.org

      Edgar_Cherubini_Lecuna_1La violencia, el avasallamiento, el odio, el irrespeto y la indignidad, constituyen la estructura de un discurso que arremete a diario contra la construcción de la verdad social, que debe ser el producto del conjunto de subjetividades que la conforman. El que pretende ser el presidente de los venezolanos, encerrado en una torre mediática por sus mentores cubanos y asesores extranjeros, limitado a un mundo de dogmas anacrónicos y conjeturas confusas, de eslóganes, ficciones e ilusiones sin esperanzas de realización, con un lenguaje de odio y resentimiento, está imponiendo los estrechos límites de su visión unilateral al resto de la sociedad, imitando el estilo de su antecesor. En cualquier caso, a esa visión unívoca de la realidad la precede un lenguaje reduccionista y es parte de la psicopatía política del comunismo y de los totalitarismos de todo cuño.
      Lenguaje totalitario

      Según Jean Pierre Faye (Langages totalitaires, Hermann, París, 1972), el lenguaje totalitario es de por sí limitado debido a la exclusión que hace del resto de la sociedad que no piensa como su emisor. Es un lenguaje pervertido debido a la ilegitimidad, indignidad y deshumanización del individuo que trata de imponerlo, pues para lograrlo debe recurrir a la fuerza contra la voluntad de los otros, despreciando su dignidad, conduciendo al colectivo a espacios pre-políticos, pre-sociales, primitivos.

      Por su parte, Yves Ternon (Guerres et Génocides au XXe siècle, Odile Jacob, París, 2007), afirma que el genocidio es el acto final de un discurso de discriminación, de agresiones verbales que prepara el terreno para expropiaciones, hostigamiento, persecuciones, deportaciones y masacres. El discurso del odio va abonando el terreno con anterioridad para propiciar las masacres. George Bensoussan (Idéologie du Rejet, Manya, París, 1993) y Ternon (L’Etat criminel), coinciden en que el lenguaje totalitario deshumaniza a las víctimas con la idea de eliminar el sentimiento de culpabilidad en sus ejecutores.
      La retórica genocida

      Según los autores citados, la retórica genocida es un uso consciente e instrumento de una política criminal del Estado. La primera etapa del genocidio es la supresión de la identidad de la víctima, cosa que se consigue a través de los insultos y la deshumanización del enemigo. El discurso político y la propaganda identifican al grupo a eliminar y preparan su destrucción. Mediante su previa desnaturalización, la futura victima es rebajada a un nivel inferior a lo humano, se la compara con un “gusano”, “parásito”, “tumor”, “cáncer”, “basura”, “podredumbre”, “excremento”. Al transformar a su víctima en eso, se ayuda al asesino o ejecutor a invertir el sentido del crimen como un acto de profilaxia. El asesino no se siente asesino, se siente “terapeuta” y actúa con sobrada impunidad.
      La humillación como política de Estado

      En su libro “1984″, George Orwell describe la utopía totalitaria del comunismo con la analogía de una nación cayéndose a pedazos, dirigida por un gigantesco y abrumador aparato de propaganda que invade hasta los últimos intersticios de la vida privada del individuo:

      “Lo que importa ahora es controlar a la mente. La realidad esta en el interior de la cabeza. El poder real, el poder por el cual debemos luchar día y noche, no es el poder sobre las cosas, sino sobre los individuos. ¿Cómo aseguramos el poder sobre el individuo? Haciéndole sufrir. La obediencia no basta. El poder es infligir sufrimiento y humillaciones. El poder es destruir el espíritu humano en pedazos que se juntan después bajo nuevos patrones armados por nosotros. ¿Qué clase de mundo estamos creando? Un mundo de temor, miedo, traición, tormento. Un mundo de aplastadores y aplastados, un mundo que a medida que lo afinemos se volverá cada vez más despiadado. El progreso de nuestro mundo será el progreso hacia el sufrimiento, fundado sobre el odio. No habrá otras emociones que el temor, la rabia y la humillación”.

      Cualquier parecido con la realidad no es simple coincidencia. Nicolás Maduro, el mismo día en que negó el indulto navideño a los presos políticos, algunos de ellos moribundos, anunció en cadena audiovisual la creación de la misión humanitaria a favor de los perros de la calle ¿Alguien tiene dudas del mensaje?

