55 thoughts on “Caraqueños only care about La Planta when it screws up their commute

  1. It’s not just the traffic jam, I live by Plaza Madariaga and the situation is just dantesque. GN have thrown tear gas into the family members while the floor is shaken by very very very big explosions that have been going since 8am. Also, we’re virtually kidnapped by the traffic jam and the obvious the fear of being killed by a “bala fria” coming from nowhere. Yes, maybe for the Caracas delestedeleste the only problem is the traffic jam, but here the situation got serious. We never thought our “neighbor” would become another Rodeo…

  2. “This video is private.
    Sorry about that.”

    I bet it’s scary, Nelson, but tell me: do you think the average guy in Caricuao cares about it more than the average guy in Prados del Este? Doubt it…

  3. Sorry, it’s fixed. O’right, I see your point, I don’t think the average Jose really cares about the retraso judicial, the hacinamiento and violation of human rights, most of the people just care of things that actually affect them directly… And in this case about 200k people are being severely affected by it. Of course, that’s nothing comparing to the total population of the city.

    This is another video, you can clearly hear the detonations around and see injured people being taken into a firemen post there http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xd-migyYynI

  4. And the coverage of Venezuelan TV today has been close to none. Globovision’s crew was detained and the other channels (state and private) have keep it so minimal is almost invisible.

    The communicational hegemony at work.

    • Matter of fact, TWO Globovision teams have been stripped of their material, questioned by the National Guard, taken to the PoliCaracas headquarters and released in HOURS.

      No wonder Chavez wants to leave the IAHRC.

      • This is the most disturbing thing I’ve read so far today. Globovision always gets harassed but detaining reporters for unclear reasons is openly dictatorial. Somehow I seriously doubt that the Globovision team was the ONLY news crew that supposedly ‘filmed too close’ to the police line. As a former reporter I can guarantee that all media works in gaggles. They were targeted by the GN for being from Globovision. And we’re still five months out from elections. I wouldn’t be surprised if they shut down Globovision well before October.

        • Another Globovision crew has harassed when the crisis begun and their truck was shot by uniformed men.

  5. I already posted this on Facebook but here it goes again:
    “I agree with everything you wrote, including the general indifference and maybe even glee re. jail conditions. This particular jail, though, is surrounded by apartment buildings and even some schools affected by tear gas and gunshots that killed a man watching TV in his bedroom. So it’s not just traffic that may bring about greater awareness of jail conditions. Unless the government solution works as it well may: transfer inmates to other, distant and already overcrowded jails, promise to build a housing complex at the current site and expect concern to blow over.”

    Media coverage has been flimsy but at least El Universal has been doing what it can — grizzly slide shows and news items that can reach a wider public: http://www.eluniversal.com/deportes/120517/mindeporte-ordeno-suspension-del-juego-cocodrilos-marinos
    Even so, I’m afraid that for many this is a nuisance that should disappear if we could only get those malandros out of sight and out of mind. Of course, there are still those annoying do-gooder prision watchdogs, like the Observatorio de Prisiones, that keep on bringing up the subject whenever they have a chance but Pedro Carreño will take care of them.

  6. La Planta is a metaphor of everything that’s seriously wrong with the Venezuelan state.

    My concern is that, sooner or later, the ‘mano dura’ militaristic approach to solving the lack of rule of law in Venezuela (and not only the lack of control of the prison sector) will win. I don’t know if it would ‘work’, but the social cost would be very high.

  7. Keep in mind that EVERY prison in Venezuela is like this.

    Guns, drugs, women on weekends all paid for.
    It’s a huge problem & a huge business.
    That’s the only reason why no one takes the initiative to stop it.

  8. What else can we do but fume at the (worsened) traffic jam? Protest? Organize? Complain? Pressure for the resignation of the minister of prisons?

    Excuse me while I laugh. But most laughable of all is the usual PSF and chavista rigmarole that now there’s a government that hears and takes the people’s (meaning the poor usually) will into account. Because I have yet to hear one single person of that people denying that prisons in Venezuela are Hell on Earth, otherwise expressing satisfaction that they are Hell.

  9. I never understood why they build a prison near of some community, or why a community was built near of the prison, is like building a nuclear plant, a landfill, a factory near a community, it’s wrong for so many reasons. This shouldn’t have happened. I support the decision to relocate the inmate to another prisons.

