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

COLOMBIA / 1 FEB 2011

In an unprecedented display of non-partisanship, President Hugo Chavez’s government is teaming up with opposition political officials in the Venezuelan…

BRAZIL / 26 FEB 2013

A report by the United Nations states that the influence of South American criminal groups in West Africa may be…

POLICE REFORM / 10 FEB 2016

Given what Venezuela's opposition has proposed so far, there are certainly some significant disagreements with the Chavistas over how to best…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…