Following the dismissal of the Minister of the Interior, Justice and Peace and that of the leadership of the CICPC, Maduro announced a “purge” of the nation’s police forces.
Maduro conceded that police officers were involved in the murder of Robert Serra. According to the BBC, Maduro said:
Let’s dig deep to build the kind of police force that our fatherland really deserves. We need a revolution of the police force here in Venezuela, and I will carry it out without delay, without excuses.
Maduro explained that “small groups of officers” had been bribed by “Colombian paramilitary mafias” in order to carry out the murder, and that “Venezuelan extreme right-wing groups” were ultimately responsible for ordering the killing.
Through the purge, Maduro vows to “fix everything that is wrong” with the police in Venezuela.
“Tupamaro” Leader Calls for Government Action
The leader of the Tupamaro movement in Venezuela, Jose Pinto, has called on the national government to investigate the murder of Yeison Carrilo, a member of his colectivo organization. Yeison was also the president of the Federacion Nacional de Centros Universitarios of the Universidad Nacional Experimental Romulo Gallegos (UNERG). He was murdered on October 23 with a single shot to the head during an altrecation at the university.
Pinto called the murder part of a campaign of “systemic persecution against revolutionary youth”, and said:
We have no doubt that this act [is part of] the murder campaign against revolutionary organizations unleashed by opposition sectors. In this specific case, we know that responsbility falls upon sectors of the ultra-right wing who live inside the UNERG.
While he did not provide any hard evidence, Pinto said that Carrilo’s murder is part of Lorent Saleh’s alleged planned terror campaign, and he called for a “thorough investigation” to be conducted into the murder.
Capriles: Government “Only Interested” in Power
Miranda state Governor Henrique Capriles made several comments today regarding the PSUV. He accused Maduro and his party of being “only interested in power”, and provided as evidence the 45% pay raise military officers received yesterday.
Here, they raise the salaries of military officers and judges, but our people and workers pelando [roughly, “are poor”].
He also highlighted the disturbing trend towards creating a bigger officer corps, saying:
In our country, we’ve never had as many generals as we have today, and we’ve never had so much violence… what we have is a group of enchufados [roughly, “sycophants” who are only interested in staying in power.
Capriles also decried the apparent use of state-owned airplanes for non-official reasons, giving as an example the case of Jeanette Anza, who was arrested aboard a private PDVSA jet in Sao Paolo, Brazil last week.
Capriles said that taking state-own planes “for a little ride” is an example of corruption.
Venezuelan police services suffer from a number of problems which make them less-than-effective in their role of preventing and responding to crime. Venezuelan police officers are killed with disturbing frequency; they are poorly trained, poorly equipped, and poorly motivated.
The last time the government attempted to seriously re-build police services was in 2009, when Chavez created the Policia Nacional Bolivariana. The NBP was supposed to be the PSUV’s answer to the policing and insecurity crisis. It was hailed at the time as “the answer”, the one thing that was sure to “fix everything”.
Of course, the creation and deployment of the NBP fixed little. This is due to the fact that fixing “everything that is wrong” with Venezuelan police services is an almost unfathomably difficult task. Doing so will probably require a multi-generational commitment to uprooting decades of corruption. Creating a new committee, or a new ministry, or a even a new police force won’t fix the underlying problems with the police services. Anyone who thinks so is guilty of magical thinking, and this includes Maduro.
Below, a video a large group of Guardia del Pueblo officers discharging their weapons in the air in what can only be described as a depressingly senseless display of unprofessionalism:
The Guardia del Pueblo is a police body created by Chavez in 2011 tasked with undertaking preventative policing activities, including patrolling neighbourhoods. The Guardia del Pueblo operates within the umbrella of the National Guard.
Finally, a picture tweeted by student leader Ana Karina Garcia earlier today. It reads, “Bars will no stop justice!”: