Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ross Kemp of British TV in Venezuela crime hell

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.



  1. Anonymous6:11 PM


    As always your blog explores, examines and exposes all aspects of Venezuela, the dictatorship of Hugo Chavez, the lack of true leadership because of Chavez’s own personal consumption of money and the exportation of Venezuela’s rich wealth which is used to pay off other governments for their for lack of a better word “friendship” - corruption.

    What strikes me very oddly is the fact that Mr. Kemp was able to tour all these locations and speak with such freedom and any lack of fear in his eyes, show location and people of interest that lead such violent lives without any hesitation just smells to me and leads me to believe that he is somehow very well connected with the Chavez government.

    If you and I were in his place, I would surely think that we would be shaking in our shoes, so it does’t make any COMMON Sense to me that this was to expose the harsh life and crime in Venezuela for which most of the world already knows, what it does do is to suggest that Chavez really cares for the poor, sick and defenseless people of Venezuela, for which WE KNOW he does not give a Shit, It’s really all about Chavez, the Money and Power.
    Native American Indian - Cherokee Indian

  2. Anonymous6:20 PM

    You really need to watch the rest of these guys shows, he's been all round the world to some hell holes and if you search youtube you can find an interview with him that he explains alot of the time he is terrified but has to gain the respect of these thugs.

  3. If you watch again the first part when they are in the hospital Ross Kemp referred that they had to deal with goverment authorities who wanted it to stop filming. I dont think Ross Kemp is a Chavez supporter, no chance that he supports him at all.

    Ross Kemp has been doing this kind of documentaries around the world for about 5 years. I think it is a way to show whats going around the world.

  4. A small bout of comeflorism? I would say it was quite large.

    The first obvious conclusion is that the man must have struck a deal with the Chavista authorities for them to have allowed him to make the video.He even shows how the Chavez intelligence people showed up at the hospital to stop him from filming.After negotiating, they leave and then allow him to continue.At that point more than likely a deal must have been struck.

    These kinds videos do a lot of damage to the opposition , and the opposition as usual doesn't know why.


  5. Anonymous7:01 PM

    Your comment doesnt make sense, of course money probably changes hands with the pranes and prison guards to gain access, but the goverment, thats just plain stupid. This video is a hell of alot more damaging to the goverment than it is to the opposition. Did he pay the cartels when he went to Juarez, did he pay the taliban not to shoot him when he went to afghanistan with the marines, did he pay the brazilian goverment when he filmed inside the favelas of rio, i think not. Good time to stop kidding yourself and start smelling the coffee!

    1. Anonymous,

      Sorry, but I guess I have to spell it out to you

      The basic message of this video is:

      1. Chavez had good intentions when he started his Revolution to help the poor
      2. Chavez has helped the poor a bit but not enough
      3 Things are mostly bad in Venezuela not because of the lack of Justice, and bad crime but because there is still a big divide between the haves and the have nots which is why they have to keep on kidnapping people
      4which implies that either Chavez needs more time, or the opposition needs to continue and improve his revolution
      5 Giving major attention to the brother of the Jackal who said that crime in the barrios increased because of Colombian criminals sent by the US.His statement remained uncontested
      6 Chavez is still highly popular in the barrios

      What would really aid the opposition might be truth:

      1. The major problems in Venezuela are caused by a lack of justice,irrational hatred incited by Chavez, blame, GREED and corruption
      2. Chavez has worsened the situation for the poor and increased the money of many of the rich, and reduced the middle class
      3.Chavez himself is responsible for much of the worsening of crime
      4. Chavez is not that popular.He has a following, but the majority in Venezuela either do not like him or vote for him only because they feel threatened or connected to easy money
      5. Chavez has stayed in power using a fig leaf democracy
      6. Chavez is unable to obtain votes through honest means so he uses every trick in the the book
      7.There is an alliance between Chavez, Narco -trafficking, and Castro

  6. Anonymous7:16 PM

    I’m not Judging Mr. Kemp’s work, however if the local and governmental POLICE are frighten to go into these places which they are and Mr. Kemp confirmed this, then it only leads to speculation that how did he have such freedom, touring as though he was going through a historical museum. And to show the GANGS location and Hide Out - Blue walls outside on a hilltop where anyone would be able to find from air. Come on people, you need to use Common Sense that is all I suggest, nothing more.
    Native American Indian,

    1. Anonymous7:54 PM

      suppose the guns are toys aswell are they?

