Venezuelan federal authorities are always on the lookout for paramilitaries. And no wonder: Ever since Chavecito rose to power (and Madurito succeeded him), the old ruling classes have had this ongoing problem with actual, functioning, democratically-elected government. They don’t want to fade into irrelevance; they always have to do something to keep their profile up. But since they are terminally discredited, with barely any support even among their upper-class cohort, well…they have a little problem on their well-manicured hands. And to cover up that, they have resorted to creating other problems, big ones, which they can then blame on the Bolivarian government. They hire paramilitaries from Colombia, import them to whichever part of Venezuela they’re looking to create chaos in, and turn them loose on the unsuspecting locals.
There’s only one problem with that little scheme. Namely, that the paramilitaries keep getting busted by those aforementioned, ever-alert federales:
Following operations of dissuasion, prevention and intelligence, the criminal band “Gamma”, which operated in the municipality of Sucre in the state of Miranda, was dismantled, according to the minister of Interior Relations, Justice and Peace, Gustavo González López.
In a press conference at the headquarters of the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN), in Caracas, González explained that the criminal organization was dedicated to creating fake identity cards, kidnapping, extortion, robbery, as well as assassinations, drug and weapons trafficking, and intimidating the locals.
In a broadcast on VTV, González stated that the members of the criminal band are now in custody. Among them: Minimo de Jesús González Prieto (head of the gang); Alexis Prieto (lieutenant); Roberto Prieto (chief of logistics), García Granado (chief tough guy), and the assassin. Four other persons are still being sought.
“We are after the financiers, with elements who operated in the same industrial sector of La Dolorita, in Sucre, Miranda, and we are sure that with our criminal and strategic intelligence work, we will continue to escalate until we find all the elements who are linked to the political use of criminal gangs,” said González López.
He added, as well, that other criminal gangs have been identified which operate in Sucre municipality, and reiterated the government’s intention to continue combating paramilitarism.
“Paramilitarism is basically a reaction, a structure of an economic elite, a financial elite, a political elite that seeks to maintain, in a crude and persistent manner, its power by whatever means or form,” said the minister.
González pointed out that the assassinations of political leaders, such as the revolutionary deputy Robert Serra, in October of last year, are not due to common crime, but paramilitarism.
“This perverse manner of attempting to confuse [the people] with the notion that we are in the presence of a small problem of common crime keeps mutating. I want to bring to your attention that this is not a problem of common crime, it is the use of common crime by paramilitaries in criminal gangs with processes,” added the minister.
And here’s some video (in Spanish), in which the minister — a major-general of the Venezuelan armed forces — talks in detail about the criminal gang, its organizational structure and membership:
As you can see, these are no common criminals, although they may be using common crime as a front. They used fake IDs claiming them to be workers or unionists, but they aren’t. These are highly organized criminals whose behavioral patterns bear an unmistakable stamp of paramilitarism. Their hideout even had a tunnel leading from the bathroom to a wooded area, designed for quick escapes. They’ve also been recruiting local minors — teens ranging in age from 13 to 17 — and possibly have ties to the infamous, Colombian-led group that assassinated Robert Serra, whose members are all currently in custody and awaiting trial. Their crimes serve a blatant set of political interests: namely, those of the discredited old ruling class, who are currently glorified in the media as “the opposition”. And that’s what makes them political criminals.