The disarmament that wasn’t there


It’s not much… but that it’ll do.

The central government has tried over and over again to present itself as proactive in tackling crime. As usual, reality has gotten in its way.

Violence in Venezuela is once again in the international media because of both the grizzly murder of Chavista MP Robert Serra and his assistant earlier this month, followed just days later by a shoot-out in downtown Caracas between the authorities and a pro-government armed group (colectivo), which left five dead, including leader José Odreman.

In early September, UNICEF’s recent report titled “Hidden in Plain Sight” said Venezuela has the third worst homicide rate for children and teenagers (0-19 years old) in the world (20 murders per 100.000 inhabitants), right after Guatemala and El Salvador.

Weeks after that report was released, the central government announced a brand new voluntary disarmament plan, which would be backed up by a $47 million special fund. The plan allows people holding unlicensed guns to surrender them anonymously in one of the designated centers around the country, getting in return this certificate and the promise of future “incentives” (like a laptop, a college scholarship or construction materials).

But could this really work? El Nacional’s crime reporter Javier Mayorca has serious doubts, which he summarized in this post in his blog Crimes Without Punishment. Concerns include the lack of prior organization and promotion or the fact that the plan doesn’t have an established timetable. Other criticism centers anonymity, which the government believes is essential. This plan also includes the examination of the weapons to see if they were used in crimes.

But Interior Minister Miguel Rodríguez Torres wants to go further, and has authorized the review of all legal gun permits in the country, which goes along with his previous pledge to eliminate all legal permits to carry firearms in the medium term. He has found resistance from an unlikely source: the Bolivarian Bodyguards’ Association.

How many illegal guns have been gathered so far? It’s hard to say. The most recent news report talked about the destruction of 750 weapons. Is this the total or just part? Given the lack of details, I can’t answer for sure … It is worth noting that, in order to be credible, most of the literature emphasizes that disarmament plans should be transparent and verifiable.

Meanwhile, the government will continue its negotiation with criminal bands. Too bad it hasn’t worked before.

13 thoughts on “The disarmament that wasn’t there

  1. If anyone actually believes that the malandros are going to turn in their guns then they need a reality check.

    To a malandro their gun is like a hammer is to a carpenter – can’t work without it.

    This was just a propaganda scheme to get any guns out of the hands of the law abiding opposition so that when the blow up comes we will be defenseless.


    • Ni pa eso…If I legally owned a gun for at-home protection, I sure as hell wouldn’t give it to them. Mainly because I’m certain it would find its way into a thugs hands, be it a cop or a gangster. But for a malandro, the gun is his livelihood. You might as well ask for his right hand.
      I think the only guns the government got out of this were either damaged ones that were of no use or spare weapons that malandros could afford to throw away in order to get some of those tax-paid prizes. Because scamming the system is an art.


  2. I recall reading stories in the Venezuelan press – back when there still was a press- about how a lot of the arms out there are either sold or even rented from the police to street gangs, so if that’s true, I’m not sure what a measure like this will do without other reforms, except perhaps provide further business opportunities for corrupt cops and their gangster friends. I can see it now: hand in the gun, take the laptop, sell the laptop, buy a gun -cop and thug take nice tidy profit, guns continue to circulate…


  3. They want to pry legally purchased guns from the hands of law-abiding citizens, while not doing enough to disarm malandros and take away their illegally owned guns. By doing so the government is jeopardizing citizens’ lives since people won’t be able to resort to self-defense when their lives are threatened, while giving further impunity to malandros.

    I’m having a fucking fit. And I’m no NRA member!


    • Self-Defense doesn’t exist in Venezuela.
      No, seriously, there’s no such thing as that in any law as far as I know, so if a mierdalandro comes to kill you, you have to let yourself be shot 45 times or the regime’ll swiftly come to haul your self-defending ass to a prison so they can kill you there.


    • I agree, disarmament eliminate the right of the citizens to defend themselves when the autority fails, and this self-defense argument is not a thing of Law and Order in Venezuela, but of surviving


  4. Just more clown show. The police know it is a sham. The government knows it is a sham. The criminals know it is a sham. The only people who could possibly buy into it are a few remaining diehard loyalists with a serious intelligence deficit.


  5. Remember, this is a socialist re-distribution of guns. Guns collected by the government will be given to poor government supporters who cannot afford a gun. Eventually government supporters will all have guns.

    Knowing that the police offer little protection, citizens would be wise not to give the government more guns.


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