Writing in Aljazeera (which has surprisingly good articles in English btw) Dorothy Kronick, a former Fulbright scholar in Venezuela, reports on the violent culture in Venezuela.
Before joining the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the conductor Gustavo Dudamel often led Venezuela's celebrated youth symphony in performances at the Central University of Venezuela. The university's concert hall is a rare enclave of architectural loveliness in Caracas: Alexander Calder designed a tremendous sculpture for its ceiling, and murals decorate the surrounding plaza. That prized plaza was damaged last Friday, when armed assailants attacked the university in an outburst of the peculiar violence that has come to define the Venezuelan capital.
The gunmen lit fires just outside the concert hall, attempted to force open its doors and cloaked the entryway in tear gas. Their intent, it appears, was to interrupt the tallying of votes from that day's student-body government elections; the group destroyed machines used for counting and prevented students from delivering ballot boxes to the election committee. The academic departments in which votes were lost scheduled new elections for Wednesday, only to be stopped again with a second volley of tear gas.
Gunmen tried to disrupt a student election. The stakes here weren't about important things like, say, corporate ownership, prices, jobs, or free speech for newspaper reporters. Though the gun men were trying to help pro-Chavez candidates. It illustrates the extent to which the state is complicit in encouraging Venezuela's violent culture.
Read the full article. Venezuela's homicide rate is 3 times Mexico's without Mexico's drug war. Mexico's got an excuse. Hugely wealthy and violent narcotics traffickers have thoroughly corrupted Mexico's political system and intimidated and corrupted their police. What's with Venezuela?
The Mexican Navy has just taken over the 600,000 person municipality of Veracruz-Boca del Rio with 900 police dismissed as too corrupt. A few dozen bodies at a time are turning up dead due to an on-going battle between the Gulf and Zeta cartels. Yet Venezuela has 3 times the murder rate. Mexican gangs are even operating expanding extortion rings in the United States, preying on auto sellers, auto repair shops, and other businesses that employ illegal aliens. Within Mexico cartels have built parallel national radio systems to coordinate defenses against the government. The government's sovereign control of Mexico is being challenged.
The fact that Venezuela is far worse with crime than Mexico shows just how far a culture can decay. We should seek to reverse even smaller amount of such decay within our own borders. It should be US policy to work very hard to keep Mexico's problems out of the US and to eliminate gangs, extortion, and corruption. Federal and local law enforcement should make a big push to deport illegal aliens and lock up and cut off the gangs from Mexico. Furthermore, federal policy should be to come down very hard on organized crime elements operating in the US from all over the world (e.g. Russia). We are rich pickings for organized ruthless gangs an an era of easy air transportation and cheap and rapid telecommunications. We need to make the United States a much harder target for the world's criminals.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2011 December 27 08:03 PM Civilizations Decay|