Starving Socialist Dictatorship Now Caught Between Socialist and Criminal Gangs

Don't worry, Venezuela is an example of democratic socialism. Like Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. So you should absolutely expect this to happen here.

When we last checked in on Venezuela, its Socialist regime rigged elections and the judiciary, while the people alternately protested and starved. After attempts at a democratic overthrow of the Maduro regime failed, sizable percentages of the country moved to Florida. 

The Trump administration exposed the Maduro regime as a narcoterrorist cartel, inflation continued to soar (not a problem here), and crime soared so high that it's now competing for control of the country.

- "Leave the area! Get the kids out!" screamed gang members walking through western Caracas' El Cementerio barrio with megaphones the morning of Thursday, July 8. The warning told residents in Venezuela's capital shooting would not soon stop.

By then barrio residents had already been sheltering in place for more than half a day, whole families prone on the floor to avoid unrelenting gunfire. But for the next 48 hours, El Cementerio and five nearby neighborhoods were paralyzed by an unprecedented display of firepower by gangs, known by neighbors as "the boys."

The pitched gun battles between police and a collection of gangs at least 300-strong based in a cluster of barrios in western Caracas are another sign President Nicolas Maduro is losing control over parts of Venezuela, which is suffering from a deep economic crisis and a protracted breakdown of the rule of law.

Correction. There's no actual law.

Maduro's military consists of thugs who are being paid in food and Cuban money. The gangs have got hold of food and actual money.

This was, predictably, the result of the Chicago way. 

Security experts say violent police operations that Maduro launched in 2015, dubbed "Operation Liberation of the People," helped consolidate groups of rival gangs initially operating out of the Cota 905 neighborhood and nearby areas by giving them a common enemy. Rights groups said it led to hundreds of extrajudicial killings. Violence persisted.

In 2017 the gangs struck a deal with the government to operate without police in certain sectors in exchange for lowering violence. Streets became safer, residents said. But the gangs became even more powerful through increased drug trafficking and targeting children as recruits, according to residents, who say the gangs are now armed with grenades and assault rifles.

Maduro, running the country's biggest socialist gang, tried to take out the criminal gangs and failed, cut a deal with them only to see it melt down. When the socialist government decided to function like gangs, the gangs started to borrow ideas from the socialists

Gang members curried favor by handing out food and hosting parties with slaughtered pigs and live music amid the country's devastating economic crisis, residents say.

The gangs have set up their own system and can provide for the people much better than the bankrupt socialist state.

Teenagers outfitted with short-wave radios earn about $100 a week - more than 30 times the minimum wage - to man checkpoints on most corners of the neighborhood, said Jose Antonio Rengifo, a 34-year-old teacher. In areas overlooked by state institutions, neighbors approach the checkpoints to seek resolution for disputes from domestic abuse to robbery.

Socialists criminalize capitalism. Criminals become the new capitalists. Now the criminals are functioning like a state.

Security experts believe the gangs' expansion in the past six months into neighborhoods near El Cementerio and the Cota 905 in the city's southwest is a strategy to control the highway linking Caracas to the west - which would allow them to control shipments into the capital.

Soon in Chicago.

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