      Durante los años 15 del chavismo, la democracia en Venezuela ha dejado de existir al igual que su sistema de libertades y derechos, de progreso individual y colectivo. El drama en Venezuela se agrava debido a la falta de definición de la naturaleza del régimen por parte de los líderes, analistas y portavoces de la oposición. Un Estado totalitario manejado por la inteligencia militar cubana y sus secuaces locales, que busca imponer el comunismo para que una nomenclatura despótica y despiadada usufructúe las riquezas del país. Urge definirlo políticamente para, a partir de allí, trazar nuevas estrategias y consolidar la unión de los millones de demócratas que se encuentran hoy sin orientación y sin respuestas, así como proceder a desenmascararlo ante la comunidad internacional ¿Quién iluminará el camino?
      Artículos recientes de Edgar Cherubini Lecuna
      Artículos anteriores (2007-2012) de Edgar Cherubini Lecuna
      E-mail: [email protected] / Web: http://www.edgarcherubini.com

    • Bruni, I couldn’t disagree more with your post. The moment we resign ourselves to the idea that this is a “societal” issue is the moment we simply have nothing more to do. This is the fault of the government, the prosecutors, and the judges. Crime CAN come down, even if society stays the same.

  24. I can only imagine what it is like to live in the slums with such violent people as neighbours.
    People need to be taught to care, and they can learn to be cold.
    Watch a clockwork orange.
    The murder of someone like Spears is exceptional, a symbol of the fate of a nation imprisoned by adolescents

  25. Con el debido respeto, si estas equivocada. Armar a “los buenos” para que se defiendan de “los malos” no es solución, por el simple hecho de que no existen tales divisiones. De hecho, uno de los problemas en Venezuela es lo fácil que es conseguir armas de fuego, seas malandro o sociedad civil. Yo me atrevo a especular (sin saber si en este caso ocurrió así) que muchas veces los asaltantes disparan por el temor de que sus víctimas estén armadas y puedan dispararles a ellos. El problema de Venezuela, como lo dije antes en otro comentario, venía mal desde antes de 1998 pero se ha multiplicado y ha llegado a niveles intolerables como consecuencia de las políticas disparatadas, la desidia, la incompetencia y la perversidad del régimen actual. Si tomó 15 años llegar a este nivel de deterioro es ingenuo creer que el problema se va a solucionar en menos de ese tiempo. Lo que sí se puede hacer de inmediato es detener el deterioro con una combinación de campanas de prevención y combate activo por parte de las fuerzas policiales. Sin embargo, esto requeriría una muy rara combinación de experiencia, conocimiento, planificación coherente y una profunda dosis de ética, moralidad y apego a la legalidad del liderazgo encargado de emprender esta dificilísima tarea. Yo diría, sin temor a equivocarme, que el liderazgo actual carece de TODOS los aspectos antes mencionados.

  26. In his studies of the Venezuelan poor Alejandro Moreno has found that while conventional wisdom assummes that most crime is born from the need of the poverty stricken to feed themselves ( the sentimental explanation) , thats hardly the case with most violent crime , young men dont engage in violent crime out of need but in order to sattisfy their emotional craving for self esteem where they lack it from being the children of parents that have abused or abandoned them (which leaves them feeling worthless) . Thus they become violent criminals to have the things (motorcycles,brand name shoes or clothing, drugs) that mark an up scale succesful person in their environment , also because by commiting a crime , by violating even elemental rules of respect for human life and suffering they feel full of personal power , indeed the power of death or life over their victims which makes them proud and gain a reputation for manly toughness among their peers. Above all they seek the respect of their fellows something they have no other way of attaining . Poverty itself does not cause violent crime except that it creates the conditions where peoples customs are to have children they will neither protect nor carefor , children which as they are mistreated and abandoned develop emotional scarrs that transform them into sociopath criminals . The link between parental neglect and abuse and sociopathic crime is one firmly established by many scientific studies.

    • And here is why there are rich societies with high crime rates and poor ones with low crime rate.

      A bigger impact can be attained by curving down teenage pregnancy than any other means of cash transfer.

      Crime is a behavior issue and behavior can be influenced with cash, but not a great deal.

      • Rodrigo, to some extent high teenage pregnancy are a huge problem and Venezuela is top on that. I am very worried that in Venezuela several groups within Primero Justicia are more conservative than the Pope and until now have kept a policy of not promoting a proper sexual education at school. As for Chavismo: Chávez said a couple of times his vision was to have 50 million people for 2030 so that Venezuela would become a super power (once he said that on Alo Presidente)

        Now, this is not the only issue. One of the other things is displacement. I have heard
        continuously from different sub-urban areas people complaining about the Vargas-Caracas migrations and how they wrecked their areas.
        I have lots of stories about that from Carabobo, from Lara (by the way: from areas as far as Tocuyo and from Tocuyo eastwards towards the mountains): people talking about lots of malandros getting there coming from Caracas-Vargas from early 2000, hanging around there without proper jobs, etc.
        I have tracked some of the crime cases from the CNE database and I have seen a few came indeed from those areas.
        And this reminds me of a book I read about “happiness” (no new Age stuff but written by an economist) where the case of regions with lots of displaced people – think Pakistan and now the Taliban there, think Congo- is discussed.

