June 9, 2020
Keymer Ávila | @Keymer_Avila
For the past few weeks, due to the events in Macuto and Petare, I have been asked about the implications of intertwining the two events. With the information that has been made public so far given the background of the State security forces operations and similar experiences in neighboring countries, we must highlight the following:
Mixing operations of public security and crime control with operations of national security, sovereignty, or deterrence of armed groups incursions to the country is extremely dangerous for human rights. The first is civil, the second is military in nature. When the former is confused with the latter, citizens become military objectives. And if this is done within the context of a state of emergency like the one we have been experiencing for the last four years, then much worse.
Another worrisome element is the ostentation of the “thug” logic in politics, the “gangster culture” in politics. The differences between “the president” and a thug should be very clear. Again: there are important roles, scenarios, forms, communicative and symbolic logic. If the public debate takes place between the thug and the president, it could be perceived that both are on the same level.
It seems that the country is going through a crisis so great that all its leaders are broken, thus leaving the people to look for someone to come and rescue them, in a logic of opting for the lesser of evils.
Currently, it seems that the political element is absent even among the politicians themselves, and everything is narrowed to private economic interests. There is public evidence that both sides understand each other and make pacts with bandits and irregular groups. We are in a country where politicians operate like the mafia. If this happens to politicians, people must not place their hopes on criminal gangs.
What to do in the face of such a difficult panorama?
This has also been a recurring question. A serious intelligence job, with a lot of political-institutional will, in a double sense. Outwards, that is, towards the gang and its territory. Inward, considering the operators inside the criminal system. Of course, for this to happen there must be reliable and legitimate institutions and actors. In any case, these are not facts of mere force; it is about intelligence and real political-institutional will. They can “neutralize” some members or leaders of the gang, but as long as the business does not cease, nor the source of protection and institutional impunity, the gang members will be quickly replaced. The big problem is when the political class itself and the State as its instrument operate with the same violent and criminal logic of these groups, which sometimes do not differ from each other.
Finally, the idea of having criminal groups operating in support of the government against a revolt or attack from mercenaries is not only reprehensible on ethical grounds but also unsustainable over time. Mercenaries can always find a higher bidder.
Publicado originalmente en Hearts on Venezuela.