Suddenly in Venezuela, the criminal gangs, which have always done whatever they want and which exist, in large part, thanks to the regime, are a problem. In a surreal campaign, the Venezuelan regime deployed dozens of soldiers and police to take over—acknowledging that it had lost control—the most dangerous prison in Venezuela.
Tocorón, two hours west of Caracas, is the most well-known and feared detention center in the country. The bloody Aragua Train recognized as the largest criminal gang in Venezuela, lives there as if it were some kind of military barracks or operations center.
Sitting on his throne, at the head of the mafia, is Niño Guerrero, the king of Tocorón and leader of the Aragua Train. He lived there, surrounded by prostitutes, drugs and a lot of alcohol. He did whatever he wanted. Tocorón was not a prison, it was his Versailles. Pablo Escobar's cathedral, but without partners and Hail Marys.
And then the dictatorship entered, with guns blazing. And they took over the prison, without much resistance. El Niño Guerrero, by the way, was not even present. He had already fled and there are press reports that he is not even in Venezuela, but in Peru. The operation was reported as if it were an impressive police feat. The regime, at the top of its lungs and from all its propaganda devices, shouted it: we are pacifying the country.
They don't have to say it, but it is clear: this is the Bukele formula, which has become so popular throughout the continent. Even at the antipodes, it seems that Maduro wants a little of what has made the president of El Salvador the most popular head of state on the entire continent. Harsh images of subjugated prisoners, lined up, as if they were cattle, are the perfect shortcut to demonstrate the toughness of the State against organized crime. The tyrant of Venezuela did the same.
But it doesn't fool anyone. No one can sell that idea overnight, so Chavismo decided to fight crime. They can't, because we all remember what Chavismo has done against crime: absolutely the opposite of fighting it.
If the Aragua Train exists, it is because of Chavismo. If in the overtaking of Tocorón they found a swimming pool, a zoo and an arsenal worthy of an army, it was because of Chavismo. Because Chavismo, back in the early 2000s, began to arm its people. The collectives were born, which were the paramilitary groups of Hugo Chávez and the weapons began to roll, without any shame, throughout the country. Arsenal as if in days the gringos were going to invade. But it was an arsenal that was available against the civilian population. Rockets, anti-aircraft missiles, grenades and all the rifles you can imagine.
When there is socialism, crime rules. It has always been like this. Venezuelan prisons, under the leadership of Chávez and Maduro, were never prisons. They have been centers of recreation, vice and perversion. Towns without law, without a sheriff, and with a lot of drugs.