Photo: AFP-JIJI retrieved

“I always dreamed of being a policeman, but my mom didn’t let me,” said a man who was around 65 years old, while the present laughed at the longing in his voice. The stage for this conversation was one of those buses incorporated to Maracaibo’s public transport fleet.

“If she’d let me, today I’d be the proud captain of some police body,” he added.

We laughed until he told us about the methods he’d use against criminals: “And of course, if I ever catch a gangster, I would have him killed, because they all have to die.”

We forced a smile and I thought to myself: Thank God your mom knew what she was dealing with!

“If I ever catch a gangster, I would have him killed, because they all have to die.”

But it’s shocking how common these comments actually are. The lady next door, the college janitor, your favorite uncle, the gym trainer or the literature teacher, everyone thinks extrajudicial executions are a real solution against crime, one of the main reasons behind the Venezuelan diaspora.

A human rights activist tells me that this happens because the death penalty is overrated in the country and in many regions in Latin America: “[Extrajudicial executions] are justified by rapings or the murder of children, when in reality these cases are uncommon and isolated.”

Just look at 2016, with lynchings disseminated through grotesque images on social media, hundreds of people in different places of our geography ganging up on alleged criminals. It happened for weeks.

Nevertheless, according to the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence, an average of 17 people are murdered daily by State forces in 2018 in alleged anti-crime operations, which makes Venezuela the toughest place in the continent regarding police violence.

The figures, which aren’t new (they rose by one person compared to 2017) have done nothing to improve safety, and also cause the “criminalization of poverty,” according to Roberto Briceño, head of the organization, who says that most of the people murdered by OLPs or the FAES live in low-income areas.

But what can we expect of citizens whose political leaders employ a violent language, authorizing extrajudicial executions even for political reasons, giving a chance to their most radical followers to talk on television?

“[Extrajudicial executions] are justified by rapings or the murder of children, when in reality these cases are uncommon and isolated.”

In December, 2015, during a mandatory broadcast after a landslide defeat in parliamentary elections, Nicolás Maduro let a former bolivarian circles coordinator say that chavistas who gave in should get “a bullet in the head” and, although Maduro looked surprised by the statement and took it as a joke, he said: “Remember that you’re on live TV.”

Among the gems from public authorities, we have comments made by former ambassador Roy Chaderton in favor of the death penalty against the “corrupt”, and Minister Iris Varela mocking Óscar Pérez, saying that the Instagram videos during the massacre at El Junquito were “a crybaby’s show.

There’s no doubt, however, that the most shocking action about this last case was done by Maduro himself when, days before the incident, he claimed that he’d given the order to “shoot the terrorists” and, after the controversial police operation, he proudly said “I gave an order and it was carried out.”

Maybe the issue at heart is Venezuela’s lack of appreciation for human rights, so people take a despicable violation of fundamental rights as ordinary. Two months ago, a 27-year-old man named Luis Losada was murdered in front of his daughter at a Maracaibo slum for allegedly stealing a TV set. His mom declared days later that Luis was no thief, but since the cops believed he was, they had a right to arrest him not shoot him.

Actually, they shouldn’t have touched him without a warrant. But how do you explain that when horror is an everyday thing?

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67 COMMENTS

  1. Killing the bad guy isn’t the answer. Because there isn’t a lesson to be learned. The bad guy dies. End of story. And another malandro comes along who hasn’t learned “The Lesson”. The answer is punishing the bad guy and he lives on and on and on and on with “The Lesson”.

    One thing that I learned from people who live in very desperate situations (Central America, Africa) is if you want to REALLY hurt people, you take away what they love. But you always let them live so that they can endure with that reality. That is what despots in those regions have learned.

    • Yes, but you can unite to keep malandros away from your neighborhood. Nothing like a good lynching to set the example to future malandros and the worthless police that we are fed up and ready take justice into our own hands. Not a long term solution, but given the present climate in Venezuela, this is the only thing that works. Maybe if you actually lived in a “desperate situation” rather than just hearing second hand accounts, you might think different…oh, BTW do you think the prison system actually works in Venezuela?? Criminal justice system jajajajajajjajajajaajajaj There is no justice in Venezuela…and paying a cop for an extrajudicial killing is often the only justice because anything can happen once they go to prison. Another factor left out of the analysis!! because many of these killings by police are hired killings by the families of the victims. Only good malandro is a dead malandro. Period.

      • Right you are… but malandro #1 is dead.