        • Rodrigo , Kepler you might find the following paper interesting reading “Delincuentes Violentos de Origen Popular en Venezuela” ( easily found through google search) .
          Sexual Education may be helpful but part of the problem is that young girls want to have the child not because of the child but because they believe that having it binds the man she has it with to herself , and in a machista culture she wants a man that ‘represents her’ . Testimony from various aquaintances confirms what Kepler says that the social dislocation brought about by the displacement of people to the interior contributes to making the criminal problem worse !!

          • There was an excellent piece on Últimas Noticias last year or before about teen pregnancy in barrios, and that in a barrio bearing the child of a malandro gives young girl a higher status among her peers, so in many cases is a goal. Also, according to the existing social mores, when any of these girls asks the guy to use protection she is perceived as a slut, so girls refrain from doing so, even when they don’t want to get pregnant.

          • Excelent piece by Ultimas Noticias , thanks for posting it , its clear from reading it that the problem is a cultural problem , having to do with ingrained habits or customs of thought and behaviour that go way beyond anything an ordinary sex education program can handle . The little girls want to have the child , its not an accident born of neglect in using contraceptives , its a tag of prestige to bear the child of a malandro. On the other hand my medic relative who worked in the barrios told me of little girls families who had to send them away to distant relatives to protect them from malandros who were intent on making them their ´women´ and could be very aggresive and intimidating in pursuing their prey.!!

            Once again the name of father Alejandro Moreno is mentioned .

        • I think the tragedy in this regard is that the “conservative” leaning politicians (who might be found in PJ, COPEI and offshoots like Convergencia and Prove) really care about not implementing a modern sex education and contraceptive program; while “non-conservative” politicians (chavismo, MAS, LCR, AD, UNT, VP, etc) don’t seem interested in taking a stand on this issue one way or the other.

          Do you know of any Venezuelan politician publicly supporting a modern sex education and contraception for teenagers?

  27. OT: [struggling to remain relevant] COPEI’s Roberto Enriquez, on the electoral approach, COPEI’s up and coming relaunch/ideological congress, and a defense of both AD and COPEI.

    “Roberto Enriquez, admits the organization has suffered an “erosive process” being tackled by the current leadership by searching lessons in the past. Copei hasn’t had an ideological congress since 1986, and this year we’re preparing to have one that will be almost refound the party.”

    ‘[…]Roberto Enríquez, admite que la organización ha sufrido “un proceso de erosión” al que la actual dirigencia le hace frente buscando lecciones en el pasado. Desde 1986 Copei no hace un congreso ideológico y este año se prepara para realizar uno que será “casi refundacional”. ‘

    “[…]the need for loyalty, fair play, avoiding what Betancourt referred to as inter-party cannibalism. We have to understand that parties like Copei, and the rest that designed an entire democratic architecture for the country, are still fundamental players to achieve victory.”

    “[…]la necesidad de lealtad, de juego limpio, de evitar eso que Betancourt llamaba el canibalismo interpartidista. Debemos entender que partidos como Copei, y los otros que diseñaron toda una arquitectura democrática de país, siguen siendo factores fundamentales para la victoria.”

    “We have to build a democracy of parties and institutions instead of leaders, just like I want a MUD that’s more about institutions and less about individuals.”

    “[…]En el país hay que construir una democracia de partidos, de instituciones, no de caudillos ni de figurines, así como yo quiero una Mesa de más instituciones y menos individualidades.”


    • Roberto Enriquez, further panders to AD:

      “We’re proud of being heirs to the fathers of democracy, of those civic heroes that designed a system of liberty, pluralism and institutions while pulling enormous sectors from poverty and exclusion”, said Enriquez before making a special mention to the “glorious party Acción Democrática”.

      “Nos sentimos orgullosos de ser herederos de los padres de la democracia, de esos héroes civiles que diseñaron un sistema de libertad, pluralismo e instituciones logrando sacar a vastísimos sectores de la pobreza y la exclusión”, dijo Enríquez antes de hacer una mención especial al “glorioso partido Acción Democrática”



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