700,000 Caraqueños Terrorized By El Koki

On Thursday, criminal gangs from the Cota 905 collapsed southwestern Caracas. The criminals burned vehicles, shot dozens of homes, buildings, and stores and injured at least 12 people, murdered six more.

  • On Thursday, criminal gangs from the Cota 905 collapsed southwestern Caracas. After 16 hours, Interior minister, Carmen Meléndez, announced an operation in five parishes that were severely affected by the shootings, until they “gained absolute control”. 
    • The criminals burned vehicles, shot dozens of homes, buildings, and stores and injured at least 12 people, murdered six more.
    • “You clowns are working for minimum wage (…) We’re going to blow up your tank with the 50, I’m talking straight,” said a criminal to the PNB on the radio. 
  • Because of the events in the Cota 905, lawyer and security expert, Luis Izquiel gave some recommendations in case you’re caught in a shooting, starting by finding a windowless space in your home and staying at floor level, not recording and not going to roofs or balconies to see what’s happening. 
    • According to Izquiel, “El Koki’s gang was one of the gangs that benefited the most when the Peace Zones were created.” 
    • The Peace Zones were created in 2013 when the former vice-minister of Citizen Safety José Vicente Rangel Ávalos negotiated with criminal gangs handing over some resources and suspending police operations in their areas in exchange for the gangs’ “disarmament.” 

Here’s a useful thread to understand the 48-hour (and counting) shooting in Caracas: 

  • FAES officers allegedly took control of several checkpoints the band controls in the Cota 905, but the authorities haven’t confirmed anything. 
    • Meléndez accused the opposition, without evidence, of being an accomplice to the gangs. 
    • The ministry offered a $500,000 reward for information to capture the leaders of the band and $50,000 to $20,000 for other members. 
  • Over at Maduro’s Assembly, nobody said anything about the clashes between these gangs and security forces but they approved two preliminary reforms on the laws against corruption and Indigenous languages. 
  • Representatives of Maduro’s regime and the opposition will meet in Mexico starting August for a new round of negotiations, with the goal of ending the political crisis, sources said to Reuters. 
    • International actors would be mediating and the process is backed by Norway. A Norwegian delegation is in Caracas this week, amid shootings that chavismo can’t control. 
    • Maduro said he’s willing to negotiate, but only if the agenda is centered around lifting sanctions. 
    • Washington accuses him of violating human rights and manipulating his election. 
    • Guaidó has said that he seeks conditions for free and fair parliamentary and presidential elections. 
  • Venezuela is among the countries that will have the worst growth indexes in 2021, alongside  Cuba, Nicaragua and Haiti, said the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. 
  • With 38.3 million cases and 1.29 million deaths, Latin America is the region that was hit the hardest by the pandemic, in sanitary and economic terms. 
    • Only 13.6 of the population has received all doses of the vaccine. 
  • The GAVI Foundation, which manages COVAX alongside the WHO, confirmed that they received Venezuelan funds to send the vaccine: “Venezuela recently joined COVAX and has paid its financial dues, we hope to be able to distribute the doses as soon as the type of vaccine they choose is available,” said a GAVI spokesperson. Venezuela will get 5.7 million vaccines, according to the agreement signed by the Health Ministry and the WHO. 
  • According to the Venezuelan Observatory of Finance, the inflation rate for June was 6.4%, which means it slowed down considerably.
  • The president of the Agro-Engineering Society, Saúl López, reported that they only sowed 55% of corn and 60% of rice. He said it’s unbelievable that we still don’t have a sowing plan in July. He assured that this hasn’t happened in 50 years. 
  • The EU technical mission arrived on Thursday. They are going to evaluate if sending an observation mission for the November election is possible. 
  • The director of the Colombian National Police Jorge Vargas warned that a.k.a. El Paisa has control of FARC dissidents in Huila and that he has ordered massacres and killings from Venezuela. 


Naky Soto

Naky gets called Naibet at home and at the bank. She coordinates training programs for an NGO. She collects moments and turns them into words. She has more stories than freckles.