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News: Law and Justice

Venezuelan National Guard to Assist in Crime Prevention


Mérida, August 6th 2009 ( -- Venezuela will send 1,700 National Guard troops to assist in crime prevention and crime fighting in twenty-eight neighborhoods in the capital city of Caracas, President Hugo Chávez announced on Tuesday.

The plan, called "The People's Guard," has already been tested with success in four Caracas communities, and focuses primarily on crime prevention, Chavez said during a ceremony to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the creation of the National Guard.

"The People's Guard should be like a doctor in [the public health care program] Barrio Adentro; more than crime fighters, you should be deployed in the community and prevent crime," said the president. The Barrio Adentro program has made free primary and preventative health care available to nearly every Venezuelan.

The People's Guard brigades wear a different uniform than standard National Guard troops, and are meant to work with the local government, community councils, and social programs to contribute to national development as well as citizen security and national defense.

Chavez instructed the troops to bring "security based on the respect for life," and leave behind the "repressive security" that has characterized Venezuela's security forces.

According to the head of the National Guard, General Freddy Carrión, the People's Guard grew out of previous plans in which the National Guard was deployed to secure Caracas's public buses and other key public spaces.

The plan is now in its second phase, during which it will strive to significantly lower the city's crime rates. If the model is successful, 2,000 more troops will be deployed next year, and the model will gradually be extended throughout the nation, according to Carrión.

Crime rates, including homicides, have increased significantly in recent years, and in several polls more than 75% of Venezuelans ranked insecurity as the top issue affecting the country.

Published on Aug 6th 2009 at 7.49pm


What about the Community Councils?

This sounds like something better than nothing; but AFAIC one of the major failings of the bolivarian revolution has been its inability to transfer as much power as possible to the consejos -- and most especially including a plan to replace most [bourgeois] police functions with the power and authority of the consejos.

The point here is that there doesn't appear to be a sufficiently bold socialist grasp of how to actually deal with crime with this "bolivarian" government; and how much of that is simple incompetence rather than wilfull sabotage from the bureaucracy, is anyone's guess at this point. I wouldn't know, never having been to that country. However, I do know that the police are as much of the problem as the gangsters -- same in any bourgeois country, anywhere; Venezuela is certainly no different in that regard. For one thing: any serious plan to break the power of the hoodlums would take into account the difference of interests between the hardened professional criminals -- including CIA colombian imports, meant to stir things up -- versus the interests of the petty rank and file criminals from the barrios, who really only need education and solid jobs, fundamentally. The latter are who you go after with progressive socialist programs, generally; the former -- you just go after with all barrels blazing.

And so where are the plans to extend and deepen the power of the councils and communes? The armed and organized community patrols, with immediate democratic oversight? Here, we see more a typical social-democratic attempt to chew gum and walk at the same time. You can't please everyone, you know. And so why continue with bourgeois forms of government in an ostensibly "socialist" revolution..?