Celebrating #Socialism with Extrajudicialism: Angry Venezuelans Resort to Mob JusticePosted: September 2, 2015 | |
The Venezuelan Observatory of Violence estimates there were 40 cases in 2014 of lynchings, usually defined as extrajudicial killings by mobs.
VALENCIA/CARACAS (Reuters) – Alexandra Ulmer and Diego Oré report: When a man they believed to be a thief sneaked into their parking lot in the Venezuelan city of Valencia, angry residents caught him, stripped him and beat him with fists, sticks and stones.
“The police can arrest criminals, but then the courts free them. As long as there’s no response from the state, lynchings will increase.”
— Elisio Guzman, the head of state police in the state of Miranda
They tied him up and doused him in gasoline, according to witnesses, in one of what rights groups and media reports say are an increasing number of mob beatings and lynchings in a country ravaged by crime.
That August night, as locals say is common, three people had sneaked into Valencia’s Kerdell residential block. In past such break-ins, thieves have made off with car tires, batteries and radios.
“President Nicolas Maduro’s administration often blames violence on political rivals seeking to sabotage the socialist government. Authorities have also accused foreign media of exaggerating crime in Venezuela.”
But this time, one resident spotted the trespassers and alerted other neighbors, according to the witnesses.
“‘Kill him, give it to him,’ they shouted,” recounted Trina Castro, 82, in this once middle-class and peaceful area that is now plagued with garbage and graffiti. One reads: “Get ready, thief, here we burn you. Regards, Kerdell.”
“I tried to stop the mob but the level of violence endangered anyone who opposed them,” said another witness, asking to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.
The unconscious man, who was not torched, was evacuated and is now in the local hospital’s trauma ward, according to witnesses and Valencia’s police. The police said they had no further details and did not identify the man.
A source at the Interior Ministry, who asked to remain anonymous because the minister is the only person authorized to speak on the record, said it does not usually comment on cases under investigation. Venezuela’s state prosecutor’s office said it had not issued a statement on the incident.
The Venezuelan Observatory of Violence (OVV), a non-governmental organization, estimates there were 40 cases in 2014 of lynchings, usually defined as extrajudicial killings by mobs.
The Observatory does not yet have figures for 2015, but a Reuters tally of media reports shows that in the last month alone there have been over a dozen mob-led beatings or lynchings.
There is no official public data on mob justice in once industry-rich Valencia or across a country that is in economic crisis. President Nicolas Maduro‘s administration often blames violence on political rivals seeking to sabotage the socialist government. Authorities have also accused foreign media of exaggerating crime in Venezuela….(read more)
- Venezuelan leader closes Colombia border crossing for 3 days (dailystar.com.lb)
- Colombia Decries Increase in Deportations by Venezuelan Government (voanews.com)
- Venezuela keeps border with Colombia closed in trade, migration dispute (theage.com.au)
- Latin America’s Trump? Venezuelan leader rejects comparison | Reuters (firstpost.com)
- Maduro escalates conflict with Colombia as he looks to December’s election (en.mercopress.com)
- AP10ThingsToSee Venezuela Colombia (newsok.com)
- OAS will not hold meeting on Venezuela-Colombia border crisis (channelnewsasia.com)