HomeNewsBriefGrenade Attacks in Venezuela Signal Escalation of Conflict
BRIEF

Grenade Attacks in Venezuela Signal Escalation of Conflict

VENEZUELA / 1 OCT 2015 BY VENEZUELA INVESTIGATIVE UNIT EN

Authorities in Venezuela have attributed a spate of grenade attacks targeting police to a backlash against a nationwide security crackdown, an indication that criminals are prepared to match the escalating aggression shown by the country's security forces. 

Last weekend saw five separate incidents in which criminals attacked police with grenades, leaving several civilians and police wounded, reported Globovision.

Three of the attacks took place in metropolitan Caracas, with the worst leaving 14 people injured after criminals hurled two grenades at police as they were carrying out an operation in the city's eastern district of Las Mercedes, reported El Universal.

Elsewhere, in the state of Carabobo, three men attacked the site of Venezuela's investigative police force (CICPC) with explosives and gunfire, while in Guarico, two youths, who were later captured, threw a grenade at the regional police station.

Freddy Bernal, a leading figure in the ruling socialist party (PSUV) told local media the attacks were a response by criminals to the captures and killings of gang leaders during the ongoing security campaign "Operation Liberation of the People" (OLP).

"It is a reaction from organized crime to the effective and positive actions of the OLP," he said.

Police are investigating the possibility that at least one of the attacks was related to an operation targeting criminal boss Jose Antonio Tovar Colina, alias "El Picure," who was wounded in a clash with police days earlier, reported El Nacional.

InSight Crime Analysis

The OLP has been a belated response to the violence, insecurity and criminality that has been building in Venezuela for several years now. The campaign, which began in July, has seen heavily armed security forces deployed to seize back territory from criminal groups.

SEE ALSO: Venezuela News and Profiles

Operations have targeted many of the increasingly powerful and dangerous "mega-gangs" that run kidnapping, extortion, robbery and murder rings, and have seen security forces face off against some of the country's most notorious criminals, including El Picure, whose network stretches through several Venezuelan states. However, the campaign has been undermined by widespread accusations of human rights abuses.

There is no solid evidence yet that the grenade attacks were coordinated by large criminal networks, but there is little doubt they were intended as a message to the security forces that criminals currently being targeted are prepared to fight back. In a country where criminals proved themselves more than willing to assault and kill police long before the OLP went operational, the most recent attacks could prove a harbinger of yet more violence to come.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

BOLIVIA / 14 SEP 2017

In an annual designation of major drug trafficking and producing nations, US President Donald Trump broke with decades of…

ECUADOR / 20 JAN 2020

The criminal, economic and political dynamics behind illegal gold rushes this past year in Venezuela and Ecuador were very different.

KIDNAPPING / 30 SEP 2016

The number of recorded kidnappings in Venezuela has increased by 88 percent over the last year, according to new figures,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…

THE ORGANIZATION

Exploring Climate Change and Organized Crime

10 SEP 2021

In July, InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley moderated a panel for the Climate Reality Project's regional series of workshops for young climate activists in the Americas. The week-long event…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gearing Up a New Class of Interns

3 SEP 2021

InSight Crime is readying its newest class of interns – from universities in Europe and the Americas – to begin investigative work on a number of high-impact projects. For the…

THE ORGANIZATION

Tracking Environmental Crime in the Amazon

27 AUG 2021

Next week, InSight Crime launches an investigation – conducted with Brazilian think-tank the Igarapé Institute – on the sophisticated organized crime structures and armed groups that…