Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Monica Spear is a crime too many

There are crimes that mark a society. I started wondering whether I should write this entry in Spanish. But there is enough local outrage on the web, and tomorrow on print, that English must be the vehicle. The affair started early when we learned that Monica Spear was murdered with her (ex?) husband inside her car, in front of her 5 year old daughter whose cries eventually alerted other passerby.

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.

20 comments:

  1. To add a personal aspect to the story: Thomas Henry, the ex-husband was one of the true Venezuelans. English born, he moved with his parents to Venezuela as a young child and has remained to work and live there although he had the option to leave and have a successful life abroad. His parents, Tom Berry, a very respected and beloved Mathematics professor at Universidad Simón Bolívar and his mother Carol, a teacher and community worker have made Venezuela their country as not many have done.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous4:25 AM

    Good Bye Former Monica Spear

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous4:27 AM

    Is It True? That Miss Venezuela Monica Spear Died?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No. It was her double....

      Delete
  4. Anonymous5:05 AM

    The usual suspects were duly arrested, according to BBC News this morning. It doesn't really matter if they are the real murderers: the arrests will not solve the underlying problems.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What is interesting is that it seems that 3 of them where forced to surrender to the police by the neighbors. It is actually quite possible that they may find them. Thugs tend to brag about their crimes in today's Venezuela because they know that they only risk a relatively short sentence at worst. They will brag the more so if they are drug users.

      Delete
  5. Daniel: WRITE THIS IN SPANISH.

    Sorry to be so demanding. But you provide very important facts that are impossible for writers of lyrical prose to know.

    VITE, mon cher ami.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let me clarify. There have been several accounts of this despicable murder, some which are lyrical in their memory of Monica Spears -- actual or virtual. But your account, Daniel is short on embellishments and long on important facts. That's what I meant. What you have to say about these murders and so many others is of tremendous value and should reach a broader (Spanish-speaking) audience.

      (Compris?)

      Delete
  6. Daniel thank you for your message.
    Yesterday I watch Maduro's interview in VTV while he was in Vargas meeting with Evo Morales. It was truly disgusting here are several things that I noticed.
    1. He was wearing a light blue shirt instead of the military green. Similar to the blue that Chavez were in his "love campaign"
    2. He point out that since the 80"s that area of the highway was dangerous and he was involved in an incident (Blame the IV)
    3. He say how he has extending the hand to young venezuelans to leave their violent lives since he arrive in power 8 months ago (Never mention the 14 years of Chavez, never mention his link to Chavez government)
    4. Of course he mention his meeting with the "cuatro gatos" of the group of "artistas por la paz" (only they are the real representatives)
    5. At the end he offered "iron fist" to stop the violence and the crimes.

    What a show...what a farse... but the chavistas are happy with the 10% increase in minimum wage and pensions so everything is rose color for them.

    Finally somebody should bring back the video of Izarra, the minister of the "Venezuela es chevere" in CNN laughing about the crime statistics provided by an expert in the matter...but of course Venezuelans do not remember that...too many other events have happened to remember that small event.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have now finished reading your piece, Daniel. And I repeat:
    TRANSLATE IT INTO SPANISH.
    (Dammit)
    And if you can, please weave a link to the video of Izarra laughing about the crime statistics, as Maria Gonzalez reminds us. I certainly remember. But others may need a little help with their memory.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous12:54 PM

    When you cultivate race and class hatred for political purposes and scapegoat certain segments of society blindly to get votes, you get violence. Sounds like Obama and the resulting "knockout game." Yet the blind support for the regime continues even as people's children die like flies and they refuse to face the reality of what is causing their problems as long as they can loot a store. Communism usually leads to quick mass murder-Venezuela is just doing it to itself more slowly. In a few more years the Chavez era homicide total will hit 500,000 but the government spin doctors will always find somebody but themselves to blame. The accelerating economic downspiral and the application of imbecilic Cuban-style fixes will only exacerbate the mess. Can't remember the past...doomed to repeat it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I agree with Syd, please translate it into spanish. JUst in case you need it, here is the video of rizarrita
    "El candente debate de Andrés Izarra en CNN sobre el polémico documental "

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7BikdoGimU

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Am I feeling pressured?

      Delete
    2. S Q U E E Z E.
      (dale, Daniel)

      Delete
    3. The more specific video related to the laugh and cynicism of Andrés Izarra is this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mUfDDYoOnw

      Delete
  10. feathers3:06 PM

    It goes much deeper than the government promotes violence, sometimes they are going hand to hand, and even finances it. :(

    ReplyDelete
  11. The official murder rate of Venezuela as a country, probably very fudged, is equal to the worse ghetto hoods of Chicago.

    This should never be acceptable, and a country shouldn't have to wait for a celebrity to die to do something about it.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Monica and her husband's death has saddened me and has shaken me with terrible impotence. I pray she does not die in vain and that their child will somehow get the love and support to manage this grief and live a semi- normal life. God knows it has all changed for her now. Monica has put a face to the horrendous and unspeakable violence that occurs daily in VNZA. Only regime change and a complete change to the systems and functions of the State can start to overcome this horror. so many stories and rumors circulating on web, I appreciate a concise view of the facts. We hear so much about his tow truck that was there, but nothing about the driver. Did he run? Where was he? Why did poor Maya have to be found screaming by a passerby? Will the truth ever come out? Dios Los Bendiga VNZA and every family that daily goes through this tragedies.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Anonymous11:30 AM

    So what is the solution to this? In a perfect world even if the regime were done with how would they fix this problem? Does Venezuela have a death penalty? They should for acts of moral turpitude. Perhaps that would help clean up the street.

    ReplyDelete

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