    • Very sensible comment. Now for the res tof you whiners let’s recall 27N 1992 – no not the 2nd coup against CAP but the massacre in the Reten de Catia. 200 dead. I guess this is the way to handle a prison riot thanks to orders from Antonio Ledezma who was Gobernador de Carcas at that time and controlled the PM and gave the orders to open fire on the inmates. Let’s not forget Angulo who was the Minister of the Interior and responible for the actions of the GN.

      Let’s see how many people were killed in La Planta as the pranes are about to surrender. At least this government negotiated its way out of this mess and did not massacre the prison population.

      This is what you should be complaining about and demanding justice to be passed on ledezma.

      Enjoy the video if that is the correct word: http://www.patriagrande.com.ve/temas/venezuela/en-video-masacre-en-el-reten-de-catia-y-las-implicaciones-de-antonio-ledezma/

      And Quico is right. The general population of places like Prados del Este don’t care about this problem……as long as they can get down to Playa Azul for the weekend and the highway is not closed.

      • It’s normally considered good form to wait until the bodies are no longer warm before you launch into this kind of thing, Artie…

      • “The general population of places like Prados del Este don’t care about this problem……as long as they can get down to Playa Azul for the weekend and the highway is not closed”… pardon me, but I sense some anger issue towards the people that wants to go in enjoy their life as they see fit.

        It’s not that I want to defend this Ledezma guy, but clearly the Bolivarian government should have fixed this problem by now, 14 years and counting. I mean we are talking about the people that wanted to step up and promised to change everything and to work for the well being of the people.

        So what gives? Ledezma is not in charge of that prison facility anymore, Hugo and their people are, those problems are theirs to solve, and clearly they are not handling the situation really well. If you have evidence of your claims then by all means file a suit against them.

        My case, I would resort to some form of non lethal force that can knock out the inmate without killing or affecting their lifes, like pepper gas and non lethal ammo. The government does not need to negotiate with them with criminals.

        • Everything bad was inherited from the IV republic. Everything good was brought about since 1999. Hell, there’s still people who defend Castro by arguing how much worse things were under Batista and what’s it been, 53 years?

      • Arturo, why do you think the government hasn’t brought any charges around this? (I’m not being sarcatic, I’m really interested in your opinion on this).

        PS. Don’t fuck with Playa Azul.

      • The fact that you acknowledge the existance of pranes after 13 years of chavismo just makes your comments more beautiful

      • The other sad aspect of the jails in Venezuela that more than 200 inmates have been killed in Venezuela’s jails for many years. What happen is that because only few inmates have died every week people perceptions are different that when something “big” happens at once as in the Reten de Catia, EL Rodeo or now La Planta.

      • Who’s talking about Ledezma ?

        Are you still in the 1998 election ?

        On a completely different topic … do you get Government Rate USD for patrolling the comments ?

        How much do you round up in a month ?

        I can set you up with a China based service to do it cheaply and at a grand scale. Do you think we can get USD assigned from the Chinese Loan Fund for this endeavor ?

        Translation is working fine from Mandarin … and since you either make everything up or attribute positions to people that they never have stated or supported, in particular the many variations of viva la cuarta that you have learned to repeat quite well, I am absolutely positive that we can make it work for your team.

        Organization willing to take any charitable donations for the revolutionary cause in Sirian or Russian bank. Sorry but USA and Zurich are no longer being accepted.

  10. I don’t think it’s lack of caring as much as it is a realistic awareness that trying to do something about it from a regular citizen’s position is futile, until something like this happens, then a citizen’s concerns are heard. How likely do you think it would be for a news media to report efforts by citizens to change things, on a front page, unless something “newsworthy” happens? So it’s only when something newsworthy happens that one hears citizens voice what they always feel about it: it’s inhuman.

    Consider how many people care about the poor? Is it that they don’t care, or that they don’t express caring until something newsworthy happens that makes poverty enter the spotlight? Although sometimes, some people give me the impression that they are angry at the poor for existing, but that’s a minority.

    • I take it back; plenty of people apparently don’t care, until it affects them or theirs, directly.

  11. It would be way much easier to feel empathy for the inmates if they were not shooting with assault rifles at the neighboring building. Yes, Venezuelan prisons are hell, but it’s not a boyscout club we are talking about. Yes, some of the guys in there are expecting for a trial. Who knows, perhaps some of them are innocent, but there are also hardened criminal in there shooting assault rifles and firearms without concern for the life of people.

    Venezuela is at war. 19.000 persons were killed last year. Should we feel pity for the guys responsible of this massacre? It’s pretty easy to talk about the human rights of felons when your life or that of your relatives is not in the line of fire.

