Greater Valencia has seen frenetic scenes in the last 72 hours. Reports, pictures and videos have flooded social networks: people looting supermarkets, shops, warehouses and even factories in every part of the city from north to south, plundering not only food but also everything else from machines, fridges to roof-plates, in what constitutes the worst violence in the city since the February 1989 riots and the worst in the country since the Ciudad Bolívar looting in December.

To give you a sense of the scale of the events, the 18 kilometers that stand between Naguanagua and Flor Amarillo represent roughly the same distance as that between Petare and Tazón. Valencia is Venezuela’s third largest city. Located 120 kilometers from Caracas with around 2 million inhabitants, Valencia is often ignored because of its lack of appeal to tourists. It’s more famous for its now-decrepit industrial zone.

For a month, we’ve seen a daily cycle of protest, barricades and tear gas, usually in the same few places as the 2014 Guarimbas: El Trigal, Prebo, Tazajal, San Diego and Isabelica, with mild participation in new areas. It suddenly escalated on Tuesday, the day after Maduro announced his plans for his fraudulent constituent assembly.

While much of the city was paralyzed by “El Trancazo”, hoodlums took the chance to attack shops in Naguanagua municipality, north of the city, with at least three supermarkets looted on Avenida Universidad by armed groups. Reports from people on the scene stress police not only failed to respond but actually participated in the looting.

On Wednesday, mayhem moved to the south of the city,  popular areas, with heavy looting reported in Flor Amarillo, Isabelica and Bella Florida neighborhoods. Groups of hundreds of people broke into a Central Madeirense supermarket in Isabelica taking everything with them. An INCES technical school was plundered and burned less than 500 meters from the National Guard Core 2 headquarters, with Chinese-owned stores also looted.

A Polar warehouse located near the south highway was looted too. The mobs stole literally everything: food, beers, trucks, roof-plates, toilets. Not far from there, a 21 year old was killed, allegedly by a store-owner whose shop he was trying to break into in the Bella Florida Neighborhood, according to Minister Nestor Reverol’s statements.

Not even this McDonald’s was spared

On Thursday, the violence continued with little response from the police or the GNB. The Mocasa Pasta factory in Bella Florida was looted while it was in operation: this video was filmed by a worker who had to flee the plant while watching helplessly, narrating and breaking into tears as hundreds of people began snatching the company’s equipment.

These pictures are only a taste of a week of lawlessness. At least 70 stores had been reported looted on the press as of Thursday morning, with the number likely higher, considering the all-encompassing media blackout and the fact that the poorer areas have less penetration by social media to document and spread the news.

It’s a dramatic moment for us. People rushed to the supermarkets yesterday frantically buying whatever food their meager salaries would afford to survive for a few days, fearing the looting spree may continue. There’s unprecedented fear in people’s faces. The days of joking about every bit of awful news we get are behind us. This shit is serious.

The Whatsapp groups I’m in have been exploding with messages from all corners, with neighbors in the street organizing, fearing that when the merchandise runs out, the mob will go into private homes. There are reports of owners allowing people to loot the food in their store in an orderly fashion so long as the looters don’t destroy the place. It’s a lot to digest.

We’ve seen this coming for a long time. We’ve been calling for this to happen by saying “que bajen los cerros,” and it’s the consequence of the looting mentality imposed by the government year after year, as it celebrates El Caracazo as some sort of heroic popular revolt against the “greedy” private sector.

The days of joking about every bit of awful news we get are behind us. This shit is serious.

The difference with 1989 may be the media blackout and the lack of repression of today’s explosion, but the result is the same, communities broken and destroyed, owners losing what they’v built in a lifetime of work, people dead. The worst part of it all is that, despite the endgame feeling of these events, Maduro’s regime may only be just starting.

32 COMMENTS

  1. Powerful, images and prose, illustrative of the desperately-poor substrata Venezuelan vast majority taking what they can, while they can, in a setting of complete breakdown of law and order

  2. Thousands, tens of thousands of looters in Venezuela: common people, “pueblo” people: all criminals. We tend to blame everything on Chavismo and ‘the government”, but many of the average people that are not politicians or associated with el “gobierno” are no saints either.. they deserve the shit they’re in, Thousands and thousands of them.

    • With the police and GNB either not doing anything about the looting or actually taking part of it, this may be all part of a government plan to have al pueblo go hungry or hungrier and then realy control every single person in the country with meager food handouts. From this government I’ve learned to expect just about anything.

