Crime is the number one issue people care about. The opposition wants to work on the problem. The government seemingly wants to work on the problem (well, judging by their words at least, we all know they don’t care). And the public certainly wants something done.
The problem for Maduro is that any solution … requires money he doesn’t have.
Suppose, for example, you buy the boneheaded notion that crime will be solved with “education.” According to Henrique Capriles’ Education Secretary Juan Maragall, the country has a deficit of 1,000 public high schools. How in the world can a bankrupt government, one that is unwilling to put its public finances into shape, going to build 1,000 high schools?! Suppose each high school costs US$200,000 to build – and I admit I am pulling that number completely out of thin air – we’re talking US$200 million just to build the schools. When you take into account the hiring of thousands of police, more courtrooms, more jails, more prosecutors … a billion here and a billion there, and we’re talking real money right now.
It’s not just the cash, it’s the bureaucracy – tackling this problem will cost three times as much, and take four times a long, all due to corruption. And this is our best-case scenario.
This government doesn’t have the money, the time, nor the political will for this … and the Cuban subsidy … and free gas … and Cadivi, and … That is why nothing substantive will be done, and even it it is done, it will be years before the effects are felt. That is why talking about crime is such a high yield, low risk political strategy.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.