Apátrida Chronicles

In my latest piece for Transitions, I make the case for foreign intervention in Venezuela’s domestic affairs – namely, that the crime wave has gotten so out of hand, and the government has shown itself so clueless, neighboring countries need to intervene. The headliner:

“In 2009, the U.N. Secretary General provided a blueprint for applying this norm. He emphasized that Responsibility to Protect applies to cases involving serious problems like genocide and ethnic cleansing, and the norm has been cited as the basis, in some cases, for military intervention.

Venezuela does not qualify according to these criteria, but this should not stop the international community from coming to the aid of the Venezuelan people. There is ample precedent for these types of interventions in the country.

If foreign diplomats can be moved to act in order to tend to a political crisis, it is even more pertinent to ask for their help in solving a dramatic social one. South American governments — particularly Venezuela’s neighbors — can assist Venezuela in tackling its crime problem by providing technical assistance, benchmarks to measure progress in key areas such as judicial reform, and suggesting changes to Venezuelan legislation, among other things. They can also supervise disarmament programs as well as assist with innovative policing techniques.”

62 thoughts on “Apátrida Chronicles

  1. This kind of interventionist ideas is an eloquent symbol of the suicidal a-los-coñazos malcriadez de la oposición. I can only hope it does not find much publicity.

    Como diría Mirta Rivero:

    ¿De qué se quejan?


      • I know that you are and you do. Did not mean to suggest the opposite. What is surprising is how familiar and indeed quintessential of the opposition way of doing things your petition is. The retirada of the parlamentarias in 2006, for example, to deligitemize the Chavista government abroad, MCMs pleas to the Canadian government, the whole UN/LL issue at the moment, etc, are all very much part of this line of thought. To not mention all the amas de casa del este, my grandma included, who repeat this sort of thing on a daily basis.

        My point is: domestic support is what is needed. This attitude only gets us further from that goal. That is why its suicidal. It plays onto the Chavista trap of us versus the imperial powers.

        You are not la oposición, surely. Though your idea today is a symptom of the blindness thereof.


        • your view of the “opposition” is a bit rummy. “amas de casa del este” represent a miniscule fraction of the mass of people who disagree with the govt, yet people like you insist on offering them as the quintessential sample of the entire opposition.


    • Let this be an example of the necessity for promptly shutting down the horrible gipsy mindset that’s the sole culprit behind the opposition’s failures. If you’re comfortable paying taxes in El Doral, that’s fine, just don’t assume we want to throw away our resources like you and the oficialistas.


  2. This freaking video is the best example of how the opposition is hanging to anything they can without even making sure it is real. I haven’t seen the first portion of the video where Maduro mentions what is he talking about, when the lady says “hasta cuando” it can means she is talking about “hasta cuanod la derecha asesina a nustros lideres?” or “hasta cuando vas a permitir que mi marido me monte cacho?”
    This is the kind of interpretation that leads the opposition to think we won the referendum or Capriles won against Chavez.
    I think as opposition we need to be more realistic in order to move forward and think about solutions to this freaking mess.


      • Thanks you for posting the full video, it actually made my case. Anyone looking to get a foreign intervention to solve our conditions is just lazy and doesn’t even understand the main problem. do you really think the current violence number are that bad for a guy that has been in La Bombilla fro 30 years? Barrios are worst than 30 years ago and I don’t argue that, but are the conditions there have changed that much so I will risk what el comandante eterno built for them? They have the sense that Chavez gave them power, will the next one can guarantee me the same? That’s the freaking reason why 50% of the country is not against chavismo.
        Imposition doesn’t work anywhere. Just give an example where imposing your idea using force resulted in a peaceful country?
        Juan, we need to convince chavismo that we can solve the problem. They don’t care who created it, they just want to understand how and when the opposition can help them. By the way, do not treat them like stupid or less intelligent people, its a matter of realities and life experiences that it is opening a big hole.


        • Really?! I would say that cut makes him sound more like an incompetent idiot TRYING to make a threat. The full context is even worse than the original post by Juan.


          • It sounds like an incompetent idiot cynically trying to beat back a high disapproval rating by making a threat premised on a lie. Though I can imagine people do ask, hasta cuando Maduro? and not in the sense he is trying to convey.