  3. This isn’t the “que bajen los cerros”, this is the chavismo attack to continue the destruction of Venezuela.

    When the cerros came down, three dozens of colectivos didn’t live to see the dawn:

    https://www.facebook.com/eldiariodedross/videos/1424359880936492/

    Also, this is relevant to the topic at hand:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sQfExAxWZs

    And finally, stop believing the caracazo was a “spontaneous display of the angry people”, it was a coldly calculated coup against CAP.

    • “stop believing the caracazo was a “spontaneous display of the angry people”, it was a coldly calculated coup against CAP.”
      Oh please, you sound like my aunt. If that is the case then show me proof how Chavez organized such a thing!
      The Caracazo was nothing more, nothing less than peoples spontaneous anger and frustration woith the pressure of an inflationary economy and the recession, just like happens in many parts over the world.
      Chavez hijacked that resentment after the facts to his own advantage and claimed the “Caracazo” his creation, which of course was a big lie to look big and heroic.

      • If that is the case then show me proof how Chavez organized such a thing!
        That’s not what is being claimed.

      • Toro, in its moment I explained why the caracazo was a coup against CAP’s government in this very site and several other users agreed and presented their arguments as well, but people like you kept insisting that it was the “enraged people” because that’s a version that appeals to the ludicrous urban legend about “the people against the IMF”, you can take a look at the articles about the caracazo and read the discussions. The articles were quite one-sided, putting the government as the sole culprit of everything, when that wasn’t true.

        Second, I never mentioned nor tried to claim that shiabbe had anything to do with the caracazo, what I said was that it was an attempt to topple CAP’s government, orchestrated by several radical marxists and pro-cuban agents that remained from the guerrilla times when the castros actively tried to invade Venezuela through armed raids and that are government now.

        Third, it wasn’t the “enraged people” that decided to unload against the ebul greedy middle-classers, again, this was coordinated and directed by extremist leftists, which are in the government now.

        You know what’s different between the caracazo and the Ciudad Bolívar / Valencia lootings? That the chavistas (or let’s face it, dirty communists) are in power now, and thus didn’t send the army to rain gunfire upon the hundreds of lunatic sadistic bachaquero / malandros that gleefuly went to destroy the cities; it’s the same freckin’ MO because they’re targeting the same prey (Middle class businesses) and did it in the same way (Malandros lead the way, and take a bunch of idiots to destroy a place, then kill a couple here and there to make noise, which was EXACTLY what happened in the caracazo, minus the army bullets)

        If you knew more from Venezuela’s history you would know that most of the economic elite of this country openly supported every single coup against CAP and worked frantically to get rid of him because he tried to move the country out of the rentist model that was inviable by the second half of the 80s, and how many of the goverment were in the middle of it too, just because the guy wanted to eliminate somre privileges that the most filthy rich elite enjoyed in those times.

        And when you do some research, you’ll find out how many of those same economic elites are STILL economic elites in Venezuela, the rotten wax doll was merely the autocratic tyrant that allowed the continued ransacking of the country’s resources at the expense of the people (Cisneros and Camero are two examples), quite ironic.

        It’s quite simplistic or simply foolish to think that all the woes in Venezuela started in 1999 and that chavismo was “born” that year, when in fact it had decades to corrode and finally destroy Venezuela, only that it did so by other names in that time.

        • Well, you know…. I was living in Caracas at the time and even have a step brother who isn’t poor or belonged to any political party who rioted and looted in protest about the the Government. My dad was furious with him because of that and the danger. He was just laughing.!!
          It all came down to CAP applying the necessary but impossible austerity measures from the IMF in order to have access to loans and recover the economy. It was the right thing to do but it wasn’t easy.
          In Venezuela there has always been extreme left groups and most political parties were left wing.
          It was Chavez after his failed coup attempt that captured the frustration of the Venezuelan people after years of economic downturn, mainly due to almost two decades of low oil prices $8 per barrel !!!.
          Riots and Looting also happened in Los Angeles, USA in 1992 caused by black people’s frustration on perceived and real racial inequality.
          All these conspiracy theories about the Caracazo are blown over proportion and are not even close to justify the toppling of a Democratically Elected Government.
          Just recently there was violent protest in Mexico for a Gas price hike.
          The Caracazo was not much different than that.
          Venezuela before Chavez was a stable Democracy and the governments after the Perez Jimenez Dictatorship were of Socialist tendencies given their policies. It was not perfect and there was some corruption but it was hundred times better than Chavismo. You cant even compare.
          I can assure you that Venezuela destruction began in 1999 when Chavez got in power.

