Sunday, December 28, 2014

Zeitgeist at Arapito

This holiday period had to provide us rich evidence on the country's degradation, none as telling as the mass robbery at Arapito beach.

Arapito used to be one of the paradise beach Venezuela had decades ago, even featuring in European tourism posters. I still remember going there as a kid as a stop over on the road to Cumana, our annual vacation outing then. Since then mass tourism has come, but not of the good type. Thinning coconut trees, greasy spoon stands, noisy crowd on holidays. I certainly will not spoil my fond memories by going back there, the more so after the mass robbery that took place yesterday.

About half a dozen guys with masks and war weapons dropped off a peñero (local type of fishing boat) to rob the 300 or so visitors to the beach as well as the stand owners. Even though these last ones had the time to call for police, this one lasted over an hour to show up. By then the robbers had left on another stolen peñero (the original one having broken down). The robbery was so thorough that even one of them stole the dog of a little girl. Folks were left, well, a little bit more naked than what they were minutes ago. It is to be noted that although the robbers could not steal the cars for obvious nautical reasons, they still took property titles of the vehicles parked in the area: getting a property title is difficult today for basic lack of plastic supplies so those are valuable for stolen cars that need some "validation".

When everything was done, the incensed locals, accused outright of complicity by the incompetent local "security" authorities even though they clearly live off tourism decided to block the main road. The scandal became large enough that even the prosecutor office had to be disturbed from its holiday and intrigues in Caracas to dispatch someone to Arapito.

This being narrated, what is this so zeitgeisty?

Let's begin by the reporting of the event. It started on Twitter and I already knew about it on the 26 at night. Yet no official media reported on it until next day, and minimizing the fact as much as possible. For example media favorable to the regime passes along the news as 5 people that robbed only 30 beach goers. Certainly the 300 beach goers did not have all their purses and cel phones and tablets around their neck while splashing in the Caribbean waters, but the terror was shared by all.  It is impressive the way news reporting has been automatized by regime media and its recently acquired associates such as once upon a time independent Ultimas Noticias. Whenever the regime is at fault, news are delayed until an official line is emitted.

Let's talk about security now. We will pass on what is standard excuse by now: if it is not the fault of the evil empire and the fascist right then it is due to the locals complicity. Certainly in most crimes of this nature, here or abroad, there is some form of local informer associated with the planning of the crime. But this should never be used as an excuse by the authorities for their inexcusable delays, even less to put ALL the locals on the bench. These folks maybe simple minded and willing to rip off tourists as much as they can get away with it but they are hardworking and know very well their livelihood depends on tourists coming back to Arapito.

And let's go into the tourism ministry led by Andres Rizarrarita Izarra, who became infamous internationally after laughing off loudly crime in Venezuela during a CNN interview on crime. He has pretended since he got that job that tourism in Venezuela is fine, that it is safe, that it is of easy access. And yet Arapito is the prime example on how what should be a treasured beach, a national landmark, does not even have apparently a life saver that could also turn into a security guard as needed. As it is the case in Venezuela, it is all talk, all promises, no actions, no anchoring to reality. But in the case of Izarra it is particularly foul as this one has sponsored an expensive campaign with a comic character, "Cheverito", that tries to convince us that Venezuela is a tourism paradise when you cannot go to the corner deli without the risk of being mugged. Without counting on other problems for tourism such as power outage, non potable water in faucets, lack of toilet paper.... But then again the "cheverito" misión is just another propaganda ploy.

And so goes the deliquescent country.


  1. Charly4:45 PM

    Occam razor says that the heist was committed by distinguished members of "the incompetent local "security" authorities". That is why it took so long for them to get to the scene. They had to change into their uniforms first. Happy innocent day.

    1. I thought about suggesting it, but the fact by itself was quite something already. No need to add insult to injury, I am letting that privilege to readers ;-)

    2. There's no local security, as far as I know. The nearest real life cops willing to face five men armed with rifles are in Pto La Cruz. The Pirates must have come all the way from Barcelona. A few years ago I was in the area and I took a bodyguard, but we also had a twin engine peñero and a radio ready to call reinforcements. Middle class venezuelans are so used to the críme they fail to take the most basic precautions. Nowadays I would only go there if the cuban ambassador came along.

  2. Ronaldo2:51 AM

    "Nowadays I would only go there if the cuban ambassador came along. "

    Isn't Cuban Ambassador part of Maduro's duties? He does a damn good job of representing Cuba.

    The Cuban government has bigger places to rob, like the Venezuelan treasury and oil fields.

  3. Nebelwald1:51 AM

    This must be a candidate entry for the Guiness Book of World Records ... most people simultaneously mugged.


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