    • “… think about solutions to this freaking mess.”
      Solutions that come after destroying the brutalizing zeal that’s sucked the chavista’s brains off their skulls.

      “… when the lady says “hasta cuando” it can means she is talking about “hasta cuanod la derecha asesina a nustros lideres?” or “hasta cuando vas a permitir que mi marido me monte cacho?””
      Or it can mean he’s an imbecile that doesn’t give a flying fuck about the “buen vivir del pueblo”

      The first thing to get chavismo off the power while seeking “internal support” comes from destroying the “caring, loving father figure to the poor” image that the wax doll took so much time and spent so many dollars to craft, and showing him for what he actually is, a fucktard corrupt that doesn’t give a flying rat’s ass if “the poor” get killed every 30 minutes under his regime.


      • Juan

        you really have a feeling for what the English-speaking Chilean, Colombian, Venezuelan traditional upper classes (0.5% of the population) want.


            • Imagine how bad the opposition image and message is that even under our current conditions there is 50% that is not sure.


              • I think you are exaggerating the effect of what the middle class/opposition does or thinks in the political sphere of ideas in Venezuela. It’s not like the middle class did anything to harm the country. They didn’t. Their existence was and continues to be the primary offence.

                We all remember the sequence for private schools: first cap the tuition but keep the voluntary contributions by the parents, then cap the voluntary contributions and finally forbid them. Not clear enough?

                Only the Chinese have a lever in the fate of Venezuela. They will treat it like they are treating vast swaths of Africa. Be curious. Have a look. It will make your hair stand on end. But Chavistas? They have it coming.


              • May be it is not just is a bad image problem from the opposition side, may be, just may be it is the party/government is using all state apparatus (illegally) to win elections, may be, just may be.

                That’s why, in most countries, the state and party must be separated.


  3. Why would anyone want the thankless task of helping Venezuela with something so complicated as crime? Why would the government agree as many of those feeding off the public teat are the criminals? Maybe the Chinese would help if they could receive a debt reduction.
    Good luck with this rather lame idea.
    Win sargent


  4. During the World Cup we had many police officers from all over the world patrolling cities here in Brazil. It had been great to see a pair of Argentine cops with their full uniforms inside the subway, for example. Then, after leaving the station, you would find two British cops taking care of a random street. Everyone loved it. And the city was clearly safer in the period – but safer just regarding common crime, because hooliganism actually increased in those days.

    Maybe Venezuela needs a customized (smaller) version of SFOR (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SFOR). Or to just put the army in the streets; Colombia, Mexico and even Italy (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/2501519/Silvio-Berlusconi-puts-troops-on-Italian-city-streets.html) have already resorted to that. But of course we know that with Maduro and his paranoid mates ruling the country something like that will never materialize, a good exercise of imagination, nonetheless. Good article, Nagel. And I agree.


    • We can’t also forget that the sole responsible for the astonishing crime increase in the last 15 years were the Chavistas. And that they arm colectivos and let criminals do whatever they want with so much impunity as a way to terrify (control) society and curb dissent. Also, that such a violent society is a key aspect to solidify more and more their power. In short, it’s not in their best interest to control criminals and decrease crime.


    • Why would any country do this for free/put their officers in harms way? It’s quite hard to feel pity for the Venezuelan government as you might have with a country facing a natural disaster or historically impoverished.


    • Maybe a less complex thing, like a establish a real distribution of competence within Law-enforcement organization, like reducing the quantity of Ad Hoc structures (i.e: Dispositivo Bicentenario) and given more power to civilian law enforcement structures (The majority of criminal-issues are handled by army people, directly or indirectly)


  5. I don’t think the problem is capacity or ability but political will. The Maduro regime is incapable of slowing crime because criminal activity is built into the ecosystem of the ruling party. As I understand it there are precedents for this phenomenon in the region (i.e. Haiti, Jamaica) but chavismo seems to be a particularly strong instance on petro-steroids.


    • The political will has allowed the physical ability of Venezuela to deal with crime to decay and become overwhelmed.

      Suppose tomorrow some magic international force with an army of crack mercenaries seized complete control of Venezuela – turned out the whole chavernment in one sweep.