          • “Just recently there was violent protest in Mexico for a Gas price hike.
            The Caracazo was not much different than that.”

            It was different, because the same aggravating circumstances were presented THOUSANDS of times, let’s take two examples of such myths:

            Myth: Raising the public transport wages will create a caracazo.
            Reality: Public transport wage was 260 old Bs (0,26 weak Bs) in 1999, now it stands at 180 weak Bs (180.000 old Bs), there are two or three raises per year, where are the people destroying a city due to that? NOWHERE, because that doesn’t cause the “angry spontaneous people”

            Myth: Gasoline price raise will create a caracazo.
            Reality: How much was the last raise? 100.000% a fuggin’ MILLION %?? The truth behind the freezing of gasoline prices was that the smuggling mafias wanted the price as low as possible to rip out the country as much as possible.

            And those are just two examples.

            “I was living in Caracas at the time and even have a step brother who isn’t poor or belonged to any political party who rioted and looted in protest about the the Government. ”

            Hey, tiny world, I was living with my family in Caracas too during those days, and my father, my brother and me were almost killed by some of those fucking looters, we would have been tore into pieces if my father didn’t ram the crowd with his truck.

            And in the days after the lootings, my mother would wake up at 4am to stand in line to buy the rationed food at a nearby Central Madeirense, the lines were guarded by national guards, and with due reason, because guess what, gangs of people would drive by the avenue and fucking SHOOT THE PEOPLE IN THE LINE, those fucktards were never officially identified.

            It was planned, dude, a bunch of extremists roused crowds of imbeciles to go out and DESTROY everything, because they weren’t protesting, because if it was a protest of the “enraged people” against the government, WHY NO GOVERNMENT BUILDING WAS TOUCHED EVER? You want to know why the guards went apeshit and started killing people left and right? Because there were heavily armed gangs in the cerros and in the 23 de enero, with weapons never seen before in hands of common criminals, weapons that Fidel Castro smuggled into the country via diplomatic luggage when he came to Venezuela to congratulate CAP for his takeover, fucking hypocryte backstabber at its best.

            ” I can assure you that Venezuela destruction began in 1999 when Chavez got in power.”

            The destruction was underway, but at a snail’s pace, because the amount of money stolen was meager compared to what was invested, but you want to know there were signs of the political and economic elites trying to destroy the country? Just try to figure out where most of the nonsensical subsidies where aimed at, what about the rights to own the farming lands? Did you know that the governments in the 4th always blocked the right of people to become fully owners of their terrains in the basis of the stupidest excuses? Or did you know that the Black Friday where the Bolívar was kicked in the groin was the result of the economic elites who basically emptied the national reserves via a THRICE DAMNED VERSION OF CADIVI that destroyed the Bolívar’s value???

            One of the men that participated against the 4F coupsters, Lt. Mario Iván Carratú, tells in several interviews with a profound level of details how there was a whole apparatus decided to keep the twisted, self destructing structure of privileges for the economic elites, which was one of the reasons they supported the coups against CAP in the 92.

        • Makes perfect sense. I seem to recall that Aristides Calvani under Rafael Caldera (the first Presidency) pronounced that foreign oil interests were a “caballo de Troya”. The thing about a Trojan Horse is that you do not see it. The doors were opened to the real Trojan Horse: communism, maybe Cuba (I don’t know). Your post made me think that perhaps CAP’s “advisers” urged him to do his reform package suddenly, without preannouncement, as a “shock”, thus guaranteeing maximum stress, and needing just a small push to bring about disastrous political failure. Truth is, I don’t know. In some of the last photos of Caldera (second Presidency), he looked like a tired and beaten man, badly outnumbered, and worn by the same tactics Maduro is running on the entire country, more than by age. I have difficulty believing the clemency given Chavez was done of free will.

          • Caldera unbelievable presidential pardon to Chavez was a political move, a deal made with Chavez in order to gain support from his growing followers, because of this Caldera got reelected but this backfired to all Venezuela.

            The austerity measures that CAP announced were no secret, it was expected to come.
            CAP failure was to underestimate the Political cost and also to surrender without much fight on his somewhat unfair impeachment.
            The current crisis is 100 times worst now, but the Democratic regimes before Chavez were extremely soft, accommodating and sensitive to peoples unrealistic demands.

