Photo: El Universal, retrieved.
It all began with an inside woman.
According to Douglas Rico, director of the CICPC detective corps, Chacao Police officer Dorys Rodríguez Piñango tipped the gang of El Coqui (AKA Carlos Reverte, currently the most famous and wanted criminal in Caracas) that a businessman carrying $400,000 would be leaving his office at Centro Comercial Ciudad Tamanaco shopping center, in Chuao, Caracas that Wednesday afternoon (February 26th).
Officer Piñango gathered police uniforms and bribed one of the victim’s bodyguards. El Coqui’s associates had everything to set up a fake security operation; while some drove the officer to Polichacao headquarters to avoid suspicions, the others waited for the businessman outside the CCCT.
The plan crashed for two reasons: first, the businessman had a bad feeling about the men volunteering to accompany him. Second, he had received threats three days earlier and contacted the Fuerza de Acciones Especiales (FAES) of the Policía Nacional Bolivariana (PNB), the lethal tactical group that instills terror in the country and is the subject of national and international reports on human rights violations.
The plan crashed for two reasons: first, the businessman had a bad feeling about the men volunteering to accompany him.
The businessman called the FAES, which immediately sent a squad and, at around 4:30 P.M. on Wednesday, February 26th, the first gunshots rang near the CCCT. The police foiled the kidnapping and pursued El Coqui’s men down the Francisco Fajardo highway, Caracas’ backbone. It was rush hour, the highway was packed and the criminals drove a Toyota Land Cruiser filled with long-range weapons.
On the border with Libertador municipality, close the Centro Comercial El Recreo mall, the FAES squad caught up with the Toyota SUV. The gangsters threw three hand grenades against them. The police fired back. Ten civilians were wounded (mostly by grenade shrapnel) in the shootout, covered live via Twitter by those caught in the crossfire.
The fray didn’t cause police fatalities, but El Coqui lost four men; one gunned down at the scene, two more when they mishandled a grenade inside the Toyota. The fourth death was reported a few days later, a criminal shot in the leg who limped across the very polluted Guaire river, close to the highway.
The other four men executing the heist escaped after stealing a car nearby—and dropping it at La Pastora, in western Caracas.
The Vengeance Rap
In the loudness, their fate was sealed. Four mates have fallen and El Coqui is stricken.
Carlos Revete, born in 1978, became the Cota 905’s gang leader in 2015, when he replaced Jesús Alberto Ramos Caldero, a.k.a. “El Chavo”, creator of an alliance between gangs to fight the police before getting gunned down by the CICPC. El Coqui kept the three-gang-alliance under his leadership and entered the regime’s agreement of “peace zones,” a failed program by which chavismo promised to not chase down gang members in their territories if all illegal weapons were surrendered.
That truce ended when the joint police and military force of the so called Operación de Liberación del Pueblo (OLP) attacked the Cota 905 in an operation that left 15 dead. El Coqui escaped and is still in his stronghold (Reverte’s hideout is in the middle of an enormous slum, Cota 905, filled with allies and shortcuts int Caracas’ southwest), raking up charges with his gang that include robbery, kidnapping, homicide, and drug trafficking. In August 2019, his gang repelled a CICPC raid in which several reporters were trapped for hours. According to InSight Crime, Reverte uses other peace zones as shelter, such as Los Valles del Tuy, in Miranda State, to hide from the authorities.
Now the urban warlord has declared war on the FAES, a few days after the Francisco Fajardo shootout, with a rap song (which, of course, we’ve translated for you):
“The die is cast, take out rifle and grenade,
The field is on fire, El Coqui’s going all in,
It all began one afternoon, a bad move, they ran into the FAES, a bad result,
The hunt began, the dogs are loose and the news hadn’t reached the Cota yet,
The Fajardo was witness by El Rosal, and from that second floor the shooting began,
The FAES fired and from the car they answered back, activated the grenade, and they went flying,
In the loudness, their fate was sealed. Four mates have fallen and El Coqui is stricken:
You know what? Fire against those cunts, let the shit burn if it has to. We better not see them here in the Cota. FAES on the field, FAES gunned down. Spread it out, dog. This shit’s gonna burn (El Coqui speaks)
Today La Cota is on fire, El Coqui in cold blood is ordering the move from La Rosa to El Cují, the ‘hood is waiting in heat at the gate, pointing up and down'”
The song goes on for two minutes and twelve seconds and is played by the girl who wrote it. Although it’s been said that she’s detained, a source close to the FAES tells us that she’s rather safe: she fled the country.
To clarify, no FAES officer has been killed by the gang of El Coqui since this declaration of war.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.