Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Pena is out and crime is down 

For years now the Venezuelan opposition has beaten up Chavez based on crime increasing on his watch. And indeed crime did increase significantly during his tenure. However, it needs to be kept in mind that he is president of the country and therefore not directly responsible for the crime rate - local policiticians are. Just in the same way that George Bush is not responsible for what the crime rate is in Detroit.

One area in particular where crime escalated significantly was Caracas. And given that much of the Venezuelan opposition resides in Caracas a big deal was made of this. However, the Metropolitan Mayor of Caracas, who controls the major Caracas police force, the Policia Metropolitana was a person named Pena who was a staunch Chavez opponent. He was often accused of using the PM to attack Chavez supporters and be the storm troopers of opposition rallies rather than using them to control crime.

Last fall he was voted out in favor of a pro-Chavez mayor named Juan Barreto. And what happened with crime? Lo and behold, it is going down. So far in 2005 compared to the same period in 2004 overall crime is down 44.5%, murders are down more than 50% and vehicle theft is down 14%.

Its amazing how many good things start happening when the reactionary and obstructionist opposition people are out of the way!!


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