      What do they do about Venezuela’s crime problem? The prisons are already overcrowded and controlled by inmate gangs. Courts, police, and prosecutors are already swamped, and many are corrupt or incompetent.

      I fear that if conditions become truly intolerable, there will be an epidemic of vigilante repression. and the criminals will be put down with a lot of collateral damage to innocents of the wrong classes and in the wrong neighborhoods.

      It could take months or years to build up Venezuela’s law enforcement system to sufficient capacity.

      The description of foreign police officers on the streets of Brazil struck me as deeply alarming, How can a police officer operate effectively in a country where he isn’t familar with the culture, doesn’t know the law, and may not even speak the language?


      • “The description of foreign police officers on the streets of Brazil struck me as deeply alarming, How can a police officer operate effectively in a country where he isn’t familar with the culture, doesn’t know the law, and may not even speak the language?”

        They had to obey a chain of command (Brazilian Federal Police, Interpol etc). They were not “on their own” nor armed. Their goals were limited: to assist tourists mainly of their same nationality as well as to identify notorious hooligans/wanted terrorists coming from their own countries. For instance, those Argentine cops I mentioned earlier were using their smartphones to record fellow Argentine fans’ faces as they were leaving the subway car. Later, I found out that this data were being streamed directly to some sort of “bunker” where police from several countries were trying to cross-check the new data collected using their local databases. Furthermore, if they saw something bad happening in a street or store etc.: some theft, terrorist threat or whatever, they could report it via radio, calling for support from local forces or even intervene somehow (if granted authorization for that). It was really professional and well-done. And from what I read back then, this kind of international force making sure things run smooth is a tradition in big international events, it was definitely not the first time . By the way, Venezuela cooperated it too.

        I found a link with more information if you are interested, but it’s in portuguese, unfortunately:



        • I thought that’s what might be going on. But it was for a special purpose, and was built on a foundation of functional local police forces.

          Not in any way applicable to Venezuela, which needs help coping with its native criminals and has dysfunctional police forces (and judiciary).


  6. I agree with your purpose, but I’m not sure it would be useful. Most crime in Venezuela happens because the government turns a blind eye, sometimes deliberately sometimes because it’s out of their control. Sure, you could get a good panel of experts to write up a nice, sensible package of recommendations, but they would end up sitting on a shelf gathering dust.


  7. Neither Maduro, nor the top brass of Chavismo is interested in solving the crime problem, because what we call “crime problem” is “convenient social control tool” for them, plain and simple. The protests of February-May demonstrated (in a pretty evident way) that they have both the resources in men power and equipment to fight this issue, but they simply choose not to do so because that tacit hampa curfew works oh so well for them.

    And If we still think that the solution to our problem lies in the help we may (or may not) get from overseas, we have to watch again “No Man’s Land” from Danis Tanovic. As a reality check of sorts. Maybe.


    • corruption and crime are rooted as a fundamental practice inside the chavista leviathan at all levels of govt. How can people expect the govt to fight itself.? it simply can’t because all of it is corrupted from the Top to bottom.


  8. International peacekeepers patrolling the streets of Caracas, shooting the shit out of both malandros and innocent citizens? Caracas, the Sarajevo and Kinshasa of 2014? What a lovely idea. I bet every caraqueño would be longing for some foreign occupation force to come in and set things straight…. not!

    R2P is a term that is applicable in genocidal situations like Rwanda or South Sudan. Our crime situation is insane, but to label it a kind-of-genocide is a significant exaggeration, no?


    • Because 250 thousand murders is just a stripe in a tiger’s hide, dude.

      “International peacekeepers patrolling the streets of Caracas, shooting the shit out of both malandros and innocent citizens?”

      Bwahahahaha! It’s amusing to see how the ridiculous boogiemen the chavismo summons to keep their bases excusing, forgiving and allowing their continuous manipulation are engraved in some venezuelan heads! xD


  9. I remember back in February seeing all the footage of the the morbid amount of military capital used to repress protesters and thinking ” well, now we can clearly see the government is in fact well equipped to fight crime on the streets. They just choose not to.” Not Many years ago Venezuela was considered one of the less violent countries in the world. I don’t really believe that Venezuelan people has all the sudden become irrational violent people, I think that in any country in which people are not made accountable by the law of their actions will probably see a rise in crime. And if you also see it by a Darwinism standpoint where people have to fight their up to survive in a society where everyday it gets harder to do our violence drama it’s not so surprising anymore


    • “Not Many years ago Venezuela was considered one of the less violent countries in the world.”

