February 18, 2019
Keymer Ávila | @Keymer_Avila
As we have already commented in another article, necropolitics is the deadly expression of biopolitics and does not exclude disciplinary devices. Like one of its main instruments, the penal system, it is also selective, racist and classist . In the Venezuelan case, although its expansion is increasingly large, accelerated and violent, it is not distributed equally or with the same intensity in all sectors of society.
The trickle-down massacre that has been carried out against the poor for years and that has increased rapidly since 2015 served as a trial balloon to later apply this institutional violence to sectors with greater power to claim social rights. Tolerance and support for these lethal militarized police operations against marginal neighborhoods by the most included classes during 2015 and 2016 would turn against them in 2017 . Although in a different dose and intensity.
For the middle and upper layers of society who dare to dissent, the government has other less lethal modalities, but also violations of their civil rights, such as arbitrary arrests, torture, illegal searches, prosecutions under military jurisdiction , etc. An example is the one that occurred during the 2017 protests , the lethal unlimited institutional violence applied against the poor was adapted for the middle class, in a less deadly but equally terrorist way ; These are the cases of mass raidsof urbanizations in Caracas, Zulia, Miranda, Carabobo and Lara in whose surroundings protests against the government had been held. There he operated the bellicose rationale of military occupation, where the raid became the punishment itself . The security forces destroyed common property , elevators and homes. This is a clear manifestation of what Mbembe calls infrastructure warfare , where officials also carry out predatory and looting acts, taking as war booty objects belonging to the victims that have some value (electronics, jewelry, money, clothing, even food).
It is noteworthy that this institutional looting also applies to the poor, the difference is that the middle class, during these raids, does not have a total loss of their homes , nor fatal results (unless the death of your pets is considered ). They don’t kill them en masse as they do with the youth of the neighborhoods, but they do apply their dose of terror. And then that same logic of institutional abuse, of military operation, is adapted for opponents with greater power to demand social claims and media impact such as deputies or mayors. During 2017 alone, arrests for political reasons increased by 464.7% .
The government has various disciplinary and containment mechanisms of a massive nature, intended mainly for the most humble, the best known are the “homeland card”, with which you can have access to goods and services, and the “CLAP” boxes. (Local Supply and Production Committees) that bring carbohydrates and vegetable oil at subsidized prices, which in a context of shortages, scarcity, hyperinflation and currency devaluation, is of great value. Both are efficient tools for political, social and police control . In the recent protests that took place in popular sectors during the penultimate week of January, these devices showed their effectiveness for denunciation, extortion and the application of terror in the most humble communities, severely deteriorating the social fabric, as well as the minimum logic of solidarity and fraternity that must exist among the neighbors .
Finally, the government considers internal criticism, dissent or disaffiliation of its political cadres as serious acts of treason that are paid for with jail or exile. The most emblematic examples are the arrests of former Ministers of the Interior and Justice , of Defense , as well as the exile of the Attorney General .
In summary: for the poor who are annoying, dissenting, or who can simply be useful to send a message to the rest of the community, there is the maximum application of terror, which can be expressed in multiple ways, ranging from their physical elimination , up to disappearances or illegal and arbitrary detentions , followed by threats to their survivors so that they do not report the facts. For the more included sectors, with greater power to claim social rights, there are also various mechanisms for disciplining them, less deadly, but also very effective.
For more details on the implementation of these devices, you can see the complete investigation at this link: https://www.academia.edu/37864150/Estado_de_excepci%C3%B3n_y_necropol%C3%ADtica_como_marco_de_los_operativos_policiales_en_Venezuela
Publicado originalmente en Provea.