No shortage of violence

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959ef27a-0d81-4da0-b86a-cbbf320a8b58_W_00960Public attention in the last few days has been all about the long, long queues in the country’s supermarkets, and the shortage of food and other basic products. But the other main problem for Venezuelans continues: unabated, relentless crime.

Last Thursday afternoon, a burial took place at the local cemetery in the town of Turmero (Aragua State), when a shoot-out started. Seven people were killed, and five others wounded.

Who did this and why? Well, the story gets somewhat worse from here.

The burial was for a 29-year old criminal, known locally as “El Mocho Willy” (“One-armed Willy,” not to be confused with One-eyed Willy). Willy was murdered on Monday in strange circumstances, but it might have had something to do with the fact that he was quite the local thug, involved in extorting and racketeering local townsfolk.

A rival band known as “El Toñito” decided to take revenge on the rest of Willy’s associates. The reason? The death of five men on New Year’s Eve, reportedly murdered by Willy himself.

Had enough of it? Sorry, but this wasn’t the only violent incident. Perhaps you remember another criminal gang mentioned in a recent post of mine, “El Picure”? Eight of its members were killed in a joint operation between the Criminal Investigations Police (CICPC) and the National Guard over the weekend in East Anzoategui State. However, the leader of the band (El Picure himself) still remains at large.

Finally, five police officers were killed in separate incidents in Caracas and Miranda State. Last year alone, 132 cops died in the line of duty in the Venezuelan capital. That’s more than double than the number of police casualties in the entire U.S of A.

December was the most violent month of 2014, and January is doing a great job catching up. The crime epidemic remains unhinged, even if both our public opinion and the central government’s efforts are put elsewhere – recall that President Nicolás Maduro announced that he would devote 100% of his time this year to fight the “economic war”.

One final detail: remember the time when the late comandante presidente blamed the crime wave on our neighbor Colombia? Well, 2014 saw the fewest number of homicides there in the last three decades. And as much I would like to compare the two countries in this regard, it’s sort of impossible as official crime statistics here have been almost non-existent in recent years. Even Honduras, the country with the worst murder rate in the world, releases data.

However, we know it is higher than Colombia’s measly 27.8 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. Much higher.

 

 

1 COMMENT

  1. I find it difficult to imagine, I can’t really picture, how violent Honduras is.

    There was a crime committed early January that you don’t mention. Two young men were kidnapped in “El 23 de Enero” and tortured by a gang of 12 men. After physical punishment they stabbed them and made them run until they fainted because of blood loss. After death one of the men opened the bodies up vertically, extracted the inner organs and performed a witchcraft ritual.

    This crime was news for “El Universal” for a while, until they took down the note from their website.

    Not only there is an epidemic of violence, but there are new forms of violence, ritualistic and inhumane that spring from the prison world and the atavistic vision that Chavez imposed in Venezuela.

  2. Has the rate broken the psycological barrier of 100 murders per 100.000 inhabitants?

    It wouldn’t surprise me, after all, the slaughter of thousands is chavismo’s worst weapon to enforce its control over Venezuela’s society.

  3. Not to mention the lower-level, everyday violence that Venezuelans inflict in each other.

    Women hit in the queues by other women, authority abuse by soldiers and policemen, political violence.

    Venezuela is a hell were the condemned play the role of demons and tormentors. A sustainable pandemonium.

  4. And there’s still people that claim the wax doll was NOT the candidate that represented the hatred, envy, destruction, violence and death of Venezuela.

  5. There are rumours reported by US risk service Stratfor (i usually take their analysis with a grain of salt) about the miltary growing restless and considering a coup upon’s Maduro’s return…. I think the military is much too entrenched with the status quo to go down such an uncertain path. To be sure, there may be segments of the military that may not be happy, but the multitude of economic distortions are lining their pockets just fine. Why would they give that up?

    • “the multitude of economic distortions are lining their pockets just fine. Why would they give that up?”

      Because the oil price will keep going down for months according to Goldman Sachs and there are mass unrest/famine in the horizon. The military obviously know that the current situation of Venezuela is 100% unsustainable.