    2. Is all about money my friend, in venezuela like colombia, money can get you to laid in bed with the president's daughter, I'm from venezuela borned and raised, lived there 35 years, our beloved country is the most corrupted place on earth, everything has a price over there and evrybody has a price as well.

    3. To naTive american indian, you made a valid point, very logical, however you don't know our culture, everything is bizarre and backwards over there, you do not know how venezuela is, do you want me to explain you hiw they reached those criminals and how they persuaded the government, including police officers? With money, money talks, money will get you to places you cannot imagine in my beloved venezuela, everybody is so desesperate, avid for money that most people is willing to do anything for it.

  7. Does anyone remember the "Vice Guide to North Korea"?

    North Korea is a prison camp with death camps to boot, for women and children too.

    Certainly Venezuela isn't that bad but it shows what "Utopia" can be like.

  8. Anonymous8:48 PM

    For some reason Anonymous 1:24 you are misunderstanding my statement. I believe everything in the video, Guns, Drugs, Blue Mountain Shack and the individuals in the video. My common sense statement has to do with the Chavez government played a Very Big roll in allowing this to take place without harm to Mr. Kemp.

    These kidnappers take common people for $5,000 and wealthy people for even more, so how did Mr. Kemp make it out alive and unharmed??????
    Because Chavez wanted the world to see what might happen if he loses office, scare tactic - Guns, Drugs, Violence to scare and control.
    This is why it does not Make Common Sense for Mr. Kemp to have this much freedom, common, the control Globivison, state television, radio - but Mr. Kemp can travel anywhere and everywhere and document it for what purpose???? Just Think about it. I’ve been to Venezuela and know that you don’t get this kind of freedom of coverage without Chavez himself.

    1. Has it crossed your mind that the "arrangement" made with the gang involves money?

    2. Agree. Ditto with the big pran.

      Ross Kemp obviously knows how to get around the map of crime. He comes by that knowledge honestly; his father was a Detective Chief Inspector in the British police force.

      From all evidence, Ross Kemp knew how to zero in on good information from the police force, which is not that well respected by Chávez.

      Kemp's payouts to various segments of the underworld, in Caracas, don't necessarily mean that he was given carte blanche by the Chávez government.

      I wonder if he told the government that he was from the BBC (which in part is not a lie). That would have led to a love fest, given the government's appreciation for the BBC's slanted views, over the years.

      If Kemp did say this as a passport to government permission, it would be ironic. For that was the lie used by the Marxian filmmakers from Ireland, when they gained entry into a private cocktail party where compromising statements were made, during the time in which they were filming "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised".

      As for Kemp's comeflorismo credentials ...

      In the 2010 General Election, in the UK, Ross Kemp called on voters to back the party "which cares for everyone in society, not just the privileged few."

      What I don't get is why he calls himself an investigative journalist, but sets up only one interview which provides an sociological overview of the problems with crime in Caracas/Vzla.

      That's a HUGE hole for me in Ross Kemp's credibility as an investigative journalist.

      As for the rest. It's a brilliant visual production with some extraordinary information from "deep within". But the reasoning and the overall conclusion are very skimpy.

    3. .. only one interview which provides an sociological overview of the problems with crime in Caracas/Vzla.

      I meant to mention Carlos the Jackal's brother. Talk about a slant!! That was pitiful.

  9. Anonymous,

    You said:"you don’t get this kind of freedom of coverage without Chavez himself."

    You got that right!!

    As long as Kemp suggesst that Chavez has improved conditions for the poor somewhat, he is allowed to make his video.

    The conclusion of this video is that ALL this crime is caused by poverty in the barrios, and the only way for them to survive is to rob the rich( in reality the main victims are the poor).Chavez is the only one who has tried to improve poverty but there is still a long way to go implying that Chavismo must continue with, or without Chavez.

    He might mention how the police of Sucre were outgunned by the criminals and that Chavez only allowed the police to use light weapons but that is because the participated in a coup against him.He mentioned this without comment.Que manipulacion!!!!

    Carolina, All transactions in Venezuela require wheel greasing money but that is not all they require.


