Has Venezuela Deteriorated This Much?

September 23, 2012

The last few decades we have seen Venezuela deteriorate and values decay in many ways. From corruption to ethics, the news of one more “guiso” or scandal simply are assumed as an ordinary event. We seem to be by now immune to scandals and horrific news, from hellish jails to billion dollar losses, unacceptable events are barely given a glance and then people move on to the next item.

But I was completely shocked to read this item in the local press. In brief, two brothers, one of whom was a power line technician for Corpoelec, were murdered apparently because people were unhappy with the blackouts in the town of San Mateo, about an hour south of Caracas. According to the article, the technician was trying to fix a problem, when some neighbors approached him to complain about the delay in fixing the power problems and blaming him for the power failures. In the discussion, the neighbors pulled guns and shot the technician and his brother.

I don’t know if the story is true. I hope it is not. It shows a level of intolerance and impatience that is beyond belief and understanding. If I gasped when I heard that a rapist was killed by the neighbors a couple of years ago in Coche, western Caracas, this news item is simply horrific and again, if true, it represents a new hallmark in the deterioration of values in Venezuela. Life seems to have little value, for criminals or for ordinary citizens tired of bad electric service.

You would think this news would be prominent, politicians would condemn it, people discuss it. Instead it is an obscure news item in El Universal, unknown to most, ignored by many. Just another day in Venezuela…

47 Responses to “Has Venezuela Deteriorated This Much?”

  1. megaescualidus Says:

    Faltan 13 dias

  2. CharlesC Says:

    “His people are starving and destitute, yet he lives like a king. He brutalizes and kills the white farmers who once earned Zimbabwe the reputation of being the breadbasket of Africa (which it no longer is) and turns on his very own black people and murder them. He turns his youth into militants and unleash them on the population to rape, kidnap and kill others..”

    This is the man whom Chavez calls his brother. Chavez uses Mugabe’s playbook.

    For many years now, I have been quite irritated by Chavez threatening other Venezuelans and expropriating, insulting, violating all human rights of these
    individuals AND these rabid chavista idiots cheering him on when he does these things…

  3. syd Says:

    I urge all to read this interview by Spain’s El País of our (hopefully) new president. I’m so impressed by the strength and clarity of his thoughts, which didn’t manifest themselves as much, during his pre-candidature, even though there were hints that his vision was better organized and stronger than those of others.
    The interview is a real upper: http://globovision.com/articulo/capriles-las-hegemonias-en-el-poder-son-nefastas-yo-no-voy-a-imponer-otra.
    I think Capriles has the potential to be the finest statesman Venezuela has had since Rómulo Betancourt.

    • island canuck Says:

      Couldn’t agree more. We listen to many of his campaign speeches live on Globo each day from the various points around Venezuela & he’s a real statesman. He seems to have the knack to know what each audience wants whether they are fishermen in Nueva Esparta or transportistas in Aragua.

      He reaches a lot of people with his message of inclusion. You also have to see the emotion & faces of the people in the huge crowds to get a sense of the strength of his campaign.

      With just 13 days before the election be aware of the bombs that will be exploding from the Chavez camp. They have been holding all the good stuff to the end. Whether falsified or true they will come.

      • syd Says:

        Yes, IC. Inclusion is one of the critical reasons why the majority in the oppo voted for HCR. Inclusion is the correct vision, rather than the continuation of polarization from other pre-candidates without executive experience.

        As for your “…bombs…,” I think that playing a part in the coming chaos will be the electrical outages, to which the population has become accustomed, and which would provide a convenient excuse for poor transmission of voting data, and late-night looting …

    • Dr. Faustus Says:

      “(nihilism may not be too far off). Reminds me however of a quote by Timothy Leary: “they’ve got a brain dressed up with nowhere to go.””

      Yes, Beware! The kitchen sink is coming….

    • Andres F Says:

      Like the interview, although not sure about his response to the current currency valuation. He said “si subimos el tipo de cambio oficial, vamos a generar…” It sounds as if he likes the current currency exchange control system.

      • syd Says:

        yes, I paused there, wondering about that. Unfortunately, monetary exchange issues are not my strong suit.

      • Roy Says:

        He is saying that he will probably have to keep the currency controls in the short-term, to prevent a huge inflationary blow to the lower and middle-class, while assuring outsiders of his intention to make Venezuela a sound place to invest in for the long-term. This one is a real balancing act, and I think he pulled it off well.