    • “De inmediato, los delincuentes fueron por su segundo objetivo: la comida. Como iban en moto, solamente pudieron llevarse cajas de atún enlatado, sacos de harina Pan y azúcar refinada. También cargaron con un remanente de dinero en efectivo que quedaba en las cajas.

      El asalto quedó grabado por las cámaras del local. El Cicpc también recabó numerosas evidencias que sugieren la acción de una banda de principiantes.

      Ese mismo día, en Maiquetía, otro local de la misma cadena fue robado en condiciones similares. Así finalizó una semana en la que fueron reportados por lo menos 7 asaltos a expendios o a distribuidores de alimentos. Catia fue la parroquia donde los sucesos fueron más frecuentes. El martes pasado, por ejemplo, grupos de 15 personas sometieron al conductor y al ayudante de 2 camiones que distribuían confites y productos Bimbo, respectivamente, para luego llevarse a pie toda la mercancía.

      Otro caso de importancia ocurrió el jueves a las 11:30 am en la calle Bolívar de Catia, donde una turba interceptó al carretillero de una distribuidora de embutidos y en cuestión de minutos desapareció 92 kilos de chorizos que iban a ser entregados a una charcutería.

      El comisario jubilado de Cicpc José Cuéllar señaló que estos hechos son consecuencia de un “estado crítico” en cuanto a la disponibilidad de mercancías de la cesta básica. El exfuncionario descartó que lo robado en estos casos sea destinado al mercado negro, como era habitual en los robos de mercancías.

      “La gente ahora piensa para qué revender estos productos si los vas a necesitar mañana. Están apertrechándose”, sostuvo.”

  6. Can I ask for opinions here? My Venezuelan husband and I live outside of Venezuela, but much of his family, including his aging parents, still live there. They live in one of the refinery camps on Paraguana. My mother in law fell two days ago and is now hospitalized with a broken leg. She is 90 years old and, besides the broken leg, is not in the best of health. So, the question–How safe is it for us to travel to Venezuela to see her? My daughter and I have some medical problems which would require us to take our medicine with us. Will that be taken away? After all of the horror stories I have been reading, I am close to crying just thinking about the possible dangers for my husband and all of the rest of us. But we really should be there at this time. What are your thoughts, please. Thank you.

    • Mary, are you gringo or visibly gringo looking? Is your Spanish 100% or at least not Spanglish? If you go, right now be prepared for nothing but lines and abuse. I am Canadian and very, very gringo looking and I find absolutely everything is a battle to the point that my wife now has 3 of her sobrinos assigned to me full time to provide me/her with security that I will actually be alive at the end of the day. Absolutely everything is a struggle. If you must go, be prepared because it will only get worse.

    • I agree with Caracas Canadian; I am on very good terms with my ex wife who is resident in England. Every couple of years I pay for her to go back with one of our children: she has sick parents too although she is lucky she has sisters and cousins ahppy to help (family is split Chavista and non!). Now she doesn’t want to go again: last time they took ALL of her presents at the airport and also damaged some of the goods she was taking out on the way back (spiteful airport uniformed Guardia with name badges removed piercing bags of maize flour etc) and giving her a hard time, she is morena and very Venezuelan, but given a hard time presumably because our children have UK passports. I genuinely would not feel safe returning and a simple bump in the street can be dangerous (when before a simple ‘oh. perdoname’ from both sides was all that happened).

      God how sad it is even writing that!

  7. Thank you, Caracas Canadian and Span Ows. I am very gringa looking but after having lived in Venezuela for 10 years, and being a Spanish teacher at that, sometimes people take me for a Spanish speaking native. So I’m proud to say that my Spanish is pretty good. When we go to Venezuela, we usually travel from here to Aruba, then Aruba to Paraguana. The past couple of times we have gone we didn’t go out much during the day and never at night. There are no more street lights on the streets, making it dangerous to drive. I’m just so fearful of going there, and now with this emergency I feel guilty to feel that. My children, who don’t stay as updated with the situation there as they should, are making me feel silly to feel so afraid. I needed to hear opinions from the sources I trust so much; from all of you who know what is really going on there. Thank you.

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