        Sudan village, 1995. Sudanese/Chadian/Ethiopian bad guys caught, beaten up after raping a bunch of girls/boys/women. The townsfolk decided to give him a taste of “justice”. (actually, no taste of justice…. they cut out his tongue) Off comes his ears, his lips, his eyes burned out, and his fingers and junk is “pulled off”. Prior to all of this, they show him an old tire and a can of petrol. They ask him if he would like to burn to death at the end, or if they should just find his wife/kids and “necklace” them instead? They take these bad guys outside of town and dump them alive at the side of the road, where some white hats found them. Lessons learned.

        That is the very harsh, HARSH reality of living in desperation. These villagers had put up with a lot, and they had had enough. When we last went back in 2003, there had been no more raids.

        I am certainly not advocating for torture. But putting a bullet in some guys noggin teaches THAT bad guy nothing, because he is dead. The answer, is to “kill him for the rest of his life”. Take away what a man loves, and he will die every day.

        • Next month it’ll be a year since the neighbor who lived in the house directly in front of ours disappeared with his brother. I’d guess the two were between 25 and 30 years of age.

          They and a buddy were stealing fertilizer (again) from a farm that borders the town. The new owner of the farm (who owns a huge place just across the border in Monagas) had recently bought the place and was tired of the theft. During the theft, the buddy and one of the brothers were injured by gunfire. The buddy managed to escape but the brother was too badly injured to move. The other brother went back for him and two were never seen again.

          Everyone knows what happened to them.

          The guy in charge of the ranch was brought in to the local poice, the GNB showed up, yada yada yada. I even saw the pickup of the owner parked in front of the police station next door one day but there was no solution in the end.

          I feel sorry for the mother, she’s suffered plenty and hasn’t been the same since.

          There have been no further thefts at that farm.

          • But, remember, like all mothers of malandros in Venezuela, “He was a good/innocent kid–he was a (fill in the blank)–ayudante de albanil–estudiante–motorizado–mototaxista–etc., etc.”

    • “… if you want to REALLY hurt people, you take away what they love. But you always let them live so that they can endure with that reality.”

      I’m not interested in “making them suffer”, I’m interesting in solving a problem.

      And criminals are a problem.

    • ” The answer is punishing the bad guy and he lives on and on and on and on with “The Lesson”.”

      Also, Guapo, the lesson is not that, the lesson is that there WILL be a consequence for the crime, 100% of the time, or by a % high enough to act as a deterrent.

      In Venezuela, the legal consequences if you are a criminal are below the 1%.

    • @El Guapo “Killing the bad guy isn’t the answer. Because there isn’t a lesson to be learned. ”

      I’m more sanguine on this matter, I confess.

      I think killing the bad guy can certainly be the answer, if only to the question of That Bad Guy.

      “The bad guy dies. End of story.”

      And if you end enough stories, you eventually winnow down the library of evil, at least for a while.

      I’m under no illusions that this makes for a stable solution, but I do think it can help pave the way for one.

      ” And another malandro comes along who hasn’t learned “The Lesson”. The answer is punishing the bad guy and he lives on and on and on and on with “The Lesson”.”

      The answer is finding a way to causterize the wound, in my opinion. Finding a way to make the lesson institutionalized, to help decrease the flow of malandros.

      Not stop, I don’t think we’ll ever stop until the Second Coming. But get it under control.

      And I certainly do think that mortal violence can help that.

      “That is the very harsh, HARSH reality of living in desperation. These villagers had put up with a lot, and they had had enough. When we last went back in 2003, there had been no more raids.”

      A very ugly but inspiring story.

      Thing is: this isn’t a permanent solution either. It can certainly HELP, and it might be more “inspiring” and deterrent than just killing them as they pop up. But sooner or later another jagoff is going to forget, or get bold. And then that’s another set of body parts that need to be cleaved off.

      Ultimately, this is a holding action. Or baby steps towards a stable situation.

  2. People have this fascination with the violent and quick solutions to crime, like obviously if they are propposing them they are blind to the human rights violation, and the consequences that letting police officers murder their way to the next paycheck will bring.

    Like if what Duerte is doing or what has been done in the fabelas worked as a deterrent.

    • People is “fascinated” with those “quick” solutions because the system that should be working is completely crippled.

      There was a case in Venezuela where a chabizta thug murdered a girl just because he wanted and in the middle of the trial he was BLOWING KISSES to the girl’s relatives, all while merrily making fun of the crime and the victim and bragging how fast he was going to be back in the streets and how much the family would regret to have “messed with him”.

      What else could have been done in such a case?

