Reprinted with permission of Fergus Hodgson of PanAmPost
Venezuelan Police Officer Speaks Out: It’s Worse Than You Think
Tupamaros: “Like a Pressure Cooker; Once They Blow, Nobody Will Be Able to Control Them.”
For security reasons, we will not reveal this active Venezuelan police officer’s name nor his official position within CICPC (Venezuela’s equivalent to the FBI in the United States). NB: strong language.
How would you describe the current state of crime in the country?
Out of control. We as police can’t compete against organized gangs and their weapons. When I go out on the streets with my colleagues we do the best we can with our 9mm guns, but when you’re up against gangsters carrying machine guns, FAL rifles, and uzis . . . that shit ain’t easy, ya know?
It bothers me when people say “the police don’t do anything, because they’re gangsters too.” I’d love to see them getting in a gangster shootout for a miserable salary . . . cocksuckers!
What do you think about the murder figures published by NGOs and how little the government has talked about them?
Bullshit. Those numbers aren’t even close to reality, bro. Do you think all the bodies are taken to the morgue? Sometimes the CICPC shoots down gangsters that no one cries for or even asks about, so they stay there in the neighborhood — or if they were too evil they throw the corpses into “special” places.
And when there’s a shootout between rival gangs, which happens all the time, the deaths are not even taken into account. Nobody takes the corpses anywhere, the gangsters themselves throw away the bodies, burn them — whatever they do. And if someone makes a complaint, they become “disappeared” forever.
Are the police heavily involved in organized crime?
Unfortunately, some members of the police have been involved in kidnapping and extortion. It’s not all of them, but there are cases. It’s very fucking hard to work in this corrupt environment; those above you in the government are always obstructing your work. We have the training and could have the ability to control the rats that roam the streets. What’s missing is the will of the powers that be.
How do criminal gangs get weapons?
From everywhere; it’s a serious thing because they’re no longer only getting handguns and shotguns. These fucks walk around with weapons of war — shit that not even the army gets to buy here. Many of the weapons we seize are then stolen by policemen or get lost from weapons warehouses.
Another group of large guns and grenades comes from the military, it ends up in the gangsters hands via corruption.
But what worries us right now is that we have seized weapons with their serial numbers intact. When we run the serial numbers in the system, the weapons appear as if they never entered the country in the first place. That points to just one hypothesis, which is that those weapons were smuggled into the country, something that hadn’t been seen before with common criminals, and that’s definitely some serious shit.
If that’s true, how is it possible that no one does anything about it?
Drug trafficking. I mean, the whole drug clusterfuck is at another level here. Look, it’s pretty simple, shitloads of drugs get moved around here, mainly for Europe. We have tons of Nigerian traffickers in jail; they come from African drug cartels to make a living here. With the drug trafficking comes the whole package: weapons, deaths, disappearances, and all the atrocities they do in Mexico. We’re a large group within the police fighting back and functioning as a bulwark, but it’ll get to a point where that won’t be enough.
Could you tell us about the cleaning squads?
Without much detail, it’s what it sounds like. A cleaning squad comes into play for mainly two reasons: higher orders, or when a particular situation between a gang and the police becomes impossible to handle. You know, when a gang of kidnappers is fucking around too much or they mess with police officers — shit like that. All members are located and exterminated; that’s what’s done, plain and simple. The undesirables disappear and nothing happened. Everybody’s happy because they were a nightmare for the neighborhood they lived in, and who would cry for these thugs anyhow?
And if you’re going to ask why we don’t do that with all of them, well, because after all you’re going against the law, and nobody wants to get caught into that kind of fuckup. And you never know whom a particular gangster works for, which can get your ass in serious trouble.
Which security measures would you recommend for the public?
Look, the same as has been said lately, don’t go around saying how much you have; you never know who’s listening or who’s a gossip. We’ve had some crazy cases. There was this lady who was kidnapped in the El Cafetal neighborhood. When we were tracing the connection to the kidnappers, we found that a girl who worked as a cashier at a supermarket where the lady used to shop heard her talk about a large stack of dollars that she bought in cash; so the girl told her gangster cousin about it; they set up an intel operation on the lady and eventually screwed her.
Also, get away from people doing hard drugs, they’re magnets for gangsters.
Could you elaborate on that last point?
Most criminal gangs are drug dealers, especially pot and coke. It pisses me off when I see all those kids whining when they get kidnapped, but they all smoke pot or snort coke. We’ve caught kids from La Lagunita and El Country Club [both upscale Caracas neighborhoods] loaded with powder and pot.
They fail to see that when they buy that shit, they finance the same thugs who kill their families and the kidnap them. It’s sad, but that’s why I say that addicts are a plague.
And on a final note, what do you think about the situation with the Tupamaros?
Not much to say that hasn’t been said about that. They’re armed groups with a particular political ideology. You know, they’re like a pressure cooker, and once they blow nobody will be able to control them. They’re pissed off over the death of Juancho Montoya on February 12.
Since Thursday, there have been talks going on with them, but I don’t know about what. I hope it’s to calm them down, because I tell you, these people have combat training; they ain’t no common criminals.
What have you heard within the police forces about the deaths of February 12?
Look, there’s a lot of talk about it, and I hate rumors, but what’s for sure is that Montoya was a headache for the chiefs. He’d been involved in too many fuckups; the government even accused him of being a terrorist a few years ago. He did time for planting a bomb in Fedecamaras. He’s one of those rebels that the government knew it couldn’t control, but he had too much support from organized groups, and many people saw him as a leader.
That day was a mess, but if he was there, he was probably called to participate within shock groups. What’s striking is that with so many videos of that day going around, not even one caught the scene when he was killed.
Regarding the student, it’s a pity. I’m not going to say anything before the research reaches a conclusion, but I think the videos speak for themselves.
What I know is that one death due to a shot in the head could be a coincidence. But two in the same area? No fucking way. One of the two seems planned, I leave you that one there . . . reach your own conclusions.
Translated by Alan Furth.