    As Nelson Fernandez pointed out: it’s not the traffic jam people are concerned about, it’s the stray bullets that may as well kill them. Or much worse, the complete disregard of the government for OUR right to life.

    • Good point. And bad point.

      The things going on in prisons kept by the State should not be crimes and much less of violence, neither through action nor through omission. We owe it to ourselves as a society, to have self-respect and a moral high ground when we take violent criminals on and put them there.

      We owe it to ourselves as people who might one day find ourselves indicted for about anything, to determine who did what before punishment or rehabilitation or both, and to ensure that those be humane. No inmate should come to harm in a prison. Not the convicted ones, much less those not yet indicted or tried.

      Even if it were sadly inevitable to shoot back and kill, or even to execute someone for vicious crimes, we owe it to ourselves not to do more harm than strictly necessary.

  12. obviously, some of the inmates are behaving outrageously and deserve what they get. But as Francisco’s article points out, lots of inmates are hostages to the pranes, and want only to be given a fair trial. It is a mistake to lump the two groups into one, and then withold sympathy on that basis.

    • The inmates deserve some sympathy. However, what about some sympathy for the guys who got shot or killed and had nothing to do with the problem in the first place? Are they responsible for the incompetence of the government? Instead of complaining about how heartless the OTHER VICTIMS are, we should be putting the blame on the people responsible for the safety of the citizens AND the prisoners: the countless Interior and Justice Ministers, the Ombudsman the Attorney General, the Supreme Court, the National Guard that smuggle weapons and ammo into the jails, the recently annointed Ministress of prisons just to name a few.

      I get your point: human rights violation and the unfairness of the legal system and prisons in Venezuela is simply awful. However, to complain because nobody is shedding a tear about the situation is ridiculous. For instance, my wife and kids couldn’t go home yesterday because of the gunfight inside La Planta. To ask me to be concerned about the well-being of the inmates of La Planta that are putting at risk the well-being and probably the life of my family is too much to ask for.

      • I have serious doubts that the people responsible for the war-level homicide rates in venezuela are in prisons- for the most part- and for the others, what you have, if they survive, is a factory for more killers.

        One of the basic responsibilities of the state is to protect its citizens. That must include persons who are involuntarily in the custody of the state. I can appreciate the lack of sympathy for criminals. I have met some. I have the good fortune not to face these risks every day, but I do share them, and given that the vast majority of venezuelans I know are victims of violent crimes- some very serious- the “let them rot” point of view is understandable. And, paradoxically, it is part of the problem. It helps create the un-official “excuse” for…La Planta.

        Nobody should die of homicide in a prison. It may sound naive, but this is something that the world has acknowledged as a basic human right. What you have here is a symptom of a failed state and a gross moral failing- when a government will not provide the most rudimentary control and protection over people in its “custody”. And yes, they are putting others at risk and harm, because nobody gave a s– about running a proper prison, but decided instead to turn it into another “business” opportunity. Much like the criminal world outside.

        (I am glad the thumbs up/thumbs down is not available on this issue).

        • Lo grave es que la “solución” es vaciar La Planta para que los tiroteos se puedan dar lejos de la Autopista Francisco Fajardo.

        • Actually, some of the prisoner are running criminals business from the jail. A few weeks ago the police arrested a woman who was the liason of a gang leader of La Planta under charges of racketering.
          And I insist one again: the neighbors are not responsible for the problems in La Planta and El Rodeo and the other prisons. They are VICTIMS, and they deserve some consideration. Let’s put the blame on the government and the people that did nothing to prevent the situation.

      • If it were your family in La Planta? Would it be to much to ask for concern about their well-being, then? And what if they had already been in there longer than the longest possible sentence for their crime and yet they haven’t even started trial?

        • I’m quite sure that I’m more concerned about their families than they’re about mine. I’m not asking to bring fire and brimstone on the guys inside the prison. That’ll do no good to anyone. What I am asking for is to put the blame on the persons that are actually responsible for the situation? Is that too much to ask for?
          Besides, do you find it reasonable that inmates shoot at will at the neighboring buildings in retaliation because the government is trying to take control of the prison as it should be? I find it completely crazy that nobody knows how many prisoners were there in La Planta before the riot. Nobody. And what about the guns? Have you ever heard about any investigation about the source of the assault rifle and grenades that the inmates are using?

          • As I’m sure that, if you were on the inside, then people outside would be more concerned about your family than you would be about theirs… Your living hell may even lead you to shoot out to get attention.