    • @Keep It Anonymous “People have this fascination with the violent and quick solutions to crime, like obviously if they are propposing them they are blind to the human rights violation, and the consequences that letting police officers murder their way to the next paycheck will bring. ”

      I agree with Ulamog, I’m pretty sure it is the opposite way around.

      People who havel ived under a tyrannical, corrupt dictatorship where those in thick with the regime can literally get away with murder have their faith in justice and the law erode because the dictatorship is the one “upholding” them.

      And with lack of faith in organized, previously respectable justice, they turn towards decidedly UNrespectful justice.

  3. Or the thug actually stole a TV and deserved to get his ass kicked. Just because his bario ass mom says he is not a thief means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING…OK, maybe not dead malandro maracucho, but beating somebody half to death will let them know not to steal again.

    BTW, why this happens is that THERE IS NO LAW IN VENEZUELA!!! ZERO, ZILCH, NADA!!!! THE POLICE DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!!! (they are just body guards for the enchufados and business owners who pay the vacuna) CITIZENS HAVE TO UNITE AND LYNCH A FEW MALANDROS TO SET THE EXAMPLE!!! Where is this in your analysis Braulio???

    DO MALANDROS RESPECT BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS???? Again, another worthless analysis at the arepa…

    • Right, Guachi. In the old pre-oil rural days, malandros were ajusticiados/left to rot in the town plazas for all to see/not forget–a deterrent that worked.

    • @gacharaca “Or the thug actually stole a TV and deserved to get his ass kicked. ”

      That’s an *awfully* large “maybe.”

      And in a functioning civilization it would be the job of the law to determine that.

      While I’ve seen way too many stories of aggrieved parents going full “Gentle Giant” syndome on their kids, the mom is right. Lock him up, rough him up if that’s what is necessary to get him in custody, but don’t kill him if it can be helped.

      “Just because his bario ass mom says he is not a thief means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING”

      I agree completely.

      Thing is, just because the cops say he is a thief also means absolutely nothing.

      That’s why the *law* is meant to take over.

      It obviously didn’t in this case.

      Ergo fewer people bother turning to a corrupt, brutal system.

      “…OK, maybe not dead malandro maracucho, but beating somebody half to death will let them know not to steal again.”

      Bingo.

      “BTW, why this happens is that THERE IS NO LAW IN VENEZUELA!!! ZERO, ZILCH, NADA!!!! THE POLICE DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!!! (they are just body guards for the enchufados and business owners who pay the vacuna) ”

      I think there’s the law of the jungle, and the law of the dictatorship.

      But otherwise agreed.

      “CITIZENS HAVE TO UNITE AND LYNCH A FEW MALANDROS TO SET THE EXAMPLE!!! Where is this in your analysis Braulio???”

      Indeed, this is what IT hink is missing.

      Nature and people abhor vacuums. And in the absence of proper law, they’re trying to carve out order and security by cruder methods. “Public justice” and all that.

      “DO MALANDROS RESPECT BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS???? Again, another worthless analysis at the arepa…”

      No, they don’t. But the entire purpose of law- the entire reason vigilante actons are justified- is that the rest of humanity doesn’t want to sink down to their level

  4. There are cultures which viscerally celebrate the machos contempt for the ‘sissy inefectual’ methods of law and order while notionally paying homage to its virtues , its the subject of so many tv , film and folk narratives , the cult of bigger than life heroes who ‘take the law into their own hands’ when dealing with miscreants and villains ……, Venezuela having more primitive values than most , has lots of people who adopt this stance ……..thats why in politics the hard talking , tough, no holds barred ‘strong man’ who despises legal niceties can always count on a large following. In Venezuela (and less so in other places) there is always this cult of the macho hero who battles a corrupt, unjust or innefectual formal authority , its the kind of mentality that feeds the fires of populism.

    • So, the Chavez/Maduro regime is a populist regime. As a result, crime is out of control. This has led to a cult of macho, hero, vigilantes that, “feeds the fires of populism”.

      Sounds like a totally hopeless, self-reinforcing do-loop of “populism”.

      Conclusion: Venezuela is fucked forever.

      • ** “There are cultures which viscerally celebrate the machos contempt for the ‘sissy inefectual’ methods of law and order while notionally paying homage to its virtues , its the subject of so many tv , film and folk narratives…”

        In Venezuela, it’s called VIVEZA CRIOLLA.

