Grenades galore (Updated)

granada11The last few days have been quite tense in Aragua State, as an undeclared conflict between criminal gangs and the authorities heats up.

It all began last Thursday when six members of the criminal gang known as “El Kilverth” (named for the leader’s alias) were killed in a shootout following their attack on a local police station near San Mateo, close to the capital city of Maracay. Three of the gang members died after a live grenade went off inside their vehicle.

Hours later, came the retaliation: three offices of the CICPC (Criminal Investigations Police) were destroyed by coordinated grenade blasts.

The CICPC declared a maximum state of alert. Over the weekend, agents from local and national forces (including the intelligence service SEBIN) have increased their presence in the area and carried out several raids to find those responsible. This could include other criminal groups active in the area.

In recent months, violence has increased in Aragua (specially in small towns like Turmero and Villa de Cura), reaching the point that local opposition legislators have asked both the State government and the Interior Ministry to declare a state of emergency.

The thing that caught my attention has been how the gangs have easy access to grenades. Incidents involving this type of military weaponry are becoming more and more common. Even tear-gas canisters (used for riot control) are falling into the hands of folks that really shouldn’t have access to them.

With our criminals having both war-ready equipment and a huge supply of bullets, police officers and civilians are on the losing side. This recent story by NPR’s John Otis on policing in Petare confirms the trend – grenades galore.

The central government prefers to blame violence on drug traffickers and politically-motivated paramilitaries. But that view isn’t that far from the truth: these criminal gangs sort-of fit the basic definition of a paramilitary body, and many of those groups (such as the infamous “El Picure” gang) are involved in drug-related activities. However, the political angle the government desperately wants to stick onto the problem simply doesn’t match the evidence available.

Our crime epidemic is surpassing all estimations, to the point that Venezuela is (according to the Brazilian think tank Instituto Igarape) the second most murderous country in the planet. If you are being murdered, there is a high chance you are in Venezuela.

UPDATE: Related to the issue of delinquents’ recent love of grenades, check out this brand new article by Thabata Molina. Very informative.

26 thoughts on “Grenades galore (Updated)

  1. “If you are being murdered, there is a high chance you are in Venezuela.”

    That is how people should write.

    Congratulations on your (admittedly grim) work. Yo do it excellently. I have become a fan of your posts and totally appreciate the importance they have.

    Of course, I wish there was no need for it and you could dedicate yourself to baseball or science reporting.

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    • It is simple math. If the people who are charged to serve the people and uphold the law are in fact criminals themselves (and everyone knows it) then it is a quid pro quo that the people will devolve into criminal behavior. Add the fact that surreptitiously many of these gangs were “armed” by the same people in government to help keep the rest of the people under control and “assist” in the narco trafficking that this government engages in. Of course like a poorly made crime movie the predictable conclusion is attained when the petty drug dealers aren’t getting a big enough share and they see the government officials at the top of the drug cartel living like billionaires (because some of them are, they revolt and the soldiers in the drug trade decide to become the generals and “remove” the layers above them. Mayhem ensures and the obligatory blood and guts scene unfolds. What a sad sad pathetic movie watching a country consume itself on the lust of greed and power. A once very peace loving people have devolved into committing crimes just to stay alive and have basically become animals. This will be the legacy of Chavez, Maduro and Cabbello, to name just a few. History will name many more but the these three will be known as the men who assassinated Venezuela. While the world looks the other way and sucks at the oil teat that has now defined Venezuela. They have nothing left but oil, and when that collapses through unbounded incompetence and the oil stops flowing then and only then will the world start saying that something should be done in Venezuela. George Clooney, Leonardo de Caprio and dozens of other “stars” will take up the cause and rant on rave about the atrocities give testimony to the US congress, get appointed a peace ambassador to the UN and still nothing will be actually done. Just fund raising at Live Aid Venezuela on CBS or NBC with a cavalcade of stars and no accountability of where that money actually goes. Maybe even the Clinton Foundation will get involved so they can make a buck too? Not a very pretty picture I know and very pessimistic but I am afraid that those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Sigh !

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  2. I guess they just fail to mention the political affiliation of the paramilitaries is “chavista”, right?

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    • No, No No! They are right wing death squads from Colombia! Or Chavismo would like you to believe.

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    • The Ley Desarme is one of the most disingenuous and cynical acts of the government, pretending that the issue are not the legally acquired guns and ammo filtered down by cronies in CAVIM but the few pendejos who actually get a gun permit in Venezuela.

      BTW this is Pranation as reality, the lines are blurring.

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      • The disarm law was actually proposed first by opposition people, the regime buried it some years and later they stole it and claimed it was their idea all the time.

        Also, the malandros don’t buy toilet paper, they have enough to wipe their asses (And their diarrhea – ridden relatives) with the disarm law.

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    • Criminal gangs having grenades can only mean one thing , since grenades are originally in possession of ether of the army or of Sebim , then corrupt people from inside these organizations must be responsible for selling it to them .

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      • Criminal gangs are armed by chavista regime itself, it’s not that “they are too stupid”, it’s that they are doing that on purpose.

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        • I dont think they will give for free what they can sell for money , corruption is too entrenched , they might give some to colectivos which have a direct political connection to the regime , but most gangs are not formed as colectivos but as bands of free lance barrio toughs. they are the guys killing policemen to rob their guns . ( wouldnt do it if they got it for free) .

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  3. When the malandros actively target the government offices, you start calling this a civil war, and the gangs “guerrillas” or even “terrorists”, but I suppose that is just a technicality. As far as some in the government are concerned, these are just “recovering troubled individuals”. Getting dizzy from all the spinning.

