Courtesy of reader Glenn, we have the documentary from Ross Kemp on his trip to Venezuela last December. That is right, just as the electoral campaign started. Ross Kemp has jumped from soap opera acting to hard core investigating journalism and the results are impressive. In his new series "Extreme World" he visits hot spots and, well, Caracas had to be in the list.
The two segments below with some of my comments. Trust me on that one, you really need to watch this.
Of course, I cannot comment on all because the coverage is so complete, so rich in details, I'll do just some that you may miss.
Already at second 42 the tone is set "Venezuela one of the most corrupt country". Clearly, little escaped Mr. Kemp as you will see.
At 1:05 a cute flashback to the 1998 campaign where we see together all smiles Pablo Medina and Chavez, when all was love and kisses.
At 3:30 Kemp cannot believe that up to 60 cops a year are killed in Caracas alone......
After a chase and a discussion on how underpaid police is a dramatic problem at 8 Kemp moves to Perez de Leon hospital for some harrowing scenes, with of course the attempt from the authorities to stop filming because Kemp could damage Chavez reputation. Kemp cannot hide his face of "surreal"...
And after 12 minutes Kemp wonders where is the socialist utopia when what he sees is a nightmare....
At 13:30 it gets worse: Kemp gets inside a jail.......... A "pran", an inmate head honcho, has arranged for his visit. Unfucking believable! Excuse my French.
The jail has been under inmates "administration" for the last 5 years. That's right, no authorities have stepped inside in 5 years. Kemp calls the jail a republic. And we hear the pran say that they wear weapons all week to protect themselves from the abuses of the authorities except on Saturday when families visit. And you better be sitting for that one, at 16 the pran says that they feel safer inside the jail because outside there is too much insecurity.
The walk around the grounds is made even more unreal as all is decked for Christmas.
The part 2 video starts with a Dutch kid jailed for drugs and basically abandoned by his embassy.
At 1:30 Kemp has to come to the stark conclusion. These inmates have no hope, there is for practical purpose death penalty in Venezuela, to which I add a cruelly long and protracted one instead of, well, the more mercifully fast electric chair. And he admits he lost track of human rights violations.
Eventually we leave the jail to interview no one else but El Chacal, Carlos, relative. Unreal. Luxury and the self sufficiency that Chavez is the cat's meow.
After the standard conspiracy speech Kemp moves back to reality and examines the most prosperous industry of Venezuela, kidnapping.
At 15 the gang interviewed admits to have killed about 50 people so far this year. Now, you may find that hard to believe, but it sounds true. I thought at first that "shit! Kemp staged that". But I really do not think he did, this gangsta are just too natural, too relaxed. If it is a scene, well, Hollywood should be hiring in Venezuela.
And yet at the end, Mr. Kemp has a strange bout of "come flor", misplaced political correctness. I have news for him, it has been 14 years. There is no excuse for the current disaster. It is Chavez fault. But I can forgive him: if it is his first trip to Venezuela, it is indeed a lot to take in.
STILL, THE QUESTION REMAINS: WHY CAN'T VENEZUELAN TV MAKE SUCH A WONDER OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM?