HomeNewsBriefVenezuela Govt Proposes Arming Civilians to Combat Crime
BRIEF

Venezuela Govt Proposes Arming Civilians to Combat Crime

COLECTIVOS / 19 JAN 2017 BY VENEZUELA INVESTIGATIVE UNIT EN

Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro announced a new package of anti-crime measures that includes giving arms to civilians and charging supervised groups with gathering intelligence, raising concerns over possible human rights abuses and arbitrary actions on behalf of the state.

“Only the people can save the people… I call on everyone, with all the strength of Venezuela, with all our abilities, to rise up,” the president said in a radio and television broadcast, Panorama reported.

As part of the “Carobobo Campaign 2021,” the new set of measures looks to initiate simultaneous actions from the military, police and civilian populations. Two of the most controversial measures are the arming of civilians and the strengthening of an intelligence system within neighborhoods known as SP3, which is controlled by the government.

SP3 aims to identify criminal groups and paramilitaries with the help of civilian informers, known as “cooperating patriots.” Operation Humanist Liberation of the People (Operación Liberación Humanista del Pueblo – OLHP) — previously known as the Operation Liberation of the People (Operación para la Liberación del Pueblo – OLP) — is considering a massive deployment of government forces to seek out and neutralize criminals while remaining in the communities after the operation has ended.

Maduro’s announcement was preceded by military exercises in which the president announced plans to deliver arms to communities in order to defend Venezuela‘s sovereignty, El Nuevo Herald reported.

InSight Crime Analysis

The call for Venezuelan citizens to rise up in hopes of eradicating crime in the country is nothing new. The government already has so-called “colectivos” — armed left-wing civilian groups which have been allowed, and sometimes encouraged, to take over urban communities in west Caracas.

Investigations by InSight Crime have found that these groups, who claim to be protecting communities, actually exert violence, threaten, extort and intimidate the population. Given this precedent, it’s possible that the president’s new plan will strengthen these groups and promote the creation of new ones, possibly increasing violence.

SEE ALSO: Venezuela News and Profiles

Reported human rights abuses and concerns from security experts were not enough to discredit the OLP. The only proposed solution from the government was a simple name change that added the word “humanist.” For now, no change has been proposed to specifically reduce crime.

In the past, Chavismo executed similar plans without having any lasting results. In their end-of-year report, the Venezuelan Violence Observatory (Observatorio Venezolano de Violencia – OVV) estimated that there were 28,479 “violent deaths” in 2016, accounting for a violent death rate of 91.8 per 100,000, an increase from the 82 violent deaths per 100,000 reported in 2015.

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 9 MAR 2011

(Originally published 3 March, reprinted with permission from Adam Isacson and Just the Facts.) The State…

COLOMBIA / 21 FEB 2014

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro has blamed civil unrest in the border region on Colombian paramilitaries and drug traffickers, a claim…

ARGENTINA / 15 NOV 2016

Argentine authorities claim that an average of 40 drug flights departing from Bolivia cross the border every month, an estimate…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…