        Just look at how the criminal is the supreme hero of the viveza, and look how high was he held in a pedestal through soap operas and cinema in the 4th, which were like 90% about malandros killing and raping everything in a barrio because “they showed that poor people existed”

        ** “So, the Chavez/Maduro regime is a populist regime. As a result, crime is out of control. ”

        No, the regime CONTROLS THE CRIME BECAUSE THEY ARE BEHIND IT, the regime has ENCOURAGED CRIME SINCE DAY ONE when shiabbe BRAYED “if I claim that I’m hungry then I CAN STEAL”

    • @Bill Bass “There are cultures which viscerally celebrate the machos contempt for the ‘sissy inefectual’ methods of law and order while notionally paying homage to its virtues ,”

      Agreed there.

      Usually cultures that have been through a protracted period of either anarchy, or severe tyranny. Like Somalia on one extreme or Ming China on the other.

      “its the subject of so many tv , film and folk narratives , the cult of bigger than life heroes who ‘take the law into their own hands’ when dealing with miscreants and villains ……, ”

      I think this is much more universal than just the cultures that scoff at the law.

      Pick a culture. And you can probably find an example of the “Noble Outlaw” as aa folklore figure, or even motif.

      China? Water Margin and the classical triads.

      America? Cowboys.

      England? Highwaymen and Robin Hood (which used to be a term for thief, “Rob(b)in(g) Hood(s)).

      Russia? Thieves’ World.

      Japan? The Yakuza, or at least their supposed legendary forefathers.

      I won’t say this is universal among humans, butit certainly is damn prevalent across time and space and culture.

      And I think it’s largely because remember times of legal collapse or tyranny. And deep down they also remember that this kind of stuff, “taking the law into your own hands”, was how the law was built in the first place. The strength to impose it, coupled with some moral code behind it.

      “Venezuela having more primitive values than most , has lots of people who adopt this stance ……..thats why in politics the hard talking , tough, no holds barred ‘strong man’ who despises legal niceties can always count on a large following.”

      And when you look at the general rough and tumble nature of American colonization, Hispanic America’s particulaly odd oligarchic, isolationist system in the colonial days, and remember that the Spanish and Portuguese that first set banners down came from the wastelands and battlefields of Iberia during the Reconquista, I think a lot of that makes sense.

      it isn’t unique to Hispanic America or Iberia. Not by a looooooooooooooooooooooong shot. But I think it helped bleed in to that.

      ” In Venezuela (and less so in other places) there is always this cult of the macho hero who battles a corrupt, unjust or innefectual formal authority , ”

      Agreed, for better or worse.

      But I also think a good way of examining that is looking through a timeline of governments that have ruled over Venezuela.

      There certainly have been governments that weren’t corrupt, unjust, and ineffective. But ltos were.

      “its the kind of mentality that feeds the fires of populism.”

      Funny you mention that. Because I still hold that populism isn’t an inherently bad or destructive thing (though it damn well can be).

      And the word’s origins come from the Populares. Roman reformers who tried to help fix and democratice the oligarchic rule of the Senate, and more importantly to bring the increasingly lawless, expansionist rural grandees governing over the Lanifunda into order.

      (Sound familiar by chance?).

      Prosperity, peace, and some degree of justice breed confidence and trust in the government and the law. Lack of those breaks them down and makes people go back to the uglier, cruder methods of getting things done.

      Nothing new.

  5. Vigilantism, or expressions of support for it, are nothing more or less than an expression of complete lack of confidence in the justice system. It is simply one more stop on the road to complete anarchy.

    • Thats true for a lot of people , but there are people to whom having a gun and using it to harm others or to rob them is a sign of macho superiority , it makes them feel mighty and proudl ……I suppose you have also read father Alejandro Morenos anthropological studies of barrio criminals , they will be violent not just in order to survive but to show off to their world that they are worthy of respect because of their capacity and resolve in using guns or weapons to hurt other people , usually people from outside their barrio …..!! Most barrio dwellers are law abiding but there are some , specially young males for whom violence is a source of personal prestige.

      • “…young males for whom violence is a source of personal prestige.”

        Males that should be purged out of the gene pool, or in a more “civilized approach”, get locked away for good.

      • But, I am talking about the normally civilised and law-abiding people who form a spontaneous mob to beat some malandro to death. Or a father or brother who kill a rapist. It happens when people just don’t trust the police and the courts to provide justice. I think that others here are trying to over-analyze it.

        There is a Social Contract (Hobbes), whether or not it is codified in a constitution, and people know when their Society is not upholding their end of the deal. When that happens, normal people lose their civilised behavioural constraints and seek their own justice.

