Independence Day was not a day of celebration in the small town of Timotes, deep inside the andean páramo.
While in Caracas a military parade (conmemorating a civilian event) was brodacasted on every radio and TV station, some inhabitants of this Merida State town stopped a possible robbery in a local store.
Hours earlier, Danny Briceño, a 32-year local man who was robbed and shot in the early hours of July 1st, died in a Hospital located in nearby Valera. People took the streets to protest the increase of crime in the area. Then the incident happened. The two suspected robbers were taken to the police station but that didn’t calm the protesters.
Suddenly, things spun out of control. Several vehicules were burnt. Riot police was called in. The electricity was cut out and there was some detentions by the authorities. The situation ended that same night. The following day, Mérida State Governor Marcos Díaz Orellana and the head of the police travelled to Timotes and have a dialogue.
Sadly for him, this particular problem wasn’t the only violence-related event in his state: The inmates of the local penitenciary are involved in a tense standoff in the last few days, with some casualties included. Meanwhile, the Domingo Salazar Dormitory Complex has become a center of crime and death inside the “City of Gentlemen”.
Violence is now endemic in every single part of Venezuela, no matter how remote. Even in the Island of Coche two years ago or more recently in the Guayana region, isolated rural hamlets are witnessing a surge of criminality and, sometimes, they respond by lashing out violently.
The new government security plan, A Toda Vida Venezuela, was made public more than three weeks ago, but it has not achieved any inmediate effects at all. The weekend prior to this incident, the number of victims in the country stood at 247. The capital Caracas only covered the 22% of that number. So far, it has not accomplished anything positive in the streets or in the public opinion. Too little, too late.