Archive for April 5th, 2006

April 5, 2006

When Jorge Aguirre took his camera this morning to cover for
the spontaneous protests that were taken place in Caracas
for the deaths of the Faddoul brothers, he probably never imagined that that afternoon
his camera would contain the last picture of his life: the picture of his

According to the journalists that were with him, Jorge
Aguirre, a photographer for El Mundo, was shot by someone that was dressed like
a policeman (see here)
when he was in the car that was taking him and his peers to report one of the

In fact, this morning, people took to the streets and closed
some major arteries in Caracas to
protest for the Faddoul assassination and for the state of insecurity that
Venezuelans are living day in and day out (see

In the evening, several vigils were announced all over Venezuela.

Meanwhile, Isaias Rodríguez said that they had a lot of
leads and that there is no connection whatsoever between the Sindoni case and
the Faddoul case. He criticized the sectors that are protesting to politicize the
case (see the MINCI news here). In other
words, protest in solidarity but do not protest if you find that the personal
security problem in Venezuela
is huge and you blame the government for the state of affairs.

The chief of the technical police that was in charge of
dealing with the kidnappers said that the investigation was not a failure but
what happened was a “desperation” from the kidnappers…

Rodriguez also said that the government had been in touch
with the kidnappers and from the accent they sounded Colombians. This was
repeated later by Minister
.This of course, is always convenient: blame the Colombians. I am not
saying that the assassins are not Colombians, they might very well be, but I
find it very particular that this would be the first tip that government
officials would give on this investigation.

You see, Venezuelan people have traditionally blamed the
Colombians for all their security problems. I do not know if that is true or
not, but it is accepted as a fact by many Venezuelans. So this is an easy way for any government
to get rid of its responsibility: find a
likely scapegoat and put the blame on him. The poverty, the corruption, the
state of the judicial and jail system, the drug dealing and the money
laundering, the government ineptitude and the state of hate that Chavez has
fostered over the years…nothing is the fault of the government. Just find the
appropriate Colombian and people will forget about the fact that they are
living in a state of siege led by an incompetent government.

In the meanwhile, other governmental entities have been busy
promoting their solution to the problem: more and different Police forces. As I
mentioned this morning, the mayor of Caracas,
Juan Barreto, even published today an
add in El Nacional to praise the neighboring police. Again, here is the add.

Barreto’s add says that with the People’s organization,
personal security advances. It says that in Caracas,
the fight against crime advances despite those that do not believe in the
People’s organizations. It is said that
with the Community Assemblies several security networks have been built: the
Security tables, the Neighbouring Police, the Motorized Police, the Tourist Police
and the Family Police to oversee the problems in Schools, Hospitals and inside
the Families.

More than 3600 neighbours have been trained and armed to be part of these new
neighbouring forces.

Today, Barreto, like
Rodriguez, also asked not to use the
pain and the death as a political flag (but wasn’t him the one that ordered the
add in today’s El Nacional?). He also
announced the Militarization of the current Metropolitan Police by creating the
“Mayor State of Citizen’s Protection” composed of 11 military members that will
be named by…the minister of the Defense and Chavez himself.

On the other hand, Barreto’s collegue, Freddy Bernal, asked
that the law for the creation of a National Police be passed as soon as possible.

So this ghost blogger, after having read and analyzed all
the facts, came to the conclusion that there are too many Policemen and too many Police forces in this story.

First the Sindoni case, next the Faddoul killing, then Jorge
Aguirre’s killing…in all there seems to be policemen involved. It is like the
Police forces have gone totally out of control or someone is really interested
in having Police officers portrayed as kidnappers and killers.

And, of course the solution of the Chavista government is,
as usual, instead of fixing what is already there, weaken what we have and
build new entities where they can control everything. What they are putting in
place is really scary: at your local level, a neighbouring police, a family police, a
tourist police….and on top of everything, a National Police directly controlled
by Chavez..and on the existing local Police forces, military men, also controlled
by Chavez.

I do not know about you, but I am REALLY feeling that there
are too many Police stories in this story

Jorge Arena

Worried and skeptical ghost blogger.

Shocking news

April 5, 2006

This is one of the saddest posts I have ever written

El Nacional reports that four bodies believed to be those of
the Faddoul brothers were found in the town of Yare
today. Two of the bodies had the T-shirt of the school attended by the brothers…in
later news it has been confirmed that it is indeed the
brother’s bodies.

The three Venezuelan-Canadian
ages 12, 13 and 17, were kidnapped with their driver when they were
taken to school on February 23. According to witnesses, the car with the kids
was stopped and then escorted by several
police officers in motorcycle
. The 13 year old was said to have a physical
disability. A ransom of 4.5 million
dollars was asked for the release of the kids. The Government of Canada had
contacted and pressured the Venezuelan
government about the case, but said that had received minimal information.

This crime reminds me of last week abduction and immediate
killing of Venezuelan-Italian businessman Filippo Sindoni, the successful
owner of a pasta empire, a TV station and a newspaper. In this case, the car carrying
Sindoni was also stopped by what looked
like Police officers

So Chacon just said that he hopes that this case is not
given a political bias. But, what is going on, Minister Chacon? How can you
explain those kidnappings? It looks like too many police officers involved in
those cases…and what have you been doing about the personal safety of
Venezuelans all these years? Why so many
kidnappings and killings?

I would also like to get Vice
President José Vicente Rangel
’s version for those cases .

This is not a film to “falsify the truth” Mr. Vice
President (1), these horrible kidnapping and killings are for real. This is the
true state of affairs in Venezuela,
where there is no personal safety and where the justice and police system seem
to be in place just to persecute the government political opponents, but not to
protect its citizens.

Jorge Arena

(1) Referring to JVR comments about the film “Secuestro Express”.
Update note.- Daniel also wrote about the story here
and showed a n image that appeared TODAY in El Nacional. A propaganda
by mayor Juan Barreto to justify the creation of a sort of armed
neighbouring seceurity forces, which in my view further pursues
the  militarization of the civil society. Was it bad timing or
Barreto was purposedly exploiting the death
of the Faddoul brothers to promote this new type of popular brigades?
Note that the bodies were found before 4 o’clock yesterday afternoon. Here is the link to the infamous add.