      • @Bill Bass

        “Thats true for a lot of people , but there are people to whom having a gun and using it to harm others or to rob them is a sign of macho superiority – it makes them feel mighty and proudl”

        I think you’re overlooking that “confidence” can have different meanings.
        Lacking confidence in the justice system can mean “I do not trust the justice system to do right by me and mine. I don’t think they will do the right thing.”

        But it can also mean “I do not trust the justice system to *catch me* when I do something or when I boast about it loudly to my fellow scumbags.”

        Both breed a breakdown in the law. And they certainly aren’t mutually exclusive.

        Basically, the law lacks the justness to convince the halfway decent people that it will do the right thing, and it also lacks the deterrence to convince the monsters that if they act, they will be caught and they will be punished.

  6. “The central concern of Lord of the Flies (Venezuela) is the conflict between two competing impulses that exist within all human beings: the instinct to live by rules, act peacefully, follow moral commands, and value the good of the group against the instinct to gratify one’s immediate desires, act violently to obtain supremacy over others, and enforce one’s will. This conflict might be expressed in a number of ways: civilization vs. savagery, order vs. chaos, reason vs. impulse, law vs. anarchy, or the broader heading of good vs. evil”

    Unfortunately, unlike the book Venezuela is not allegory it is reality……

  7. If the upmost good is to have stuff, i.e. consumerist materialism, and you have no honest means to provide yourself with such stuff, all the while living with the temptation of indulging in a ‘little bit of crime’ to provide yourself with the trappings of the ‘upmost good’ that you think you deserve. For examples of such bargains watch “Breaking Bad” or the “Godfather” and where they end.

    Have a small but significant amount of people think this way in a failed state and you have a tsunami wave of crime as we see. Venezuelan society cannot provide incentive to act virtuously or disincentive by punishment. You materialize dystopia and in desperation you want quick fixes. Then come the dishonest populist leaders (Chavez, Duterte, Erdogan,…) promising such fixes and then we have the blood bath for guilty and innocent.

    This is the weakness of democracies, where ignorant and evil opinions also count. China instead banks on the enlightened emperor surrounded by its nobility, the communist party, to protect the people from itself and with the same move, ignore the wisdom of the people.

    I’m a westerner! And wrong is wrong.

    • “For examples of such bargains watch “Breaking Bad” or the “Godfather” and where they end.”

      American cinema often vilified criminals to the point that they always end losing everything and end either in prison or dead by the end of the show.

      While Venezuelan soap operas and movies often tried to make the malandro a “people’s hero”, justifying how he spends the whole movie stealing, mugging, raping and killing but being “a misunderstood misfit”

      Heck, even one of the last movies that dealt with that issue, “Secuestro Express”, from the same guy that wrote the most vitrolic book against the enchufados, portaits the kidnappers as “guys that are good deep down” that end befriending their hostage.

  8. What I take away from this article is that the criminals are the real “victims” in all this. Not the people they prey on.

    People have a right to try and protect themselves and their property and it does not have anything at all to do with living out some fantasy about John Wayne or Clint Eastwood meting out frontier justice where it is needed. It’s about trying to protect yourself, your family , your property, your neighbors and their property as well. If you know perfectly well that the police cannot be counted on then who else is there to turn to? No one.

    • If you are not willing to try to fight the wolves you can always just wait as helpless sheep do until you are devoured also.

    • I do not disagree with the principle, the problem is the implementation and ease by which it devolves into mob rule. Notice that the mob may provide real justice, but its the weakness of the model which I object when you are talking of lives.

      Then there is the practicality of self defense. The aggressor can always press the surprise factor which means that you enter this gangland / wild-west / ninja-warrior environment where every dark corner can hide your next aggressor.

  9. yet another piece of crybaby bullshit about the human rights of murderers and rapists who ruin lives casually. All Caracas Cronicles´s team of progressive closeted socialists want is for malandros to have human rights, but fuck the victims who live in hell because of them.

  10. Knew someone who had a cattle ranch , part of it bordered a tiny hamlet , he knew that people in those hamlets tended to slowly invade the land of the bordering ranches , to prevent it he gave a piece of land between the ranch and the hamlet to a trutsted local to live with his familuy , someone who acted as a buffer between the hamlet people and the ranch, in his case an old one arm old man who had a reputation as a ferociously violent person , his wife was a young, not bad looking woman , she seemed to dote on the old guy and had a temper to match that of the husband , loved going out at the least pretext wielding a machete to and fro witn a big grin ….., one night the old man got drunk, got into a fight with someone in the hamlet and was beaten to a pulp , when he returned crying in humiliation to his wife she took out her machete waited for the person who had beaten her old man to come out of the botiquin and slashed him to pieces , the result was that she got sent to jail together with her old man and no one knew what afterwards had happened to their lovely four small children………….of course she had avenge the injury done to her old mans dignity ……..this happened a long time ago in the Andes .

    • She made a mistake–instead of waiting for the transgressor to publicly come out of the botiquin, she should have waited for him on a dark night alone “en la bajadita”, the way its traditionally done….

    • Did she kill him?

      This is why I carry a Judge (look it up), a revolver that shoots both regular bullets and .410 shotgun shells.

      A couple of .410s to the knees is more than enough hurt, without killing, to make your point.

      It’s not about macho. You’re really creating a false narrative about this, because I doubt you grew up in an American gun culture, where macho has nothing to do with it.

      In fact, it’s even less about macho for people in the barrios just trying to stay alive, and the MAJORITY of law-abiding gunowners in American ghettoes.

      It IS about survival, and who’s going to get their first to protect you? The police, or your own gun?

      I know you’re into history, but we’re talking current real world life here, and you’re painting it with an unfair wide brush of liberalism.

      • In Venezuela having a gun makes you a target for bands of criminals that will ambush you and kill you to rob your very valuable gun , preferred targets are armed policemen when they go home or are just caught riding their motorbikes somewhere quiet , even armed soldiers are killed to steal their weapon , its done on the sly , if you are robbed and you resist with your gun there is someone pointing at your back the whole time who will kill you if you offer any resistance and whom you never see…….my dad knew about guns and ketp them with him all the time , even slept with one under the pillow , but he was always very careful about telling us how dangerous they were and what was the right way of handling them , he even had a chance of using them a couple of time (with lethal consequences) , his favourite weapon was a mean looking machine gun ( very very heavy) which he called with tenderness his ‘negrita’ ( small negress) , couldnt part with it ……even if better guns became available …..having a gun implies a lot of reponsability , its not for everyone. In his old age a friend gave him an israeli UZI , really handy , but he still preferred his negrita ……people who know guns are like that !! Of course guns are part of all macho cultures but some who love guns arent necessarily driven to have them to show off their manhood , only some people do !!

        • Oh, you’re just being fucking ridiculous now.

          Claiming that having a gun makes you more of a target than those who don’t.

          You’re inserting worthless hypothesis into what’s really going on out there, as if you have any statistics to back up your position.

          Stop embarrassing yourself.

          A gun is power, and your words and/or wishes aren’t going to change this simple fact.

        • And where the hell does “manhood” come into it? Seriously, dude. You just don’t get it at all.

          Spend some time in my state, Texas, or a dozen others.

          Having testicles doesn’t have a fucking thing to do with it, with equal numbers of women packing for their protection.

          Once again:

          You’re inventing a reality which doesn’t exist. It’s a lie!

          And also pretty machismo and negative against women’s right to arm themselves.

  11. Braulio, Chaderton’s most (in)famous public quote was, “A bullet passes more quickly through the head of an “Esqualido”, because the head is emptier”–fine Chabestia diplomatic language….

  12. It is a downward spiral that infects a people like this.

    1) people are dissatisfied with life after having tried to make life better for themselves, legally
    2) some of them go onto commit crimes, some of which include murder
    3) gubmint gets involved and police then are instructed to take a heavy hand with lesser crimes
    4) more people see an oppressive gubmint and eventually ignore gubmint rules
    5) more police are brought in and more heavy hands are holding the guns
    6) more freedoms are lost
    repeat step 4

    Society is collapsing all around these people and desperation soon exceeds civility. Criminals are killing police officers for their guns. Cost of living is exceeding paychecks so rapidly, police and other law enforcement have to fend for their families.

    Who are the criminals? the gubmint and those who break the law (for profit)
    Who are the victims? those not breaking the law, those who are forced to break the law to put food in their bellies since money is worthless

    There is no longer any trust in both the gubmint or law enforcement. So people will do what they need and/or what they want.