            I agree that those responsible are those who put them there, but that does not excuse an uncaring stance from everyone else. It’s about human rights being trampled, and those outside being passive onlookers. I’ve met cubans who hope Venezuela and other nations sink to worse levels than Cuba because they think that all nations that allowed and continue to allow what goes on in Cuba deserve to live what they’ve been forced to live while others passively look on.

            It’s too muchto ask those who’ve suffered and are suffering such violations to be understanding of the traffic jams of the passers-by.

            • Did I ever really complained about traffic jams? No. I’m complaining about dangerous criminals putting at risk the life of my family. Mi wife and the kids just got back home to find out that a stray bullets shattered the windows in our appartment. Luckily, they spent the night at my mother and nobody was injured.
              Yes, the prisoners and their relatives can protest and ask for the protection of their human rights. I am not against that. However, they’re not entitled to put at risk the life of others to do that. It’s pretty simple: the rights of the others end where my rights begin. Otherwise, it’s anarchy.
              And this protest is not exclusively about their right to due process or human rights. It’s also about some guys refusing to give up their privileges (weapons, drugs, prostitutes, etc.) that they have in La Planta. Do not omit that.

              • Sorry, your original post was in reply to one asking consider that some of the prisoners were victims within the prison as well as victims of the system that put them there, not validly placed in the same bucket with the others. Your reply was: “To ask me to be concerned about the well-being of the inmates of La Planta that are putting at risk the well-being and probably the life of my family is too much to ask for.” I took that to mean “nay”.

                As to giving up weapons and such, just think, you’re in a hellhole where having a gun is your way to stay alive and untortured; then you’re told that you’ll be stripped of the gun and sent to another hellhole where all are armed except you. Should your family be concerned, or tell you to stop the whining and go to the new jail, gunless?

              • Once again: It’s pretty simple: the rights of the others end where my rights begin. Otherwise, it’s anarchy. If you are defending the right of the prisoners to keep and bear arms and use that weapons against innocent civilians, you are all in for anarchy. So, what’s next, should the neighbors of La Planta also get weapons and start shooting at the relatives in retaliation for the violence of the prisoners? Come on!
                The state is responsible for the safety of the citizens AND prisoners, so why blame the other victims of the situation. You and Mr. Toro and everyone should be mad at the government and the actual responsible of the problem, not the innocent bystanders that have nothing to do with the sorry state of our prisons or the violence inside the jails.

              • A. Barreda, you’re not addressing the issue that I’m presenting, and taking it a way that I don’t mean it, so I’ll just let this be with a nutshell: it’s about consideration.

              • Totally agree. This is not a conversatio, but two monologues. I feel empathy for the guys rotting in our prisons, but that consideration ends when the guys are shooting and putting my family at risk. Should I consider the trials of the guy shooting a rifle that may kill my kids or my wife? And it’s not a hypothetical question. Like I stated somewhere else in this section, a stray bullet crashed a window at home.
                Now that the crisis in La Planta is over and the life of my family is not at risk, I can stop worrying about that and show some sympathy for the prisoners without being a hypocrite.

            • Just listen to this roundtable about La Planta hosted by Cesar Miguel Rondon. The guys refuse to leave La Planta because the ringleaders don’t want to give away the money, drugs and weapons they have in there.

    • Nope, they don’t “deserve what they get”… They might get what’s coming to them (in a thoroughly screwed system) for being in the wrong place at the wrong moment, maybe culpably, maybe not, through mere chance. It’s like war, in a prison.

      If the State (or a private citizen) justifiably kills a person who threatens the lives of others it’s self-defense or protection of others. If the State kills an unarmed and defenseless person it’s an execution. I would rather accept the State to engage in judicially sanctioned executions following a process of law (which I don’t accept readily) than letting people rot and die like animals in jail.

      It’s plain inexcusable criminal negligence on the part of those who run the prisons. And yes, we might care, even if for our own safety. It’s twins, with what happens outside of prisons in Venezuela.

  13. Toro, it’s easy for you to feel high and mighty criticizing how the Planta situation only affects us when it screws up our commute, while sitting in your ivory tower in Canada instead of living the day-to day life in Caracas. Your criticism is misguided, you should address it to the powers that be, not to the average Caraqueño Joe.

    • Ah the geographical retort – last refuge of the lazy. It’s nice that we see it so seldom around here…

    • By your logic, Quico should care even less, since he does not even live in the same country, yet time after time he posts about the issue.

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