March 17, 2020
Keymer Ávila | @Keymer_Avila
Last year our work “ How do the police die in Venezuela?” was published. ”, which belongs to a line of research that has as its background the analysis of these cases in the Caracas Metropolitan Area (AMC), whose results we published in 2016. We consider it appropriate to present these results again , given the visibility that recent cases have had and more and more daily clashes between State security forces , such as those that occurred at the end of January of this year between subjects who were in a vehicle labeled with the initials of the CICPC and GNB officials , or those of a few days ago as well among officials of theCICPC and the FAES (PNB) , or the FANB and the CICPC . Events that can be considered as indicators of the fragmentation between the different armed forces of the country and the existence of private fiefdoms.
When analyzing the cases in which police officers are victims of homicide, in both investigations, both the one carried out in the AMC with cases from the year 2013, and the one carried out at the national level with cases from the year 2016, found consistencies. Among these coincidences is the number of perpetrators who are officials of the security forces, that is, officials who kill their own comrades in arms. In the case of the AMC, for the year 2016, they reached 27% of the identified perpetrators. This does not seem to be just an overrepresentation due to how newsworthy these events are, in the police files of the 2013 cases this percentage was even higher: 31%. This confirms the findings of Del Olmo (1990) who in the mid-1980s described how at least 20% of the officials killed in Caracas were victimized by other officials.
In the last investigation, 11 officials were concerned: seven (67%) from the CICPC who killed another CICPC official; one (9%) from the PNB who also attacked another comrade from his own corps, whom he later tried to incriminate, to later simulate a confrontation; and three (27%) municipal police officers (Polichacao) who attacked two members of the FANB and an escort from a public body.
This lethal conflict between officials of security agencies seems to be a little less outside of the AMC. When the cases registered throughout the country are analyzed, the percentage of these cases drops to 19% (25 cases). The distribution of these cases by police agency and by state is as follows:
If this happens between colleagues from even the same police force, what can the common citizen expect ?
Contrary to what the official discourse usually states, sometimes of a xenophobic nature , there were no foreigners or Colombian paramilitaries among the perpetrators of the police.
Another of the results observed in both investigations is that the majority of officials who were victims of homicide were not in the exercise of their functions (65%), nor were they in uniform (60%), nor were they identified as such (55%). It should be noted that these percentages are higher in the AMC . This confirms that in Venezuela officials die in situations other than providing police service. Within this framework, it is understandable that cases of legitimate police defense are exceptional (between 7% and 12% of the total cases).
More than half of the victims (51%) who were not in the exercise of their duties were armed, an irrelevant percentage managed to kill their perpetrator (2.5%). In several cases, carrying the weapon out of service was a fundamental element for their victimization.
Finally, it was also explored whether or not some of these murdered officials were involved in criminal activities. The percentage at the national level was 3.4%, about nine officials. It should be noted that almost half (four) of these were from the AMC. The institutional distribution was as follows: three were from the PNB, two from the GNB, two from municipal police officers (Sotillo –Anzoátegui- and Heres –Bolívar-), one state police officer (Aragua) and an escort from a public body (SAREN). . None of them was providing police service, nor was they in uniform or identified as an official at the time of the event.
Use this evidence for making political-institutional decisions that increase both the safety of officials and the general public. One of the fundamental aspects is the existence of adequate selection processes , permanent supervision, as well as real internal and external controls over the country’s armed forces, accountability, and making the corresponding legal and institutional responsibilities effective.
Publicado originalmente en Provea.