  13. Revised to fit the actual situation in Venezuela

    1) people are dissatisfied with life after having tried to make life better for themselves, legally or illegally, in an economy where the cards are stacked against everybody but the most well connected enchufados or pranes. Kleptozuela.
    2) some of them go onto commit violent crimes (white collar crime is a way of life here), including armed robbery, kidnapping and even murder.
    3) PNB GNB or State police only get involved in high profile cases or when there is a challenge to Chavismo from a Pran; local police dont do shit against violent criminals unless they are paid by the family members of victims of violent crime to do a hired killing of a malandro.
    4) more people see a justice system that is completely corrupt and incompetent and either retreat into their cell walls of their house, leave the country, or maybe grow a pair of nuts and start taking justice into their own hands.
    5) the federal government is incompetent is all respects and cannot hire enough PNB, GNB or State and local police to resolve the problem of insecurity. And even if they did– they are a bunch of corrupt c*%ts who dont do shit other than rob the honest people on a daily basis (and hyperinflation only further exacerbates this).
    6) All of our freedoms are lost anyway, not because of a security state, but because a bunch of criminals are in charge of a banana republic (without the republic) who are hell bent to hold onto power at all costs.

    There is no logic to any of this, it is pure chaos, and when there is no law and order eventually good people have to stand up against the evil.

    Oh, also forgot to add, it is not just criminals who kill police for their guns. In reality, that is actually probably a rare situation. In 90% of the cases it is generally a corrupt cop or GNB who will sell guns (confiscated from malandros or stolen from local police forces or the military) AND SELL the STOLEN GUNS TO THE MALANDROS!!

  14. People wouldn’t be wishing to off criminals that often, if there were CONSEQUENCES to the crimes commited.

    The 99% impunity rate in Venezuela is another thing that was completely left out of this article.

  15. What Carlos said. Most problems are the result of wanting to immediately gratify the need for a solution to problems that can only be corrected from long and sober effort. As has been said, as is, Venezuela cannot be fixed, as evidenced by the fact that it cannot fix itself. It has to be transformed from within.

  16. One way regime supported trolls try to distract attention from an articles message is to fake they are ‘red blooded’ americans and try and link the messages wih US polemical topics indifferent to normal venezuelans so it is the discussion of the latter rather than the Venezuelan tragedy targeted in the message what becomes the focus of the discussion , some times a weird turn of phrase , or am awkward expression gives the game away …….also they try and make americans look foolish and frivolous fanatics to promote anti american feelings among readers of venezuelan origin……. , also they try too hard and insert fake details to show themselves as native americans who just happened unto this block ………

    One give away is their froth in th mouth rants against or for Mr Trump or his US political adversaries . we have our own tragedy to deal with but they pretende that we go after the polemics that have very little do with with what is our current reality .

    • I agree Bill (although I’m not sure they’re trolls, they are just fervent in and have to be spreading and proving it at ALL times). Please keep on writing, I find your comments interesting and insightful.

    • Well said Bill. Ira drinks heavily and forgot he is supposed to live in Florida….but now apparently he resides in Texas. Keep posting sir…I find you to be very knowledgeable and thoughtful.

  17. Or ira who seems to have a hate on for you Bill. In any case you are e 100% correct about what you said about malandros targeting you specifically if they know you have guns in your home. They want guns very badly and if they figure they can survive the attempt to steal them from you, they will. That being said, I believe that these thieves that are willing to break into your house at night and hold a gun on your children also realize that they are living and will die by the sword one day. They must know that every time they go out to hurt people, could be their last day on earth and they are somewhat prepared for it. The few times I have seen one of these fuckers caught and executed they didn’t even beg for their lives. No comments even as they were being goaded by their soon to be executioners. It really made an impression on me how resigned they were that their number was up and they were about to meet their maker as they quietly panted out their lasts breaths until the fatal bullets were introduced into their bodies. Every day is a calculated risk for them. Their lives are fast but short and they know it. Part of what makes them so dangerous and inhuman. And so I too must add that the only good malandro is a dead malandro. The damage they do socially is ongoing in so many ways. One more detail that I always think about in this little barrio near where I live. There are about a dozen young women each with between 3 to 6 very small children from different fathers who have been raised to talk and act like little gangsters. Their fathers, who come and go, think its hilarious to teach them how to smoke weed and cigarettes and load guns and fist fight with the other little mini malandros. What chance do we have with all these up and coming vermin who will soon replace their fathers and are being encouraged by their mothers to go out and steal. Find food no matter what they have to do. Chavez said it was ok, so it must be ok.

  18. Civilization is hard work. You can read a thousand different theories about how to reduce crime, but the reality is that law and order is achieved through the hard work of police, prosecutors, and judges, day in and day out. It is work that is usually thankless and often dangerous. Moreover, the people who do this, work in close contact with the most amoral and repugnant elements of our society. It is easy for them to become cynical and then corrupted themselves.

