HomeNewsBriefVenezuela Mega-Gang Leader Seen Partying, Symbol of State Abandonment
BRIEF

Venezuela Mega-Gang Leader Seen Partying, Symbol of State Abandonment

MEGABANDAS / 5 NOV 2018 BY VENEZUELA INVESTIGATIVE UNIT EN

A short cellphone video of a "mega-gang" leader in Venezuela shows him relaxed, partying and seemingly thumbing his nose at the government.

The video is of Carlos Luis Revette, reportedly one of the country's most wanted criminals and the leader of a mega-gang with a stranglehold on a hillside district outside Caracas, known as Cota 905. As a youth with the camera turns, Revette appears, smiling and with what looks to be a pistol in his waistband.

The video has proliferated on social media in large part because Revette, also known as “El Coki,” is accused of a number of crimes, including robbery, homicide, and drug trafficking, according to news website El Cooperante. He has continued to evade an arrest warrant first issued in 2013, even though the Venezuelan National Police raided the Cota 905 district in 2015, in an effort to catch gang leaders, such as Revette.

SEE ALSO: Venezuela News and Profiles

The first such raid  — dubbed Operation Liberate and Protect the People (Operación Liberación y Protección al Pueblo — OLP) — ended with 15 people dead, according to news website Efecto Cocuyo. While police officials later claimed that all those killed had been gang members, only six had criminal records, said the article.

As for Revette, he found refuge in a prison just hours before the operation.

InSight Crime Analysis

The video itself is short and means little in and of itself, but it is a symbol of what is seen as an abdication of the state in areas like Cota 905.

To be sure, the mega-gangs’ grip on poor urban districts has largely been facilitated by one of President Nicolás Maduro’s failed policies: the creation of so-called “peace zones.” These are areas where security forces maintain only a sporadic presence.

And, as Operation Liberate and Protect the People illustrated, when authorities do enter, there is ample time for well-placed criminals to evade capture.

The idea behind the peace zones, first implemented in September 2013, was that a heavy police and military presence was exacerbating conflict in certain areas. By keeping forces out except by court order, the logic went, violence would drop and economic growth could be encouraged by the state.

      SEE ALSO: Venezuela: A Mafia State?

But the reality is that peace zones gave the gangs “free reign over territories,” such as Cota 905, Luis Izquiel, a Venezuelan lawyer and criminologist, told InSight Crime. Those same territories that were declared peace zones soon turned into bases for kidnappings, car thefts, drug sales, and killings, he added.

These zones (which no longer exist according to government officials) allowed the gangs to grow in numbers and amass better weaponry, such as assault rifles and grenades. That kind of heavy firepower means the police are now at risk of being outgunned.

In sum, Izquiel believes the Venezuela state and police have neither the will nor the ability to dislodge these mega-gangs.

“It’s a complete abandonment [of the state],” Izquiel said.

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.

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

VENEZUELA / 20 MAY 2016

Venezuela kidnappers are now demanding ransom payments in US dollars rather than the local currency, according to a new report,…

COLOMBIA / 7 MAY 2015

Authorities in Venezuela have discovered two clandestine graves near the border with Colombia, raising the possibility that violence between warring…

CARTEL DE LOS SOLES / 25 FEB 2019

The former head of Venezuela’s military intelligence service has revealed some key details that confirm longstanding links between several officials…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

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…