In a way the casual observer could wonder why the murder of two people should matter in a country which had this past year around 24,000 murders, more than twice what happened in Iraq; only behind, I suppose, Syria. We are talking more than 66 murders A DAY, and even if we were taking at face value the lies of the regime we would still be at more than 30 crimes a day. Monica Spear comes only from one of the at the very least 30 families that must cry today.
It does matter because of who Monica Spear was, because of how the crime happened and what the security situation is in the country this early 2014.
Monica was an ingenue on TV soap operas, getting there after winning the very sought Miss Venezuela title. Contrary to many misses she used that as a simple stepping stone to become a soap opera actress, as a mere job, not necessarily an ego trip. Her roles got her quite a big popularity, and a job outside of Venezuela as prospects for local soap operas became fainter since the regime closed media that it disliked. Even a blogger that never watches soap operas, and cares nothing for TV glitter, knew who she was.
Her death has many stupid aspects to it. And yet, her or her husband mistakes hit us hard because we know that for all our precautions those are the mistakes that anyone of us could do one day.
|Only three Nazional Guard check|
points between P.C. and Valencia.
She was shot around El Cambur!
They were driving at 10 PM in a dangerous area where they broke down. We know that we should never drive past 8 PM in any Venezuelan highway, that those that do so are either armed or are driving in some form of caravan. But we all know that one day we can all tempt fate, and now we know better. Period.
They resisted robbery, while waiting for road help. This one in Venezuela is extremely deficient as the regime does not consider it can gain votes through a good rescue system. We are always told that we should NEVER resist robbery because human life is now worthless in Venezuela where dozens of people are killed point blank every day for less than the shirt on their back. We should not even look at the robbers, we are told. But maybe they were scared. Maybe they thought about their 5 year old daughter. Maybe they thought that a former Miss Venezuela would be too much a temptation for rape. We will never know, but they locked up inside their coffin. We all know that we may just do the same if we are scared, even at noon.
And we know for sure that the crime will resonate longer than it should considering how the regime has been acting against crime for years and how it tried desperately today to minimize the impact through a hypocrite show of grief that even included the interior minister fly above the crime scene with an helicopter. As if an helicopter ride hours after the crime would reveal the criminals that were long gone from the scene.
I do happen to travel often, 2 to 5 times a months on the highway where Monica Spear was killed. There is only three check points. One is the ancient toll leaving Valencia, now almost deserted except on the direction to Valencia where trucks are checked. You need to drive almost to El Cambur to have the second post, manned by the army using very young recruits handling massive weaponry that they can barely hold. You do not feel safe, you hope they will not drop their gun by accident. The post is there because it is on the shade of the lone bridge that goes above the highway. And soon after, entering El Palito yet another Nazional Guard post.
I can vouch that it is a rare event to meet any security personnel when you drive along, even less a tow truck. If you see anything it is official vehicles driving fast to get to their destination, ignoring the rest. There are indeed many potholes even though it is a highway, and certainly you would not see them at night and you would wreck your car as Monica's husband did. It is a dangerous road because 2/3 of it are deserted and the last third before Puerto Cabello is surrounded by "invasiones" and other assorted slums. Squatters always squat close to highways because, you know, authorities allow buses to stop to pick up passengers, something that is forbidden on any highway in the world. Also, the public transportation does not like to drive through the side road along, too dangerous....
Never mind that invasores are lazy, do not want to walk far for transport, are already committing a crime when they squat and thus are a breeding ground for the criminals that haunt the roads late at night, as it was in Venezuela in the XIX century where we have regressed under Chavez. And not only crime wise.
Do these three control points help in any way? None, whatsoever. The deal is to stop trucks and cars that seem to be lacking something and threaten drivers with a fine. Then the victims just bribe the Nazional Guards or the soldiers superiors that wait in a tent on the side with sometimes a generating plant hooked for refrigeration of something. Woe is you no matter what time of the day your car breaks down on what is arguably the second most important highway of Venezuela. And tragedy is you if it happens at night. The soldiers and Guards have other more pressing matters to attend.
Why is there such insecurity in Venezuela, roads or elsewhere? Because the regime does not care. Because the regime in fact wants it. Because the regime knows very well that people standing for hours in line for a few pounds of flour, or hidden at night at home after nightfall are not going to have much time or mood to be actively criticizing, and even less conspiring.
The regime does not want to spend good money on police because it does not give enough electoral bang for the buck in a country where a free bag of lousy goods from Mercal is cheaper and more effective to tie in the vote. The regime does not want to pay for a fleet of highway security patrols and tow trucks because the people most likely to benefit from them already vote against the regime. The regime pays for some cops but it is useless for our safety because a big chunk of them are used as personal bodyguards for the dignitaries of the regime instead of spending time on the beat. We are left on our own.
And it gets worse because the regime actively promotes violence. You heard it in the divisive and violent discourse of Chavez. You see it when his successor henchmen have no problem in beating up in public representatives of opposition parties. It is even worse when the criminals see that the guy beating up on video the representatives is now awarded a mayor function in Guarico State. It is pushed through when the jail minister hugs major criminals in public, calls them victims, "deprived of liberty" instead of prisoner, or even in a supreme Orwellian outreach goes from "malandro" to "buenandro", from malfrat to goodfrat if you use the French word for gangster.
Why should criminals worry? They probably will not get caught. They probably will be released before trial. They probably will serve a fraction of their sentence. They probably will end up hired by some chavista assault section.
The solution is not the failure to be that a new security plan would be because the regime has no intentions to follow through. The only solution for our crime problem is a change in regime. There is no other solution. This crime has put in uproar the country in a way no other crime did. Even French TV tonight reported on it. Not even the famous crime of the Faddul brothers that Chavez disdained with supreme arrogance has gotten such an impact. After all it was something about rich kids kidnapped. Monica Spear is anyone with a ten years old car that breaks down in the evening darkness. But Chavez was a son of a bitch, we all knew that. Maduro cannot get away with such things the way Chavez did, so today he even summoned artists that supported Chavez to beg not to "make this crime a political affair" as if crime was not a political decision, or incompetence of the regime. The regime has only itself to blame for crime because the regime does not take the adequate measures and because the regime has ruined the country, killing jobs and creating thus the conditions of rising delinquency, along the rise of drug traffic by the way.
The solution is, if there is still one, through a change of regime, a change of policies, a change of priorities. There is no way around it. Under Chavez murder rate has increased 5 fold and population not even 1.5 fold. There is no way around, the extent of crime today is Chavez fault, no matter what the origins of crime are or were.
Post Data: the most complete report to date on the crime last night.