    Like weeding a garden, this work is never really “done”. In just a short time of being neglected, the garden is choked with weeds.

    After so many years of neglect, Venezuelan civilization is going to take many years of hard work to recover.

  19. Well, I wish this were surprising. But it’s not. And maybe the worst thing is that at this point, I almost view it as a POSITIVE development.

    But let’s make one thing clear. This isn’t an aberration. This is a return to form. Not for Venezuela, but for humanity in general.

    To quote the great Mark Steyn, “If the political culture forbids respectable politicians from raising certain topics, then the electorate will turn to respectable politicians ”

    Now, I realize it is a *biblical* stretch to even conceive of the Chavistas as “respectable”, but that’s kind of the point. Civilization’s a rare, fragile thing. The systems of laws established within them even more so. After all, it is people voluntarily sacrificing the ability to act on their grievances in exchange for safety. That “respectable” insitutions and people can be trusted to manage these kinds of affairs.

    But sometimes that bargain isn’t just violated, it breaks down completely. There are always people willing to push the envelope and violate it, but when the law itself becomes too corrupt, despotic, and/or ineffectual to do anything, well… it ceases to be respectable.

    So people will discard it, and try to establish something new. Something to address their complaints.

    And honestly, at this point? I can’t say I *LIKE* it but I think it’s a net positive development. It helps weaken the monopoly on violence held by Those Goons. The Chavistas in government and on the street. It will be stepping into the void they left (or purporting to anyway). And can be turned against them.

    This is going to be ugly. But the question is: will it be much uglier than what is the norm? Has been for years?

    And make no mistake. This isn’t anything new. Prisons were a recent invention in human history, all things considered.

    Usually punishments wouldn’t be so gentle.

    I don’t like it, but I have no right to be surprised by it.

    • The only thing I will quibble with on Turtler’s comment above is that a lack of civilization is the norm. Humans are social animals. Even in our most primitive social unit, a Band, humans will establish a hierarchical social structure and behavioural norms.

      The history of human civilization is the construction of ever larger and more complex social, political, and economic structures. Complete anarchy and barbarism is a rather temporary (relatively speaking) condition that occurs when civilizations fail.

      As for his primary idea that the advent of vigilantism is a harbinger of Chavismo’s imminent failure, I agree. Though it remains to be seen if they can successfully survive by morphing into something resembling the political structure of North Korea, work camps and all.

      • @Roy “The only thing I will quibble with on Turtler’s comment above is that a lack of civilization is the norm. Humans are social animals. ”

        This might be due to a bit of a disagreement on what civilization is.

        Don’t get me wrong. Humans are social animals. Even way back in prehistory, we were. So were our ancestors. Without some kind of social unit we usually go to pot.

        But while most humans to have ever lived did so in social units, I’d be pushing it to call those things *civilization.* Usually they tended to be family or tribal organizations that were rough, tended to fall apart, fluid compared to the sort of stability we’d think.

        Though ultimately like you say the sort of clan/tribal entities we make naturally and the way they interact with each other is the building block of civilization. But that’s a bit like saying that a mud brick is the building block of a house or the step pyramids.

        But usually when things go to pot, either the human population will collapse entirely (rare today but common), or it’ll reorgnaize into another structure. Hence why I argue that the vigilantes are basically trying to build an alternative society and justice system because Chavismo has so obviously failed.

        “As for his primary idea that the advent of vigilantism is a harbinger of Chavismo’s imminent failure, I agree. Though it remains to be seen if they can successfully survive by morphing into something resembling the political structure of North Korea, work camps and all.”

        Yeah, we’ll see.

        Ultimately, I think it’ll come down to how the various vigilante groups act. And if any of them can grow big or unite enough to help topple the monsters.

        • “Ultimately, I think it’ll come down to how the various vigilante groups act. And if any of them can grow big or unite enough to help topple the monsters.”

          From someone who is there, and can see it at ground level… I don’t see that happening.

          • @Roy That I can believe, especially given a lot of the trends I’ve noticed in the Venezuelan opposition and the country’s culture as a whole.

            But still, one can hope.

  20. “And of course, if I ever catch a gangster, I would have him killed, because they all have to die.”

    Yes in the end this is the level Venezuela has come too today, and yes one needs to be willing to whipe-out a huge amount of deeply criminal minded 14-28 year olds if there is ever to be a prosperous future for VZ. 1 generation of pure chavista coolblooded killers your up against.

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