  10. Anonymous10:03 PM


    Your right on every aspect, but one - Has Chavez really tried to improve the poor through out his 14 years - NO - only on election years. If Chavez really cared about the POOR, he would have spent more time, power and money on them instead of other countries for which he was trying to influence their elections with his dollars. Over all he has done less in four years than the those before him that were in office for less time.
    Show me one poor person he helped and I will show you 1000 more he lied about helping.
    Take care, Native American Indian

    1. Native American

      Of course he did not try.I was naming the points that Kemp made in his video.


  11. In reply to some of the stuff above.

    Without any doubt Ross Kemp had powerful inside help.


    I do not think it is from the close to Chavez group. The video is too damaging for Chavez in spite of a last minute by Kemp to dilute the effect.

    It is rather from people powerful enough within chavismo that understand Chavez and the Cubans must go before there is any hope to straighten up the mess. Probably the same group that helped Aponte Aponte escape.

  12. Anonymous10:53 PM

    Paranoia aside and volume turned down the issue is there for all to see.

    Ross Kemp was physically abused by his wife. Head butted or a straight punch to his mouth, which one I'm not sure. He later filed for divorce.

    He's also an admirer of Tony Blair.

    Now putting those two points together, within a Venezuelan environment, it's fairly obvious there was a bit of 'negotiating' before the programme was made. Nevertheless full marks to him.

    1. Which may explain why Venezuelan TV was not chosen 'cause no journo here would be able to avoid bragging about their contact.....

    2. ChismeCity:
      On 11 June 2002 Kemp married Rebekah Wade, the then editor of The Sun. In November 2005 Wade was arrested following an alleged assault on her husband. Kemp refused medical attention for a swollen lip and no action was taken. In March 2009 Kemp and Wade divorced, after he admitted to adultery.

  13. By curious coincidence, a different reader sent me the same video and I published it also today, except that mine was from dailymotion, not youtube. It is blocked by Cantv....

    1. well, it was not eay to put it up on youtube. I even had trouble to embed the first part. Apparently there was some form of block on you tube too. but then again it could be chavismo or the copyright owners.

      but.... would globo pass it?

  14. Steven M2:08 AM

    Daniel (and Miguel), thanks once again for telling us about something powerful and important.

  15. Anonymous2:17 AM

    I've spent lot of years in Latin America and I'd dearly love to see Venezuela, but it is an obscenely overpriced place after years of currency controls. I've visited prisons in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Many of them are quite open to the public, which can enter to buy handicrafts (and smuggle?). I also worked in a US Federal Correctional Institution some years ago, and the gut feeling you get is pretty much the same. They are dangerous places that convince you they will quickly become more dangerous to those who act timidly.

  16. What probbably most of you discussing about if he is with chaves or with oppossision. You all must know the word "impartial" he is just showing all the faces of the problem, Police, kidnappers, goverment, inmates, We all are part of the same system. This video affects all that people trying to do a circus about the big problems we face here in Venezuela. This video only proves that here is no such dictatorial oppresion against media, as at the same time he showed that Chavez isnt a God. In my oppinion all thos how think that ANY goverment will make a radical change on this kind of problems is either a fool or a coward. The problem is on the back of all of us!

  17. Anonymous3:16 PM

    Socialist paradise for real. All they need now is a Jim Jones. Damn those wicked gringos for buying all that oil. It must be their fault somehow! At least Castro had sense enough to take the guns away. Chavez isn't even that smart.

  18. It's weird at first to see Grant Mitchell narrating, but soon his passion for the project takes hold of you and you forget his soap opera past. Although, I must say, we could use Grant Mitchell back on the square! --s

  19. Anonymous1:42 AM

    Que arrecho ese video, Daniel, by the way shot in Xmas (last year?). This guy Kemp, whatever the discussion about him, is a really brave journalist. Bravo for showing this, the prison images, it's so surreal, it even smells! Yes, Capriles is not the magical solution, the country is so rotten by now, it won't be easy for ANYONE to improve Vzla's Conditions. But let's give it a try!

    1. Anonymous6:59 PM

      Thanks for all your comments, you have the whole picture of the true situation, there will always be criticism, but the truth is the truth even when people want to paint it differently. Ross Kemp is an excellent journalist. If the venezuelan intelligence police organizations would do a 10% of what he did, and the government would have been willing to fix problems, we would have much less murders today.

  20. 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.
    sky go abroad


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