We’re Too Rich to be this Violent

Like everything else about Venezuela’s violence epidemic this chart, put together by Amherst Political Scientist Javier Corrales together with one of his research students, is deeply troubling. Plot countries’ murder rates against their per capita income and, not surprisingly, you find richer countries are less violent. Venezuela, though, lies far off the trend line, in…

Once bitten, zero times shy

OK, so I should probably tread carefully here. But the story Diosdado Cabello just told about General Hugo Carvajal’s whereabouts makes absolutely zero sense. It bears noting that last week, after Ismael García tweeted that Carvajal had run off to the U.S. alongside a defecting Supreme Tribunal magistrate, the magistrate turned up in Caracas and proved the story wrong.…

The Dawn of the Worst Case Scenario?

I generally steer clear of top secret, thinly sourced, rumint-heavy reporting from the murky world of the security services. There’s no checking those things for veracity and, unless you know the people involved – which, invariably, I don’t – it’s hard to know how to evaluate the claims made. That said, people I respect are…

Paging General Carvajal

Your attention, please: Paging General Hugo Carvajal…General Carvajal, please report to management immediately. We repeat: General Hugo Carvajal. Report yourself, General Carvajal, as a matter of urgency. Like, right now. [Update: Looks like it was a false alarm. That is the last time I take Ismael García’s tweets seriously. (It was the first time, too!)]

Impeached judge talks

This is an exclusive interview with Eladio Aponte. Who is he? He is a former military prosecutor, and a former high-ranking judge on the Venezuelan Supreme Tribunal. Where is he? Outside Venezuela somewhere. Reports say he has signed a deal with the DEA. He is now talking. Why was he impeached? Nobody knows for sure.…

Really, María Corina?

María Corina Machado says she can bring down crime in six months. “We have the will, the knowledge, the resources, and the experience,” to launch an all-out assault on small-time drug trafficking to achieve this, she says. Really, María Corina? You really think you can train more cops, train more prosecutors, train more judges, train…

Tinderbox meets match

There’s a lot to digest in today’s appointment of La Comandante Fosforito (in English, Commander Firecracker) as Minister for the Penitentiary System. It’s no secret that Venezuela’s prison system is one big, hot mess. The buildings themselves are decaying and overcrowded. If you enter there as a petty criminal, chances are you’ll come out either…

The Pablo Principle

Your top general, one who has vowed that the Armed Forces would resist any non-chavista government, stands accused of drug smuggling. So if you’re Hugo Chávez, what do you do about it? Why … you name him Defense Minister, of course! You see, in Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela, the closer your possible links to criminal activities,…

Alek goes all-out on Santos

Fellow blogger Alek Boyd has an article over on The Commentator about Colombia-Venezuela relations. It’s a provocative read – the title alone should tell you that. I get where Alek is coming from, but ultimately, Santos has made a choice to favor the well-being of his country’s economy over a quixotic quest to bring Hugo…

The Dickensian Aspect

Rory Carroll’s written a superlative article on Venezuela’s gangland violence for The Guardian, together with this arresting, difficult to watch short film and this photo gallery by Sean Smith. What makes this corner of South America, once best known for oil and beauty queens, a Hobbesian lottery? The short answer is gangs. Young men with guns…

Extraditing his own (Updated)

So today the government is gloating because they captured the mistress of one of the head honchos of the notorious Los Zetas drug cartel. Her lover, a Colombian man named Luis Frank Tello Candelo, was captured in Caracas six months ago and promptly extradited to the United States. Only Tello apparently also has Venezuelan nationality.…