      • Kepler Says:

        I don’t think anyone can ever announce there will be devaluation, ever. You just do it. The best could be to do it in a couple of steps and have measures to prepare for support for medicine and the like but not via preferential dollars but by paying in Bolívares or the like

      • Carolina Says:

        Funny to say, my mother yesterday told me that “there is a devaluation coming” almost in panic, and she was not referring to what Capriles would do, but what Chavez will before leaving office.

      • island canuck Says:

        In a way the devaluation is already happening.
        The black market rate has risen 20%+ in the last 2 weeks.

  4. firepigette Says:


    What an experience you went through in that ice storm! We have frequent ice storms here in NC and they are far worse than snow storms, believe me I know, but we never went longer than a week without power.What a scarey ordeal it must have been for you.

    And your point is well taken.Hardship has a different affect on different people depending on their attitudes.

  5. Mike Says:

    Not exactly on topic yet still touching on it from an other angle.

    Most of the people I know in Venezuela have taken the ostrich attitude, i.e. they simply tuned out and pretend that still everything is reasonably ok in the country. They have little or no interest to talk “Chavez” anymore and I often get the feeling we are better informed, e.g. thru your blog, than they are.

    They know of course that crime is “bad”, but are not interested to hear about any exact numbers or statistics, although all of them, without exception, have in one way or another been touched by it, be it a robbery at gun point or an express kidnapping. But the real bad stuff, involving death, happens to other people, not to them.

    When a bad incident does happen to a close friend or family, it shakes them up for a week or two and then they enter their pseudo cocoon again and quickly somehow force their brains to forget and move on. They all are convinced that Capriles Radonski will win, and the good old 70ies and early 80ies will almost instantly be back.

    On the other hand, the Friday and / or Saturday night bonches go on. Heavy drinking, a parilla and playing Dominoes, or celebrating some kind of an event, such as a birthday or whatever will always happen. Other priorities are the latest model Blackberries, which everybody HAS to have and is in constant use by all, making a meaningful conversation impossible, or cosmetic surgeries, mostly breast augmentation, which every woman up to a certain age MUST have.

    I am sure there is some scientific definition of this type of behavior (nihilism may not be too far off). Reminds me however of a quote by Timothy Leary: “they’ve got a brain dressed up with nowhere to go.”

    • Dr. Faustus Says:

      “(nihilism may not be too far off). Reminds me however of a quote by Timothy Leary: “they’ve got a brain dressed up with nowhere to go.””

      The 19th century term ‘nihilism’ has its origins in Russia. You see its destructive powers in the writings of Fyodor Dostoyevsky. (Crime and Punishment for instance) One sees the essence of 19th century Russian nihilism transformed into the 21st century with the actions of todays Venezuelan government. Traditional Venezuelan values, morals and beliefs are tossed out the window. Only ‘they’ have the real answers, only they.

    • Alex Says:

      Not everyone Mike. Lots of people are very affected by the situation, their daily routines having changed dramatically. My sister who is mom to a year-old girl is scared to hell of the streets. She continously ponders on the thought of her daughter turning orphan due to a criminal popping a bullet in her and her husband´s head. My middle-class mother-in-law preferred her 27 year old son who has never worked in his entire life to live abroad despite the fact it costs her a ton of money to maintain the kid, money she needs for her retirment.

      Paranoid or realistic? You name it.

    • CharlesC Says:

      Mike, you have the job-“cultural anthropologist”!
      Well-stated mon! You certainly covered most bases…

  6. m_astera Says:

    A true belief in religious doctrine can serve a useful purpose for those without a conscience or moral compass of their own. If a conscienceless person is convinced that they will burn in hell, or be reincarnated as a lower being, unless they follow certain rules, and that belief causes them to follow moral and societal rules they otherwise would not, then religion is playing a valuable role in society. .

    • Ira Says:

      Most mob guys are big believers.

    • m_astera Says:

      “Most mob guys are big believers”

      You mean like Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, Semyon Mogilevich?

      What I am talking about is people who are convinced by the religious threat of hell or regressive reincarnation to not do things they otherwise might.

      Get it now?

  7. Roger Says:

    Every other country in LatAm, including Cuba, battles crime and corruption while Chavez considers it a key element of his Neo-communist Revolution. When you look at what Brazil had to do to clean up a few slums or the drug war in Mexico its hard to imagine what it will take to get crime in Venezuela back to even 90’s levels.