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    • The gangs are becoming strong enough to challenge the civil authorities directly , this is a sign of chaos becoming more virulent and widespread.

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  4. Another PR disaster on the way to Maduro.

    “Los expresidentes de España Felipe González, de Brasil Henrique Cardoso, de Chile Ricardo Lagos y de Colombia Andrés Pastrana llegarán el próximo lunes a Caracas para apoyar a los opositores presos, informó este martes Omar Estacio, abogado del alcalde metropolitano de Caracas, Antonio Ledezma.

    ‘Sí, eso está confirmado, el lunes a las 8.30 de la mañana va a aterrizar en Maiquetía”, aseguró Estacio sobre la llegada de González y añadió que llegará acompañado “en el mismo vuelo” de los otros tres ex gobernantes latinoamericanos.'”

    http://www.elnuevoherald.com/noticias/mundo/america-latina/venezuela-es/article20773359.html

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    • It wouldn’t surprise me if the government has them all declared persona non grata and refused to allow them in the country.

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  5. Do you guys remember the areas called Zonas de Paz? Well, this is an area where nationals security forces and gangs made a “no-harm” deal which means this areas will be controlled by gangs and they will guarantee people’s safety only if national police doesn’t get in there and let them carry usual business transactions like drug trafficking or kidnapping. Part of the deal is that this gang will backup the government if there is a popular demonstration, they are in charge of keeping people under control. We saw it last year when colectivos shot many civilians during protests around the country
    Aragua has many of the zones and what happened here is that CICPC carried a raid and killed a couple of gang members which derived in revenge because the government did not respect the peace zone.
    Controling these gangs all over the country will be a huge task if we want to reduce crime, they anarchy is so powerful that it will be very similar to Colombia back in the 80’s.

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  6. “The central government prefers to blame violence on drug traffickers and politically-motivated paramilitaries.”

    Actually they have blamed stuff like even movies (Spiderman, the hero who by definition has a stronger No-Kill rule stronger than Superman and Batman together), soap-operas (Sure, Las Juanas would drive you insane much faster than reading the Necronomicon and summoning Cthulhu) and even videogames (Like idiots did like, uh, 20 years ago? Because Super Mario Bros and Tetris will TOTALLY turn you into a rapist monster)

    ” But that view isn’t that far from the truth: these criminal gangs sort-of fit the basic definition of a paramilitary body, and many of those groups (such as the infamous “El Picure” gang) are involved in drug-related activities. However, the political angle the government desperately wants to stick onto the problem simply doesn’t match the evidence available.”

    The “political angle” is that the regime wants to GET RID OF ITS RESPONSIBILITY AND OBLIGATION that is “Stop criminals”, because they are using crime as an instrument to control the population, they do the dirty work, and no one can prove they work for the regime.

    That is one of the reasons they kidnapped Ledezma and stuck him in the Sebin’s Tomb until he nearly died: Because he DARED to state the truth that’s been there since the wax corpse got the power: “The crime rate that Venezuela suffers today begun when chavez claimed that ‘stealing was ok if I claimed I was hungry later'”. That hurt the regime’s image of infallibility perfection and absolute lack of guilt, so they took revenge with his kidnapping.

    The lunatic at the ministry of prisons has been releasing countless scumbags so they go and slaughter people, one example is Adriana Urquiola’s murderer, anybody remembers? The guy was sentenced to 25 years for kidnapping AND murder, he spent less than 3 years in a cell. Or what about the “monstruo de Casalta”, a bastard that was sentenced to 20 years after raping and killing 6 women, spent less than 5 years, and got out thanks to a “plan cayapa” (Plan beatdown, what a lovely name, by the way…) so the guy went to the exact barrio he was caught, raped and killed TWO more women.

    I can mention the case where a mob in La Vega barrio lynched and killed a rapist that was caught red-handed assaulting a girl, yet the drug-kingpin-terrorist-agent tarek alsaimer stated that THE PEOPLE OF THE BARRIO WERE GOING TO BE ARRESTED, is here when I ask, HOW LONG WAS THAT FUCKER DOING WHAT HE WANTED SO PEOPLE GOT SO FED UP WITH HIM THAT THEY CHOOSE TO DO THAT??

    Crime in chavista era has been inexorabily tied with the regime, the goverment directly gave them weapons and impunity, and the result is here, more than 20 thousand murders per year, while the regime’s and their propaganda agents openly mock the people whose relatives are slaughtered left and right.

    Also, it’s rumored that the idea came from the wax corpse himself, who got it from mummy-castro, who told him to “get the criminals to work for him to control any dissidents”

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  7. Great post on the sad state of affairs in Venezuela. Grim indeed. Oddly, the crime situation reminds me of a bad Mad Max movie.

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    • When the crime is sponsored and strengthened by the government itself, there’s little chance of seeing the next dawn.

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  8. The Chavistas may be smart enough to use criminal activity to suspend your elections and use the same gangs to beat down any resulting protests. Sounds like a win, win to this writer.

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    • The Chavista regime is an armed criminal organization itself. The National Guard and Police have guns. Why would they favor disarmament?

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    • They have been doing that since the first day they seized power.

      One effect of it is the multiplication of the murders per year, that climbed from less than 4.000 in 1998 to more than 20.000 in 2014 (500% of raise) while population in the country hasn’t grown even a meager 20%.

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  9. In case you guys have not heard: Maracay was taken today by the police and the national guard. Word on the street is that the chief criminal (a pran who escaped the prison of Tocorón) behind the whole grenade shenanigans is hiding somewhere in the area of San Vicente. There is a curfew in place and this afternoon there were around 2000 policemen on the streets looking for the guy. I live in Turmero, so I haven’t seen this firsthand, but several family members work in Maracay and passed me the intel.

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