Big structural changes for the CICPC, Venezuela’s investigative police force, after Chávez used his enabling law powers to reform it by decree. The president’s first major change? A new police commander. And who better for the task than the Comandante Presidente himself.
The idea of having the president as head of the police not only confirms the disregard for the separation of powers but opens the door to the possible use of this security force as a mechanism of political persecution.
Pero que es otra raya mas para ese tigre…
This overhaul followed the unjustified and reprehensible murder of Karen Berendique, daughter of Chile’s consul in Maracaibo, at a CICPC mobile checkpoint last March. All 12 agents involved in the crime are in jail, awaiting trial and the heads of the regional CICPC office were fired, but the national leadership of the force was spared of the same fate by the Interior Ministry.
The reforms go way beyond putting Chávez at the top of the CICPC. The former PTJ will be limited to carrying out criminal investigations only. They can no longer detain people in their facilities and won’t have special forces under their command. The demise of the infamous Special Actions Brigade (which recently merged with fellow tactical group, the Inmediate Response Brigade) leaves the country without a national SWAT team, except those of the SEBIN (Venezuela’s Intelligence Service).
Municipal and State police forces could take over some of the workload being loaded off by CICPC. But the criminal investigations police is not the only law enforcement agency facing major changes: The Traffic Police is about to be absorved by the Bolivarian National Police (the socialist police, which replaced the Caracas Metropolitan Police), but their officers are not happy about it.
This reform comes as a preamble of the launch of what will be the 19th government plan against crime and violence in almost 14 years: Gran Misión A Toda Vida Venezuela.