Wednesday, January 08, 2014

The politics of crime in Venezuela

I am going to be brief and to the point: the current unbearable crime rate of Venezuela is in 99% the responsibility of the current regime. Nothing can be done until the regime is replaced by someone else. And even if that replacement were to come today, it will take years for us to have a more "tolerable" rate of crime. The 1% that I left out is to acknowledge that crime existed before Chavez reached power. So the seed existed. Chavez needed only to water it and fertilize it profusely, which he did.

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....

I offer you to put aside our deep differences and get together against insecurity, a single block.

What a political misstep......


Post Data.
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.


  1. Above and beyond the tragic murder and the security situation in Venezuela, I see a pattern of behavior that is worth mentioning. It has to do a wretched obssesion of the populist regimes. This types of goverments require an enemy, not just opposition or dissent, but an enemy root of all that is bad in the country and who needs to be destroyed at any cost. In the name of such destruction then millions are used (wasted, robbed).
    Is important because if those resources used to destroy the enemy had been used in say security, things would have to be different. But that obssesion is not unique to Venezuela. If you look around region, it is happening in so many places. These enemies are called oppositions, bussiness, Imperio, elites, escualidos, tea party, speculators, golpistas, etc, etc, etc.
    Just pick a newspaper anywhere and you will find out that these evil groups around the region are: causing electrical black outs, act of sabotage, shortages of foods, depreciations of money, denying of rights to natives, destruction of habitats, etc, etc. Here in the US some republicans had even confused the "innocents" to believe obamacare was repealed causing the low numbers of enrollment.
    That is the pattern I see. In the WSJ article you mentioned a couple of days back, there was a quote "Brazil is looking like Argentina, Argentina is looking like Venezuela, Venezuela is looking like Zimbawe"...what a succint way to sumarize most of the region...because you see...I belive this "train" for Zimbawe has a lot more carts... there are many more politicians in the region that want to be in that train. Some countries jumped earlier and are closer, Venezuela is of course the engine of this train, but even here in the US obama is making sure we move in that direction.

  2. I'm afraid that Capriles is the Pied Piper of Hamelin, long having traded a consistent backbone -- if he ever had one -- for virginal mysticism and softy-softy MUD marketing. Capriles continues to disappoint.

  3. Milonga11:07 PM

    What a political misstep... Thank you, Dano. I knew I could trust you to think as I did. Terrible. Watching those two shaking hands was just the most frustrating and disappointing image I could ever watch. Don't know what else to say. Horrible.

  4. An excellent synopsis of the tragedy that has befallen VNZA...Only a complete resignation of the goverment, and the judges and judiciary will start to resolve this horrendous crime syndicate. So many will have to resign that I often wonder if there are enough good, competent people to replace them. And of course,,,,,,a Constituyente that embodies all the lessons learned from the nightmare that has come to be known as "Chavismo". .....And Capriles??? His actions do not befit the President of the Republic, whether in Miraflores of not. Millions and Millions believe he won the elections 14A. His term is not finished for good or for bad. His silence in recent weeks is deafening and is shaking what little belief and Faith that existed in VNZA for a better future. One radically different from today. Dios Los Bendiga VNZA.

  5. Anonymous12:24 AM

    Excellent post… I said it a few years back and I say it again… To dialogue with the Chavez/Maduro regime is like asking the devil to stop being the devil. The corrupted regime must exit and unfortunately the only way out of this nightmare is through some suffering for the people of Vzla. Like an alcoholic must hit bottom before getting help, Venezuela brought this to themselves whether by conformity, ignorance, greed or just simply being naïve. Maybe some light can be shed here on this post on why the Venezuelan people allowed to be abused. There is a letter from Castro to Chaves a few years back with guidance on what to do to surmised de masses and get them on his side. Who knows you better but your enemy with plans of intrusion. Somehow a spiritual war was the watering mechanism for Chavez to get control. Here is the link to the letter. It is in Spanish but surely gives a light to Castro’s many years of planned hatred to the Great Power, his long life dream and his obsession to control with a hint of, who knows involvement with our most hated enemies.


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