Peace zones are totally dope (for criminal gangs)

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los_orejones
“Cruisin’ down the street in our peace zone. Scarin’ locals, shootin’ the cops”

On Friday night, the motorcade of Sports Minister Pedro Infante was apparently attacked by criminals in the Cota 905. The minister’s eight bodyguards handled the situation, taking cover in a nearby police station until SEBIN reinforcements came to his help.

And that was only the start of a bloody and brutal weekend.

After a huge gunfight on June 10th, violence in this part of Western Caracas has made quite a few headlines this month. But for its residents it’s just part of their everyday routine. They’re used to it.

One last bit: the Cota 905 is one of the misnamed “peace zones”. For what I’ve learned about these officially acknowledged no-go zones for the security forces (and I’ve followed this issue right from the start), seem to be generating more violence than people quite grasp. They’re just lawless liberated areas, where gangbangers rule.

And that’s confirmed by Runrun.es’ excellent report on the topic, which came out last week. Congratulations to journalist Ronna Risquez for doing a complete description of how the Venezuelan State gave to criminal gangs full control of certain parts of the capital Caracas or next-door Miranda State, like in the Tuy Valley. I would spoil some more of the article, but I prefer recommending all of you to read it.

This problem has even called the attention of the UN’s Human Rights Council, which wants to know more about Venezuela’s crime epidemic. I doubt that they will be convinced by the latest excuse from PSUV MP Elvis Amoroso.

Even if the central government (through an unnamed source) knows how bad the peace zones have turned out, they insist in keeping them. Days ago, the Vice-Ministry of Peace Affairs was created and in charge of it, no other than the “peace czar” himself, Jose Vicente Rangel Avalos. Funny that he denied the peace zones’ existence early this year.

 

 

1 COMMENT

  1. Somalia and war lords. It might be the case soon that through sheer incompetence and corruption that the Maduro government renders itself entirely powerless. Who would ever give that man a billion dollars right now? When central power structures fail, the default is splinter groups – aka, “Peace Zones.” Gonna be hard to get those arms away from those folks when the Maduro regime finally just dries up and blows away.

    • ” Gonna be hard to get those arms away from those folks when the Maduro regime finally just dries up and blows away.”

      The sebin didn’t had such a hard time at all to frag colectivo-headmaster Odreman some months ago.

      If the sebin alone can’t do the work, send the nazi guard along with three or four more police corps together, like it happened with picure’s gang some time ago too.

      The criminals might have some power now, but the regime’s forces are backed with millions of daily dollars from the broken pudrevesa.

      • Nearby, a Tupamar Colectivo branch took over a hilltop home and at least once has set up a long arms alcabala to register vehicles passing by on a Govt. road, one block away from a daily Guardia Nacional alcaba, which didn’t do anything about it. After Romulo won the Presidency, he had to have tanks nightly strafe 50 mm machine gun fire through the walls of 23 de Enero buildings near Miraflores for 6 months before he could subdue the Leftist resistance in just that one place, and that was when the Leftists were not heavily armed, as they are now.

  2. Outside Santa Teresa, right up to the town, for some 20kms. along a a Govt. road, and at least 20 kms. wide, there are alcabalas run by the gang of “N…”, armed with AK-47 type long arms, who require one to identify himself, have car searched, and be radioed on to the next alcabala before proceeding. “N’s” gang is some 200 strong, he “owns” all livestock and farm animals in the area, as well as many now-abandoned industrial warehouses. For those who imagine a bloodless solution to Venezuela’s feudalistic structure–think again.

      • Of course, it CAN be done, and was done in some Rio De Janeiro favelas, but, democracies aren’t particularly adept at this, and Venezuela’s problem is national, not just located in one slum area.

        • The problem can’t be beaten in one strike, but creating some actual security in those zones will help to undermine the crime in the rest of the country.

  3. Of course it CAN be done, but the proliferation of well-armed splinter groups is gaining by the day and few, I suspect, will simply roll over. And a specific, strategic Sebin hit on Odreman is a different animal than subduing a rapidly expanding war-lord situation. I’m not well schooled on this business but when the Bolivar tanks and the money essentially became valueless, feudal jungle law seems the only alternative. I really do wonder what, exactly, does Maduro control at this point?? The military? Probably not. The economy? No chance? The private sector? Nada. The public sector? What is left of it, anyhow – that actually works? The energy sector? It’s limping along, ready to short circuit. Health, education and welfare? Those institutions have crumbled tragically in the last year. Ports? Do they work at all? One wonders how anything is getting done at all.

    Interesting new bit from the Washington Post some might find insightful:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/easing-venezuelas-crash/2015/06/21/e402b9bc-15dd-11e5-9518-f9e0a8959f32_story.html

    JL

  4. So, basically, the “peace zones” are going to be the reason why this or a future government will have to deploy the Army to recapture its own territory.

