905 Error. Rights Not Found.

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cota-905-dos.jpg_736776827The extraordinary ongoing battle for control of the Cota 905 shantytown shows the full extent of the Animalfarmification of the Venezuelan state.

In Animal Farm, Orwell brilliantly shows the slow, gradual mutation of the revolutionary elite into an oppressive governing caste entirely indistinguishable from the one it overthrew. As the book closes, the pig-led socialist revolution has degenerated to such an extent that “the creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

That’s the quote that keeps ringing through my head as I read about what’s been happening on Cota 905.

They got here saying they were going to demolish the houses, because, according to them, it’s by Presidential order. They just keep stealing and entering the houses without any judicial order. I don’t know what they want, says Bermudez.

Another of the neighbours in the area related in a phone call that the government people were looking for “El Cocui” and the members of his gang. “Those people left. El Coqui left before the first of those police operations, and the thugs that were here left also. Innocent people live here, they shouldn’t have to pay for crimes committed by others.”

It’s true, there were gangsters in here, and some of the ones they killed were gangsters. They tricked those guys, they told them to surrender, that they wouldn’t shoot, and when the guys came out, they were shot. What the bad guys were doing in here in the community, now it’s the police doing it, said a resident of La Quinta neighbourhood, who did not wish to be identified.

It’s easy to forget now how big a part people’s resentment of the “redada” – the heavy handed police raid – as a crime control technique played in the rise of the Chávez movement. These raids involved mass arrests, beatings, extra-judicial killings, all within a climate of unfettered, unaccountable policed brutality. They often seemed like the fourth republic’s only consistent response to crime, and came to stand in for the alienation of the governing elite from the people it supposedly served.

The people of Cota 905 are looking hard back and forth from man to pig and from pig to man and from man to pig again. And there’s just no telling them apart.

But this isn’t just a story about out of control redadas. The point here is that the gang’s aren’t just backing off faced with the police and the armed forces, they’re fighting back. El Estímulo, which is going mano-a-mano with Efecto Cocuyo for horrifying coverage of the crisis, says that when the authorities back off, the gangs start hunting down anyone perceived to have helped them, even with a cup of coffee.

Here’s some of their, um, stimulating report,

Los plomazos secos y repetidos despertaron a todos. La piel de gallina fue la única cobija del miedo. Segundos después lanzaron la advertencia: “vamos por sapos”. Y aquí los sapos cobran. Otros plomazos. No habían pasado 24 horas de la toma militar en la Cota 905 cuando los malandros volvieron a su tierra. Solo por instantes, para dejar claro quiénes mandan y quiénes pueden pasar facturas —además de las policías.

La casa de Ricarda —identidad protegida— exhibe más de diez heridas de bala en su frente. Está ubicada en el sector La Línea, cerca del barrio Las Quintas, donde los tiroteos son tan turbulentos como el reguetón y el vallenato. Ella sabe que su único pecado fue darle café a unos policías que se pararon frente a su hogar mientras ocurría la toma militar del lunes 13 de julio. Alguien la pilló. Algún vecino cooperante de las bandas armadas. La vieron como una “sapa”. La visitaron la madrugada del martes. “Abraham” es el nombre del líder de la banda de esa zona. Aliado de “El Coqui” ahora, porque antes eran enemigos. Pero haber transado les permite asociarse para atacar.

Ese muchacho, que no pisa los 30 años todavía, tiene poder. Lo respetan. Y aunque Ricarda tiene un nieto que forma parte de la banda, no le perdonaron el cafecito.“Usted no sabe lo difícil que es vivir así. Asustado, porque uno no sabe en qué momento lo matan. No hice nada malo, pero me tienen amenazada. Temo por mí, por mi familia, por mi nieto”, describe la mujer con una voz sísmica.

Yikes.

1 COMMENT

  1. ” They arrived here saying they were going to demolish the houses, because, according to them, it’s by Presidential order. They just keep stealing and entering the houses without any judicial order. I don’t know what they want, says Bermudez.

    Another of the neighbours in the area related in a phone call that the government people were looking for “El Cocui” and the members of his gang. “Those people left. El Coqui left before the first of those police operations, and the thugs that were here left also. Innocent people live here, they shouldn’t have to pay for crimes committed by others.”

    It’s true, there were gangsters in here, and some of the ones they killed were gangsters. They tricked those guys, they told them to surrender, that they wouldn’t shoot, and when the guys came out, they were shot. What the bad guys were doing in here in the community, now it’s the police doing it, said a resident of La Quinta neighbourhood, who did not wish to be identified. “

  2. “”Animalfarmification of the Venezuelan state”?

    Rather, it’s the Animalfarmification of the entire country, and most of its remaining populace.

    (Not that it started with a great, educated population with high moral standards, before the Pigs took over).