      When was this?? Maybe one of the less violent in South America, definitely not the world.


    • Just a few days ago Jaua was telling people that the revolution could never alternate power with the bourgeoisie:


      The really striking point of his commentary is here:

      En el acto, transmitido por VTV, Jaua recordó que Chávez le comentó que los venezolanos fuimos formados no para el poder, sino para ser mandados, ser obreros. “Chávez fue una excepción de eso, pero ¿cuántos jóvenes hay que no piensan en el poder? Esa vocación del poder que debe permanecer en la juventud es el mayor legado del Comandante y hay que divulgarlo para que el pueblo siempre siga en el poder”.

      THIS is your problem. They are teaching people mired in violence that the problem is that they are submissive, not that there is a lack of order, education, resources and jobs. Chavismo promulgates a corrosive culture where violence spawns yet more violence because chavistas like Jaua thinks the problem is that people need to “think about power”.

      Jaua probably is thinking along the lines of “self-empowerment”. The philosophy is so thoroughly half-baked that “les ha salido el tiro por la culata”.


  10. The sad state of affairs is made in Venezuela by Venezuelans. It is now for Venezuelans to dig out of the shithole.

    Here I must embrace the cliché of “autodeterminación de los pueblos”.

    I do think that the silence of foreign governments is shameful, but in the end there is little for them to gain from antagonizing the chaverment.

    We are stuck and no one is going to help us but ourselves


    • I wouldn’t want one penny of my tax dollars going toward crime prevention in Venezuela. And I have family in Venezuela.


  11. La situación acá está tan macabra, que les puedo decir que dudo mucho que este tipo de medidas sean impopulares. Vengan de donde vengan. No es algo de “upper class”. De verdad que la situación es bastante dramática.


  12. I, on the other hand, think that this proposition is not only absurd, but does a great disservice to the cause of opposition.


  13. Juan,

    I can’t believe you’re still expecting that this will be resolved by some foreign troops coming over and somehow solve this problem for us by sheer force?

    The people that will get rid of him are especially those within the regime who see the country falling apart at an exponential rate, and whom hopefully can count on the support of one or more of the main pillars of Chavismo’s support – military, workers, public employees, PDVSA, etc. The opposition will be simply an accessory to them. At this stage I don’t see anyone within the opposition being a leader, except for Leopoldo Lopez.


  14. I’ve arrived to Chile 100 days ago. One of the things which struck me was: Here, no one knows shit about what is going on in Venezuela in terms of the details. And this is not Canada nor Australia. This is bananoamerica just 5000 km south. All that gibberish about “Que el mundo lo sepa” doesnt get any farther than a local twitter Trending Topic

    Average chilean knows that Maduro is a clown and Chavez was a charismatic dictator, including, off course, the typical leftie sycopanth lauding him as a hero. Things such as murder rate, scarcity, PSUV standard shenanigans and chigüire-esque everyday news don’t even reach this country.

    I don’t see lots mentions of Venezuela in local newspapers nor tv news, only the ocassional “Maduro attended an ONU assembly and said “.

    And that´s it. People are inmersed in their own things. Nagel should know better since he’s here too. In fact, younger chileans such as those who didn’t live through the crap of Allende’s socialism nor Pinocho’s slaughterism find hard to get things as “empty shelves” or “Lo mataron de 37 tiros” straight away. I try not to comment much about Venezuela because i feel people think i’m making shit up.

    And i expect the very same at other countries as well, why would someone mess with a country whose people can´t deal with their own crime problems?, countries intervene when money is involved.

    Venezuela should get its shit together by itself ,via civil war, via yet another dictatorship and then civil war. Then you can justify “an intervention”

    Democracy alone wont suffice, i’m sure.


    • ” In fact, younger chileans such as those who didn’t live through the crap of Allende’s socialism nor Pinocho’s slaughterism find hard to get things as “empty shelves” or “Lo mataron de 37 tiros” straight away. I try not to comment much about Venezuela because i feel people think i’m making shit up.”