    Great job, as always. The revolution always delivers – it always delivers the exact opposite of what they say, but it always delivers.

  5. “So, basically, the “peace zones” are going to be the reason why this or a future government will have to deploy the Army to recapture its own territory.”

    I was just thinking that last nighty, Jesus. And I wonder how far each side will go? Hard to imagine Venezuelans gunning each other down for long. I hope that’s not sustainable.

    Interesting what the article said so far as the war lord in question owning all the livestock et al in the area. And how Maduro, informed by Castro, has sought to control all the the food distribution and how Polar has thwarted them all so far. Messy.

    JL

    • I dont think it is going to take long once the Army is deployed. This are just malandros, no matter how well armed.

      What I’m afraid is that it is not going to be clean at all, and what something like that will end up becoming in the mind of many. We may be looking at the casus belli for new “revolutions” in the future.

      All because this bunch of clowns cant, or wont, do they jobs properly. You dont weaken the rule of law for some idiotic concept of “peace”. The cost of restoring both later is too great. The solution for the lack of trust between communities and police forces is to clean up and shape up your police forces so the public percieves a new attitude, not to create a vacuum to be filled by thugs.

      • “This are just malandros, no matter how well armed.”

        Exactly, the proof is there in the Odremán incident, two of the most powerful colectivos got basically steamrolled by sebin and naziguard.

        Also, that was basically what happened in the infamous “caracazo”, the choros got down from the cerro to plunder, kill and destroy, and the army gave them some bullets in response.

  6. I’m fairly new to the blog and I’m still trying to wrap my head around everything that is going on in Venezuela. While it’s pretty clear from this posting and some other references to “Peace Zones” what they really are, can anybody give me a brief lesson on what a “Peace Zone” was meant to be?

    • Peace Zones are part of an initiative created by the central government back in 2013 to try reduce crime, through reducing police presence in “red areas”, talking directly to criminals and try them to both disarm and abandon the life of crime. The government would offer incentives like reeducation plan and credits.

      The idea itself sounds nice, but the fact is that criminal gangs have assumed defacto control of the areas that the authorities have retreated from. Many see this as a tacit alliance between the State and those bands in exchange for political support (including its possible deployment to intimidate any dissidence). Gangs have also gained impunity to expand criminal activities like drug trafficking, kidnappings, robberies and others.

      I hope this brief outline answers your question. Thanks for asking.

      • Which goes right to the heart of why it is such an idiotic idea. I mean, I’m all for programmes to get people opportunities, to surrender weapons, to give second chances, whatever you want. But you dont REDUCE POLICE PRESENCE! Keep the pressure! Keep the order! Make them have some reason to really choose!

        With this idiocy what you get is a vacuum in which they suddenly find themselves as lords of the place, with all the time to fortify themselves!

        Of course that is precisely why it looks like a lot of this was done on purpose. But it also seems that, as usual, the chavistas are now not capable of controlling what they unleashed.

      • Thanks, yes – this and the replies that follow help a lot. Wow. Ok.

        The idea that you can reduce crime by first curtailing law enforcement and then “talking” and offering “reeducation” and “credits” against the backdrop of an economy that is circling the toilet bowl before taking the final plunge seems, at best, counter intuitive and, well … a little crazy. But then, I guess, look at whose idea this is.

        The counter intuition of this policy sure makes it feel like the others who responded to my question are on track by suggesting this idea is less about reducing crime and more about conjuring unholy alliances.

        Until I read this posting, I was seriously worried about the safety of my wife’s family in Venezuela. Now, I downright terrified.

        I think I need to go pour myself a tall glass of ron Diplomatico and calm down.

  7. I would add that the Peace Zones were also ways for the gov. to undercut the police, who were in some cases not beholden to the revolution. Loyalty over security. The other wonky thing is that when we say “the military will go flush out those malandros” we assume that “military” means one thing, one group, one central command. In fact if we are to believe reports otu of Washington and the intel agencies (infamous liars), the Ven military ranges from honest nationals to drug cartel jefes.

    Trying to get everone on the same page and orchestrating not only a truce but a reconciliation and new nationalism will IMO require someone like Lopez – or more.

    JL

    • Typically, it would require a consensus government, including the presently-governing bad guys. I’m not sure this would work. Better would be a complete discrediting of the present bad guys, so that a competent rational group could take over management. The discrediting would have to be similar to what happened in Eastern Europe/Russia to be effective. Presently, we are already partly there in Venezuela. Pinning hopes on one individual like LL is too simplistic. LL, I’m afraid, has an exaggerated notion of his popularity/importance in largely downscale Venezuela, and is even capable of killing himself for little or no gain locally, with whatever gain at all being international attention..

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