    Just like in my book: remember that the majority of Pigs was the one to revolt, in the first place:

    “Old Major Chavez, the old boar on the Manor Farm, summons the animals on the farm together for a meeting, during which he refers to humans as parasites and teaches the animals a revolutionary song called Beasts of Bolivar. When Major dies, two young pigs, Masburro Snowball and Napoleon Cabello, assume command and consider it a duty to prepare for the Rebellion. The animals revolt and drive the drunken and irresponsible farmer Mr. Ad Copey from the farm, renaming it “Animal Farm”. They adopt Seven Commandments of Animalism, the most important of which is, “All animals are equal.”

    This is what happens when “democracy” kinda works, and uneducated people elect their siblings. Instead of having the best, more educated, “Elite” minority segment lead the country: Complete Animalfarmification:

    Through gradually increasing repression (read my book) the new animals in power start tightening the screws and destroying the economy. Very soon, the Elite, educated human population, in Vzla’s case about 1 Million professionals, leave the country. Massive brain-drain. Others are kicked out, exiled. The middle class is crushed, impoverished, “animalized”. The ruling, corrupt minority is radicalized, turning into barbaric beasts.

    Meanwhile, you further brutalize the remaining population through massive brain-wash programs, starting very early in school. In College you only accept brain-washed, factory piglets, if they make it that far. That’s how you achieve complete Animalfarmification of an entire Nation, process which is almost complete in Fincazuela.

    “Years pass, and the pigs start to resemble humans, as they walk upright, carry whips, and wear clothes. The Seven Commandments are abridged to a single phrase: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”. Napoleon Cabello holds a dinner party for the pigs and local farmers, with whom he celebrates a new alliance. He abolishes the practice of the revolutionary traditions and restores the name “The Manor Farm”. As the animals look from pigs to humans, they realise they can no longer distinguish between the two.”

  3. There seem to be more reports of this sort of thing in recent months, and I wonder what the dynamic is behind these events. Chavismo has traditionally had the support of gangs that effectively governed certain barrios and enterprises. Is there a disintegration of those pacts across the board, and if so, what exactly is going on? Is it, for example, that Chavismo has built up “debts” to these gangs (like its debts to bona fide companies like the airlines) that it has not been paying, and that these gangs will no longer defer? Or is this just a police state showing its true colours. Either way, the Animal Farm comparison is spot on. They are fully the thing that they hate, and at the official level at least, the hate is strong.

    • The “dynamic” is that they ran out of cash, bro. Chavez could control the gangs, throwing us crumbs from the 100/barrel oil bonanza. Eso se acabo. Gangsters get hooked to the good life, thug privileges, and thus revolt against the hand that fed them. We make much more doe controlling the drug trade.

      • That the gangs make much more controlling the drug trade, as opposed to crumbs from the regime, which are growing scarcer, suggests that the relationship between gangs and the regime would remain stable even as the crumbs cease getting thrown so much. In other words, what does the declining price of oil have to do with the stability of the relationship between the regime and organized crime in Venezuela, or does it? Why is the regime going to war against its erstwhile friends and allies and their constituents?

        • Because government, specifically with Guardia and Ejercito, is also involved in drug trade.

          And they want no competition.

  4. “There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before.” — William Cather

  5. “The people of Cota 905 are looking hard back and forth from man to pig and from pig to man and from man to pig again. And there’s just no telling them apart.”

    If you take Venezuelan murder rates into consideration, it’s easy to assume that to live under the rule of the men of the fourth were, at least, safer than to be ruled by the pigs of the present. Because we can all agree that the chances of being killed by ANYONE in the 4th were much smaller, right?

    BTW, interesting article on the Venezuelan economy I’ve come across today:
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-15/venezuela-s-772-inflation-means-default-may-come-a-lot-sooner

  6. Cota 905 and all our beautiful shantytowns are wonderful. I love having our own little FARCs all over the country, an eclectic blend of ingenious thugs & thieves, powerful criminal gangs ruling the land.

      • In 2008, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez recognized the FARC-EP as a proper army. President Chávez also asked the Colombian government and their allies to recognize the FARC as a belligerent force, arguing that such political recognition would oblige the FARC to forgo kidnapping and terrorism as methods of civil war and to abide by the Geneva Convention. Juan Manuel Santos, the current President of Colombia, has followed a middle path by recognizing in 2011 that there is an “armed conflict” in Colombia

  7. So, the peace zones, created in part by the rejection of the population to the abuses of the police, became the fiefdoms of the thugs, and now the police is back with the National Guard, but to do exactly the same shit that …

    Chavismo as it best, just a murderous yo-yo.

  8. Construllendo Patria. Nos fumamos una lumpia’e monte Negro Primero con los choros:

    “Varela estuvo ayer en el Panteón Nacional acompañando a 520 privados de libertad que le rindieron tributo a Negro Primero, cuyos restos simbólicos fueron llevados recientemente a ese recinto”.

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