February 9, 2023

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“We are going to drop bombs”: Criminal gangs unleash chaos, terrorism and deaths in Caracas

“Shoot the buildings! We’re the underworld!”: Maria, cornered in the last room of her house, asks a group of heavily armed criminals to fire from the top of the mountain. A neighborhood Caracas.

Between the police and the new conflict Criminal gangs Dozens of people have been reported dead in the Venezuelan capital from Wednesday to Thursday, including passersby, robbers and a policeman, according to local media.

After several hours of terror, authorities on Thursday announced a “stop” of security, which closed several roads in the capital. They suggested that people be “sheltered”.

Uniformed with armored vehicles, they parked in the deserted streets of El Parazzo, a middle-class area in the west. Caracas, They are close to the operating quota 905 Violent gangs For months they opened fire against the forces of order.

Fighting continued in and other parts of the west until nightfall Caracas This is achieved by the violence instilled by these criminal organizations, which the government links to a conspiracy to “destabilize” the president. Nicola Maduro.

“It’s out of hand,” said a police officer who took refuge in El Parazzo, where the general command of the national order, the military organization responsible for public order, is under reserve with the AFP news agency.

The Criminals “They have modern weapons,” says another agent, who says the “green light” is waiting to “clean it all up at once”.

Witnesses believe that with grenades, tracer bullets and drones, gangs can have a broader view of the areas they control. “They can see everything from above,” says a neighbor in the area.

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There are no official statistics on violence in the country in general, and the death toll from these conflicts is very low. Venezuela The Observatory of Venezuela de Violence (OVV) recorded 12,000 deaths from violence in 2020, at a rate of 45.6 per 100,000 population, seven times higher than the world average.

“We are locked”

“They’re shooting at apartments,” Maria told the AFP, who asked to be called in for fear of retaliation from these armed gangs. Quota 905, A hill where you can see small walls built of sandbags, similar to those used in armed conflict.

In fact, it is common for Maria to see armed youths near her home. “I see them every day … they walk down the street with long arms every time,” he says, the roar of bullets penetrating his silence.

“It looks so ugly, it calms down for a while, suddenly ‘plumbing’ starts, strong explosions, here we are locked in the room, we can not see our relatives living upstairs,” he says trying to calm his little nephew.

Clearly, listen for signs that the “thugs” are shouting at each other – as the perpetrators are popularly known – pointing to the security agents who have been used to control them. They refer to men in uniform as “witches”.

“Witches, witches, I’m going to drop bombs, because [compañero], We throw bombs ‘low’, Maria is asked in the audio she was able to record with her cell phone.

As soon as the situation calms down, Maria and her family plan to take refuge in a relative’s house on the outskirts of Caracas, which prevents many people from leaving or returning to their homes. “Can’t move at this point,” he says.

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In June, Shooting At least three people died, including a nurse who was hit by a bullet while refueling.

Faced with these criminal attacks, which have intensified since December 2020, Interior and Justice Minister Carmen Melandes called the departure of 38 detainees, with more than 1,400 officers, “a sinless act.”

On Thursday the official announced that it was “establishing a new security and safety measure” for residents of five new sectors. Caracas I was thus affected Unleashed criminality. His office announced the reward for the information that led to the capture of three leaders of the main Caracas gang: 500,000 per capita, including the media “Koki.”

“I get scared every morning because you don’t know if you’re going to revive it,” says 44-year-old researcher Denny Rodriguez. Like hundreds of other people, it passes through the body of a person who was killed the day before and was not removed by authorities 24 hours later. (AFP)