  8. John O'Hea Says:

    Look for these deluded sycophants to chase ever more intently after symbolic targets and symbolic alleged offenses. Real actions opposed to them may be dealt with harshly, but will gain media exposure only when it is either so obvious that to deny they happened is an embarrassment OR if the Chavista thugs score a clear victory. They will spare no effort to win the war of words and face , while the national infrastructure goes to perdition, when a nearly 65% poverty level, almost total denial of real medical care and decent nutrition sparks their downfall. Chavez raised hopes high in the ranchos, and has vastly under-delivered while his cronies and family have plundered that national treasure AND they are allowing the Chinese to expand their footprint in the patria- gold mining, public slum construction, oil rig kitting…and painting false Chinese colors on Iranian ore ships…the pobrecitos of the land will be his downfall, whether now or later will depend on how willing the people are to show their courage to the NAtional Guard and the forces, who mostly won’t bite the nad that feeds them. My family’s relative, Daniel
    O’Leary weeps for the nation, and turns in the sarcophagus that Chavez installed in his new circus maximus.

    • CharlesC Says:

      “painting false Chinese colors on Iranian ore ships”-
      I missed this. Who knows about this?
      O/T How many Chinese workers are in Venezuela now?
      And, how many will be here in next few years-re. all those
      projects Chinese are going to build…?

  9. Ken Says:

    Bruno Sucedio en San Mateo o Aragua de Barcelona?

  10. firepigette Says:


    Sorry I can’t work the reply button so I’ll answer you here.

    It must be the same event because of the location and date.

    In the version my husband’s daughter gave the driver killed the man who I assumed was a pedestrian in reality she didn’t say exactly.I just now asked my husband ,and he said it was on Friday the 14 th because he talked to his daughter on Saturday.

    What is different is who killed whom, so one of the accounts must be mistaken but I feel pretty sure it must be the same account…both shocking nevertheless.

    • moses Says:

      Ok, must have been the same incident, different versions; the friend who told me this has a small business close by the building were it happened, very sad anyways.

  11. Bruni Says:

    I lived through the big ice storm of January 1998. We were 11 days without electricity, that here means no heating, no cooking no way to take a shower. The temperature outside dropped to -20C. there was no place to go, because half the province was in the same situation: no hotels, no restaurants, no family. At one point, the bridges to Montreal were not operative. We were afraid we could not get food or water. There were long lines at the gas station because everybody was afraid gas would be rationed. Lighters, candles, batteries could not be found anywhere. We kept warm going to the basement using the wood that was distributed by the city to be used in our very inefficient ornamental fireplace and putting styroform in the windows, so we lived in the dark for 11 days, in a temperature that was never higher than 8 Celsius.

    …and I was lucky. Many people had to wait 3 weeks to get the power back. in those three weeks, there was not a single incident in the whole province.

    When the american workers came to the rescue to reconnect us (Hydro-Québec had requested help all over the continent), they were greeted like heroes.

    There is no way the situation in Aragua is even comparable with what quebecers went through.

    Frustration is not enough to justify what happened in Aragua.

    • Andres F Says:

      Well if instead of 11 days you had to endure those conditions for a lot longer (many years) then frustration, dissatisfaction, discontent, etc- would possibly turn into these acts of violence.

    • Ira Says:

      Yeah, but Canadians are incredible that way. If that happened in the U.S., there would be chaos.

      Heck–here, they kill each other trying to get the Black Friday specials at Wal-Mart!

  12. m_astera Says:

    Chavismo has been all about entitlement, victimhood, and revenge. All that matters is Chavez and his cadre winning so they can redistribute the wealth, and he has made it clear by his words and actions that honor, morals, and ethics are not important. Those are the standards set from the top, and the only requirement for power or position has been loyalty to Chavez. Appeal to the worst in people, and reward them based solely on loyalty.

    • syd Says:

      “honor, morals, and ethics are not important”

      Chávez denigrating religion — in public, virgin statues desecrated, santeros roaming the street, urban art works toppled.

      In the 14-year wasteland, it’s no wonder most of his followers lost their Norte, their moral compass.

      So chalk another good point for Capriles: the country needs to get back to honor, morals, and ethics. Desperately. If the way to that includes religion, then so be it.

      While I don’t personally favor over-venerating religious icons, it is a deeply-trenched custom. Bringing some of that back may help channel good energy, rather than the evil that’s been hanging around for too many years.

      • Ira Says:

        If you don’t have a self-imposed moral compass independent of religion, Church isn’t going to give you one.

        I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts that this murderer (if a true story) was a regular church-goer.

        Hell, that’s the way it is and has always been the world over:

        Organized religion might make you feel better, but it sure doesn’t make you a more moral person.

        • syd Says:

          You’re absolutely right, Ira. But in the absence of strong and widespread educational standards, all that’s left are patches that easily invite bad weeds. One wonders if respect for religion and religious differences might make a difference. Of course, the bottom line is education, education, education — of the strong and widepread type, not the stuff of doctrine taught by pinheads.