            CAP said once that he loveed to help people but he quickly realized that the more you helped, the more they expect from the Government.

            Back in that time when compared to other Latin American countries you could said that Venezuelans were a bunch of spoiled privileged brats.

            Poverty was more because of generational/class circumstances more than lack of opportunities.

  4. That IS indeed the worst. Even if the regime falls, these guys, their income for them and their families, fell too.

  5. ,”daespite the endgame feeling of these events, Maduro’s regime may only be just starting.”
    I’m betting my years salary on it, this shit has just started, but keep up the non violent protests bcuz that’s going to get you ….. FUCK all. Big smile, big fucking smile. Venezuela should adopt that rolling stone classic song as their new national anthem “you can’t always get what you want”! Par de pendejos que son!

    • Unless you have solid, substantial proof that protests aren’t doing anything, or at least have something better to say about a situation that’s costing a lot of people their lives in a literal and figurative sense, then I suggest you keep it to yourself, man. Seriously, right now, nobody needs self-defeating statements with no basis on credible knowledge or understanding.

      • My emotions run towards a more violent opposition. I would savor the opportunity to put a bullet between Maduro’s eyes.
        That doesn’t make me right though.
        The protests are working. If they weren’t, the government wouldn’t be responding so irrationally. The non-violent mantra that comes from the MUD leadership has been part of the reason that the world has begun to isolate this regime. The violence that the protesters are subjected to brings more sympathy and support by the hour.
        The opposition’s demands are reasonable and the government’s response is increasingly unreasonable.
        Latin America has a culture of rejecting outside intervention. This is a time when I wish the leaders of other Latin American nations would beg the US for help.
        As an American that realizes that we will be damned if we do and damned if we don’t, I would rather that we be damned by this regime than by its victims.
        I do believe that this regime will fall. I also believe that there will be much more suffering and many more deaths before it does.
        In my heart I believe that there are many honorable soldiers that at some point will break with the corrupt leadership and protect the Venezuelan people.
        Lilian Tintori’s letter was excellent and I am sure it did not fall on deaf ears.
        I pray everyday for the protection of the Venezuelan people, that your struggle for freedom is successful and that your suffering ends quickly.
        May God be with all of you.
        Viva Venezuela!!

        • In just saw this on DolarToday.
          dated today at Noon.

          85 officers of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) were arrested in Boleíta for being dissatisfied with the situation in the country, said Miranda governor Henrique Capriles . The National

          “We publicly detain 85 officers of our FANB in ​​Boleíta. All for having manifested discontent. They will have to stop the whole country, “said the political leader in his Twitter account.

          On April 26, the news was confirmed that three FANB soldiers sought refuge in Colombia. The government of Nicolas Maduro demanded to the neighboring country the delivery of the three officers for trying to give a coup d’etat.

          According to Chancellor Delcy Rodriguez, these military men would have called for the overthrow of Maduro through a video.

  6. Hasn’t it occurred to anyone that we’ve been living in a fairly lawless society already? It’s always amazed me there hasn’t been more of this going around.. People are hungry. No income. Food too expensive to buy. Lately many robberies amount to nothing more than people stealing food. This should come as no surprise. Maduro’s forces are spread thin and it’s possible that they just can’t keep a lid on it.

    • Carol nailed it. And they have been told by their government that the profit-crazed, capitalist store owners are hoarding food supplies to drive up prices.

  7. The lid’s off, valle. I used to live in Valencia and seeing those ransacked bodegas and businesses is tragic. But anarchy always happens when the money and resources run out. How can it be different. The question is how far down the poseta will Maduro push the country, because even as is, reconstruction will be difficult. Goddam I hate to see my old stomping ground tore up and all the gente so desperate. Now that even law enforcement is looting as well, the whole thing is heading toward total meltdown.

  8. Venezuela, you voted for socialism. The end result was entirely predictable, it happened over and over throughout the 20th century.

    Half of those who voted for socialism thought they could get free stuff without working for it. The other half thought they’d be the ones in charge. In the end, all socialism gets you is hunger and death. And you voted for it.

  9. Maduro won’t fall until the core Chavistas start to go hungry and the money they have been looting for years dries up or can’t buy anything anymore. They have the army and the colectivos to prop them up.
    The “happy days” of the revolution are long gone and aren’t coming back. One hopes these idiots are finally starting to realize what a stupid, destructive fraud their beloved revolution really is. It seems like there is always a new generation with no memory of the past that falls for the communist insanity all over again with the same results.

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