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The two news that bear heavily on me are the 1.3 tons of coke through a regular Air France flight, and the looting of a truck over the dead body of the driver. I think that these news were covered barely adequately but I fail to sense a feel of outrage, even among readers of this blog. I read here and there stuff that can be summarized as follows: "there has always been looting in Venezuela" or "Air France, Water Spain, Truck Mexico, same difference". It is not. I see those two events as seminal examples on how bad, and doomed?, Venezuela may be.
Yes, indeed, bigger loads of coke have been caught. But they came from stolen private planes, kidnapped fishing boats, unregistered lorries crossing borders, etc... The mean of transport was by itself product of a crime. Never mind that the cargo was even bigger of a crime. But the ease in which the traffickers sneaked in 1.3 tons in a regular air flight is one order of magnitude bigger. This prowess implies too many things that are dangerous. First, since airport security depends on the armed forces, then it follows that these are deeply involved in drug traffic at very high level, much higher than the silly sergeants arrested at first. We are talking generals here. Can we entrust the future of our country, a possible coming "transition" to an army that is so corrupt that even those not in the money loop prefer to shut up rather than protest, or at least leak the names involved? We have grave concerns for the Venezuelan army, be they those that traffic or steal state money, or those that enable them by their silence.
But this is not all. It was a ruthless act to put such an amount of drug in an airplane, even if we assume airline complicity, voluntary or not. It can be a major security risk for passenger as an airplane may be easily overloaded. It could have been bombs, or explosives that could have exploded during the flight. The reckless contempt for the security of innocent passenger speaks volumes about the amorality and cruelty of those involved with that shipment. Now we can only feel safe away from Venezuela only once we are outside of the receiving airport....
We would be mistaken in thinking that 14 years of Chavez degraded deeply only the military sector. A week after the drug haul we were reminded, for some, or told, for most, that there is a civilian component to that cruelty against the victims. Certainly, we already knew what happens in the horror of Venezuelan jails, or how easy it was for gangs to settle accounts in the barrios, or how unnecessarily victims of robbery were killed for a mere few bucks worth of loot. We also knew that on roads inside the country the stopping of trucks for looting is not an isolated incident. Last Friday it all converged on a truck, in Caracas, in a business district, not a residential one, and within minutes a horde of motorbikers were looting the truck, for this climbing over the agonizing and soon dead driver, without offering any assistance.
There is a video that gives only a partial impression of what the looting mood at Los Ruices was last Friday (in the second half) with authorities barely exerting control. But what that video illustrates quite well is the plague that motorbikers have become in Venezuela, the huge numbers they are and their ruthless contempt at blocking traffic and reckless driving. Chavez is the man that has allowed the rise of that cast of violent folks. True, they may be, for all that I know, a minority inside the motorbiker "community". Chavez made motorbikes easily available for his supporters, and with the ridiculous price of gas they had no problem in learning to use their bikes all the time. Chavez wanted that because he wanted a form of storm troopers ready to mobilize on short notice across Caracas, to launch counter protests wherever needed, the threaten whomever was necessary with a "spontaneous" protest of chavismo own. Soon, they were even allowed without helmets in the highways, a place they were banned from until Chavez.
The result was to be expected. After a decade of driving recklessly, of scratching and banging the cars stuck in traffic as they sneak through it, these storm troopers are realizing that they can mobilize themselves by the hundreds, attack whatever they want to attack, and push back the authorities. They are on the loose on Caracas, a violent mob like gang.
It is clear that the regime permissiveness has created these unruly monsters of which I only describe two today. And what is the reply to this by the regime. None, because they have none credible to offer, being the Dr. Frankenstein of the story. Or rather, they regurgitate the Cuban invented leitmotiv reply: it is someone else fault, preferably the US and its right wing fascist allies at home, never mind that a Liberal holds the chair in Washington. But the increasing uselessness of the standard reply is forcing the regime into direct threats against the press, threatening sanctions if this one speaks of stuff such as the food scarcity. If the enabling law that Maduro is requesting passes, will it ban coverage of gruesome looting like the one in Los Ruices? The response of the regime is, as usual, of the same moral caliber as the ones that smuggled the drug in Air France plane, or those who looted over a dead body.
Thus to finish our opening cartoon, another multi layered geniality of Weil at Tal Cual. Chavez is dead, driving an egotistical oversize image of Venezuela that could not pass under the bridge (note: Weil painted Chavez as an army boot). And his wreckage, which is also ours, attracts all sorts of rats stealing our oil, our riches. He created our current society and he escaped having to face the consequences of his misrule.