  13. firepigette Says:

    I think it apt to say that most (or least many) people in Venezuela have paid the price in suffering.

    Now my hope is that together with appropriate efforts, and intelligent strategy,we will be accompanied by a large dose of mercy, and grace.

  14. NicaCat56 Says:

    This is a terrible thing to have happened. Deteriorating, indeed. Interestingly enough, I just came across this on Facebook: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rP2md81sym8&feature=player_embedded. It’s a song called “Busquemos Nuevos Caminos”, and it’s wonderfully positive and optimistic. There IS a way…

  15. deananash Says:

    Education civilizes most men. (I’m using “education” in the broadest possible sense.) Without education, man is merely the animal at the top of the food chain.

    Sounds like Mao’s China…

  16. firepigette Says:

    Horrific, and I know just what you mean about the deteriorating value of life.I can sense it from here, and I saw it before I left.Another recent story:

    Last week my husband was talking with his daughter who was in quite a nervous state.She related the following event that happened right down the street from her, on the Carretera de Baruta.

    Apparently a driver who was barreling down the road too fast( was probably drunk or on drugs) spun out of control and hit a pedestrian who was rather badly hurt, but still conscious.

    The pedestrian cried out in pain asking to be taken for medical treatment.The driver got out of the car, went up to the hurt man who was lying on the street, and shot him dead.No police was forthcoming.Rather than take him for treatment he preferred to shoot him.

    Later on the people in the ranchos behind the buildings descended, took out their guns and began to shoot them in the air to protest the murder.

    On the one hand, the brutal, cold blooded, and senseless murder was shocking beyond belief, but I was glad to hear that quite a few people were horrified and protested.

    This shows me not only the anger of the witnesses, but also their frustration and IMPOTENCE.They had no recourse but to just shoot in the air.

    What a crazy making situation people are living in Venezuela today.

    • moses Says:

      Good evening Firepigette,

      Did this happened on the road between Baruta and the Simon Bolivar University ?

      • firepigette Says:


        It happened on the road from Concresa to Baruta, right before getting to the bridge, which is close to the center of Baruta.To get to Simon Bolivar, you would have to cross the bridge and drive through the main commercial street of Baruta( only a couple of blocks long), come out on the other side, and then keep on going to Simon Bolivar…so it is the same road that comes into town on one side, and exits towards SB on the other side.

        Did you hear of it as well?

        • moses Says:

          Hi, I heard of a similar incident last Friday 14-Sep at night in the town of Baruta go to Google Earth in these coordinates: lat: 10.437027° Long: -66.876000°. going down from El Peñon to Baruta, very close to the bridge you mention.

          A Motocyclist was circulating without lights and hit a car that was going to Manzanares. There was a discussion, and the motorcyclist went to look for a gun and returned killing the conductor, this was told by a friend who lives near by. He was killed inside the car.

          It may have been the same incident ?

          • Ronaldo Says:

            A friend from Venezuela visited recently and shared this horror story. The home of a classmate of his was invaded by two armed men. Police were called and arrived in time to kill one of the men and wound the other. Then the police asked the classmate if he wanted the wounded man killed.

            I imagine that this would have made the policeman’s job easier as dead men don’t talk. However, it is an extreme violation of human rights. In the U.S. police would go to jail if they murdered a criminal who was incapacitated.

            Yes, the other responses here are credible. Venezuela has gone downhill.

  17. Raymond Says:

    Over 150,000 violent deaths under the regime will numb your senses and also elevate the people’s level of frustration. Unfortunately Venezuela has become the breeding ground for intolerance and much more, and “no aguanta una pedida” to jump into a civil war one way or another. On October 8th we should see Chavez’ commandos in street actions trying to intimidate a winning opposition.

  18. island canuck Says:

    Miguel, it was reported that it happened although it was just another news item in the never ending list of horror stories each day.

    I can understand, but not condone, the impatience & rabia of people who endure hours & hours without electricity due to the total incompetence of the governmental & Cortolec.

    Last week Cumana was without electricity for some 30 hours, 1 section of Porlamar was without for 16 hours & just a few minutes ago this appeared in Twitter:
    Reporte Confidencial ‏@RConfidencial
    Paciencia están pegando afiches @ivettealej: cinco horas sin luz aqui en La Asuncion , margarita, hasta cuando?

    People are losing their patience. This is also why I think we will see an avalanche of votes for Capriles in 2 weeks.

    Hay un camino!

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