      I’ve been saying for quite a while that Chile is still very vulnerable to Bolivarianism. They have a considerable portion of their society that is anti-US and socialist (the younger chileans who didn’t live through the crap of Allende’s socialism nor Pinocho’s slaughterism); 15% of the population is below poverty line (Venezuela has 24%); mining represents 20% of Chilean GDP (oil and gas make 25% of the Venezuelan GDP): what is basically the “tripod of failure”, if we can call it that way. They do have a far better educational system, but that didn’t prevent Argentina from going straight to hell. Someone like Camila Vallejo becoming the next president is not something very unrealistic, in my opinion. And I don’t think that their institutions are that strong, either (see Bachelet’s recent reforms). But if Chile surpasses the $25,000 GDP per capita threshold, then it will be extremely hard for Bolivarianism to catch up.


      • I agree with you, a bunch of lefties still lingering here, specially the young who are rightly pissed off about how insane education expenditures can be.

        Bachelet looks afraid to steer the boat toward her reforms, and seems desperate to erase his first term from collective memory.

        I work close to mining and engineering operations, thus i get to hear comments about how things are going. Basically, “la gorda no se mueve a hacer o no hacer lo que quiere hacer”.

        If someone like Conchaseca Vallejo wins, i pack my bags and head to Italy right away to work in a farm, at least Italy demonstrated how to lose a war and avoid falling into communism as result.

        Back in topic, as long as information about human rights violations meet hegemon’s filter, people in this country and the rest of the world will lose yet another opportunity to see how things evolve when you vote for S.O.Bs like Vallejo, Pablo Iglesias, Maduro and Chavez.

        BTW.. How on earth Oil is only 25% of our GDP?, we are even IMPORTING the stuff nowadays.


        • That’s why I think it’s risky to emigrate to other Latin American countries, our societies are just too similar. When my country finally goes to hell (we will see in 10 days), I will go to Europe. No looking back.

          And that info you are curious about I found at OPEC’s site:

          “Venezuela’s oil revenues account for about 95 per cent of export earnings. The oil and gas sector is around 25 per cent of gross domestic product.”



          • Marc, I’ve been keeping an eye on the election, it looks 50/50 (like us for a long time before the money started to run out) but the second round gives you at least a fighting chance. Without knowing too much about it I liked very much the “manifesto” from Aecio and the speech endorsing him from Mariana: Prefiro ser criticada lutando por aquilo que acredito ser o melhor para o Brasil, do que me tornar prisioneira do labirinto da defesa do meu interesse próprio, onde todos os caminhos e portas que percorresse e passasse, só me levariam ao abismo de meus interesses pessoais.
            How I wish we had had second round and political figures that could act and speak like this! It still makes me feel icky to know that I was forced to vote for Salas Romer AND Rosales :-(


            • Aecio is good, but I think the key person in his government (if he wins, obviously) will be his Finance Minister: Arminio Fraga, a guy who was contacted by the US government to head nothing less than the Federal Reserve itself some years ago. Besides, Joseph Stiglitz recommended his name to be the president of the World Bank. Thus, Arminio would be the “star” in this new government.

              But since the grass is always greener on the other side, I have to say that if I had to choose between MCM and Aecio, I would rather vote for MCM, because her ideology is closer to mine (more right-wing). Aecio is on her left, but he is definitely on Capriles’ or Bachelet’s right.

              My ideal government would be the combo MCM + Arminio Fraga! Hell, that would be a powerful combination of forces. lol


              • LOL, I don’t use the left of right labels anymore, in Vzla I was accused of being extreme left when I talked about ending free university and focusing resources on early childhood programs and primary education. Here I am accused of being a communist when I comment that making prisons a for profit business is distorting the justice process and mostly minorities get affected. So at the end, I look for capacity to understand complex issues and honesty, I am sure MCM is honest and smart so I definitely would vote for her more enthusiastically than for a lot others.


            • Verga…. You are putting Salas Romer on the same level as Rosales, and sparing Arias Cardenas? My Carabobo sensibilities are doubly offended. ;)


              • Jajaja, I was ashamed to remember Arias Cardenas, my brain is trying to forget tha episode and the fact that did go to “bailoterapias” en Altamira to “protest” ;-)


  15. The foreign intervention I prefer is to have U.S. politicians speak to the Venezuelan people about how bad their gov’t is treating them and that the people are not being empowered rather they are being enslaved.

    Topics can include–
    Corruption, crime, shortages, a medical system failure, lack of press freedom, lack of freedom of speech, immunity of legal prosecution for some select groups, a dishonest gov’t that rarely tells the truth, a lack of openness in gov’t revenues and spending, lack of responsibility of the gov’t, lack of human rights, financial support of criminal regimes in other countries paid for by the Vzla people, handing sovereignty to the Castros, a military without honor that kills its own citizens but cannot fight a war, nepotism in high-level gov’t appointments, a destroyed economy, pollution and poisoning of potable water systems, traffic beyond belief, police that murder citizens, fraud in the voting process and in vote counts, no separation of powers, a gov’t that ignores its own constitution, a president who fears the children of a dead past president, a president’s spouse who has an unlimited bank account at PDVSA, a president who cannot change course, plenty of politicians hot air but little toilet paper, and on and on. Don’t get me started.

    Hundreds of thousands have risked their lives to leave Cuba and the Castros to get to the United States. Why would any sane Venezuelan support Cuban control of Venezuela.

    The best foregin interfernce would be to get the message to the Venezuelan people that the U.S. cares for the Venezuelan people.

    An embargo on Venezuelan purchases of petroleum products from the U.S. would be next. That would hurt.


    • An embargo would outright kill this country.

      Consumerism is quite the thing in venezuela and is fueled by it.


  16. “South American governments — particularly Venezuela’s neighbors — can assist Venezuela in tackling its crime problem by providing technical assistance, benchmarks to measure progress in key areas such as judicial reform, and suggesting changes to Venezuelan legislation, among other things.” (emphasis mine)

    Mmmm… there’s always room for more cooperation, as in: exchanging more information on cross-border criminal operations, streamlining extraditions, coordinating police/military operations, etc. But having Colombia or Brazil supervising our progress on this would be like Mexico supervising the war against drug cartels and human trafficking in Central America, the appropriate response would be exclaiming “qué tupé!”

    It should be remembered, that particularly Venezuela’s neighbors were the main vectors for the violence that is now rampant in the country.
    – The Colombian conflict affected Venezuela by displacing some petty criminals -under threat from paramilitary groups- along with innocent refugees fleeing from the conflict, it also promoted the establishment of logistic operations to distribute Colombian cocaine (run by the guerrilla, the paramilitary, Venezuelan military/police, Venezuelan gangs), promoted the establishment of kidnapping gangs (first used to fund Colombian groups, now used by Venezuelan gangs), and led to the incursion -in general- of guerilla groups, paramilitary groups and criminal gangs within our border.
    – From Brazil we got the garimpeiros and the mineral smuggling operations in Guayana.
    -Guyana, to my knowledge, hasn’t given us much trouble (except for the Esequibo, of course).

    On the other hand, if we needed supervising, which I don’t think we do, countries like Costa Rica, Uruguay or Chile would have a higher credibility for that role. But I don’t think we need supervising, I don’t even think we need drastic legal reforms (crimes are already penalized), what we need is to apply the law of the land, which would include:
    – Purge the justice system from people with a criminal record (there should be no police officer, soldier, military officer, prosecutor, judge, etc; with previous convictions).
    – Pay decent wages to the civil servants in the justice system (police officers, prosecutors, judges, etc) to shield them from the temptation of bribes/extortion.
    – Carry out public examinations to appoint new judges and prosecutors.
    – Build more prisons.

    With all our limitations, the police catch criminals at least twice or thrice the times the should have. There’s plenty of cases like Monica Spear’s, where the criminals had been apprehended three or four times, only to be put on parole, have their charges dismissed or be awarded suspicious benefits.


  17. – Purge the justice system from people with a criminal record (there should be no police officer, soldier, military officer, prosecutor, judge, etc; with previous convictions).

    The problem is starts at the top. Madurro, Cabello, the thousands of Generals, Governors, Mayors, etc who are corrupt and stealing billions of BFs. These people are above the law and immune from prosecution. This includes the constitution. Why would a cop on the beat or a soldier be law abiding when his leaders are law breakers?


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