Venezuela has become a drug traffic heaven under Chavez. The corollary is immediate: drug traffickers pay often their local in kind and thus they must sell their stuff in Venezuelan streets to get their payment. Today in Venezuela you can get easy access to drug pretty much anywhere in the country, even in places which 10 years ago only knew about drugs from magazine articles or TV shows.
Drug traffic drives corruption. You need to pay lots of people, lots of security personnel until you can ship your white powder across the country without too much hassle. The regime was so successful at that that it even managed to load almost a ton and a half in an Air France passenger flight to Paris. Corruption has to have reached incredible administrative heights to perform such a coup. Amen of the Venezuelan generals in the DEA list of the USA. When a web reaches that deep one cannot expect local police to do their job since they would be simply annulled by the higher echelons of the armed forces and security involved in the traffic.
Such large scale traffic has also corrupted utterly the judicial system of Venezuela. When such pressures, such amounts of money are at play, regardless of the other forms of corruption that exist, you cannot expect higher or smaller echelons of the judicial system to perform their job. Not to mention that their means are probably deliberately curtailed to avoid drug seizures and law enforcing. True, for show there are regularly a few tons seized annually but one should look at this as a form of tax, a fixed percentage that drug traffickers know must be seized so the rest can pass freely.
We should not be afraid to link drug traffic with the worsening of administrative corruption. Drug trafficking has probably, has likely started with Chavez helping the FARC financing, and the theory from Fidel that the West and capitalism can be undone through drug traffic, while revolutionaries get rich along the way. If you start neutering sectors of justice to allow for drug traffic you are forced in time to annul all of the system and thus administrative corruption booms in ways that no one thought possible in Venezuela under Chavez. Even ministers have acknowledged that dozens of billions of American Dollars in contracts have been paid to ghost contractors. And nobody goes to trial, even less to jail.
And yet we also must discuss how there has been also a direct sponsoring of crime and violence by the regime for political control. For example the regime sponsored the wide distribution of motor bikes to its followers so that they could mobilize fast all around Caracas to counter opposition protests. That degenerated so much that now motorbikes are seen as one of the main sources of crimes, if not the main one in Caracas. This while the police was deprived of means to fight back. Today, stuck in traffic, at any time a motor bike can knock at your window with a gun and demand your wallet and cell phone.
The regime has also used avowed criminals to enforce political fear. We have several examples of pro regime thugs using weapons against opposition folks who even if caught and jailed, walked the streets freely within weeks. One of them from Puente Llaguno 2002 was even elected councilman for Caracas while the chief police officer trying to control that violence is dying in jail after a trumped up mockery of a trial. The message is clear: any crime committed serving the regime is not a true crime. A political jihad if you wish, with money in lieu of virgins.
And finally there is the unwillingness by the regime to spend what it takes for people security because this would also imply morality and condemnation of the practices stated above. As such the unwillingness to act by the regime has for consequence the creation of S.A. like corps that terrorize dissent the same way S.A did before 1933.
A most pathetic situation is the jail disaster in Venezuela. Overcrowded, out of control to the point of the minister in charge poses for candid pictures with some of the most notorious crime leaders of Venezuela, sitting and hugging them on their jail beds. Rooms, by the way, decorated, conditioned, full of cell phone through which these criminals can direct their outside operations as if nothing.
How can we be surprised that after 15 years in office citizens can be simply executed at 10 PM in a highway just because they refused to open their doors? Why would criminals bother throwing stones to break windows and to force them out when they have easy access to guns, when they can execute them, when they know that in a few minutes they may rob someone else with much less trouble? Be the execution a fair warning for other crazy people who may have the misfortune to have their car break down in the future. Monica Spears and her husband are a mere incident in a busy crime day. Their notoriety helps crime to warn their victims do be more docile in the future.
I am sorry but the call of Maduro to unite efforts to fight crime is hollow and hypocrite. Trying to associate the opposition at this stage in the game is a show for foreign media. And will do nothing because, if you understood what is written above, what we need is a complete change of outlook in the country. With the economic crisis, the crime situation in Venezuela leaves us ready to a fast worsening of the situation, a civil war risk. After all, during these past decade the regime has been staling property to people. Thus people hungry will think it normal to do the same when the time comes. It is all political, all deliberate, except that the regime itself is losing control of the situation and may become a rather unexpected but predictable victim.
If I were the opposition I would dictate a set of conditions before meeting with Maduro. But Capriles, Maduro's rival, has already idiotically caved in, before being even asked....
Nicolás @NicolasMaduro te propongo poner a un lado nuestras profundas diferencias y unirnos contra la inseguridad,un solo bloque
— Henrique Capriles R. (@hcapriles) January 7, 2014
I offer you to put aside our deep differences and get together against insecurity, a single block.
What a political misstep......
As this entry was written Maria Corina Machado published her own unambiguous reply to Maduro co-opting attempt yesterday to which Capriles fell prey before he even heard about it. Needless to say that I am with Maria Corina on this one.
Before any collaboration with the regime can be examined we need to hear an apology from them. Not that I write this in a gesture of defiance, not at all. The thing is that the regime holds all the levers today and if we do not hear a contrition of sorts from them we can be sure that any "dialogue" on crime is doomed to fail. To collaborate with the regime we first need proof of their commitment. Or has Capriles learned shit in 15 years? Ledezma on this regard has done much better than Capriles this morning, offering examples of gestures the regime could do if it meant business.