Since Chavez has reached office the kidnapping and murder rates have roughly trebled. The official one that is, some think that the increase might be much higher as more and more abduction cases seem to go unreported. Lately these have reached a dramatic peak that has even started, finally, affecting the “popularity” and self confidence of the government. For memory the recent cases of the Sindoni rapt, the murder of the Faddoul brothers and the more recent kidnapping of the daughter of a military heavily invested in the regime show that the situation is getting out of hand.
So what does the dim bulb national assembly handpicked by Chavez to help him solve the problems of the country do? Very simple, it will pass a law to forbid people who have a relative or friend kidnapped to pay the ransom. Voilà! Il suffisait d’y penser! (You just had to think of it).
That is right, you read it well. If, say, your mother gets abducted and you have the bad idea to go to the police, the first thing they will do is to freeze all of your assets so you will not be able to pay the ransom. I suppose that the brilliant idea is that when the kidnappers realize that you are “forbidden to pay” they will just release your mother. Ridiculously simple, isn’t it? Why did they not think of that in the Lindbergh baby case? They could have impounded the "Spirit of St. Louis" and threatened to burn it down if the kidnapper did not release the infant.
Of course this is totally stupid and for the occasional chavistas that reads this column and is already trying to find a counter argument, let me say how this law can be overcome. The first thing of course is NOT to report the kidnapping. If by bad luck the kidnapping is already public and your bank accounts and other properties are blocked (will the law allow you enough money to buy groceries or do they think that in the nervous state you are you will stop eating?) then you can go to friends and ask them to lend you the cash giving them liens on all your properties. Heck, even a bank might secretly for humanitarian reason try to loan you the money. Even more heck, the ransom seeker might even bargain with you and lower the ransom in exchange of some jewelry that the Seniat might have missed when they blocked your assets. I suppose in this last regard the law is an improvement of sorts.
¿En que cabeza cabe?
But as evil intentioned I am ever, I think that the motivation for this law lies elsewhere.
First, of course, it will cause a dramatic lowering of abduction rates as less of them will be reported. Success for the regime!!!!!
Second, for those foolish enough report them anyway, well, the government will have a good way to figure out all your real assets and real values. Heck, they might even fine you if you do not report all of your assets so they can block them. The tender and compassionate way Venezuelan justice has been operating these last years can only be reassuring as to the fast success of the investigation and release of your loved one. Look at the paradise that jails have become (going to jail for a long term sentence is akin to disguised death penalty), at how efficient and speedy justice has become (trials last for years and years, in particular if they are political and you are against Chavez), on how famous cases are cleared fast and impartially (Anderson, just to name one), etc… There is no reason at all for you to fear justice, to think that they are competent and that they will solve everything and one you are reunited with your loved one they will speedily return control over your assets the way you get tax refunds (al but never).
No, the real reason of this law IS NOT TO HELP the victims, it is to cover the state inefficiency in dealing with increasing crime, now crossing freely the border from Colombia.