Thursday, September 28, 2006

Big problems, no solutions 

As has been pointed out on numerous occasions crime is a big problem in Venezuela. Crime rates are very high, even by Latin American standards, and have risen significantly during Chavez’s tenure. Although crime rates seem to have stabilized some (truthfully though, you reach a point where how much worse can it get) and local officials have been less than helpful in solving this problem clearly Chavez can definitely be said to have failed in the area of crime. And not only have things deteriorated in the past 8 years but if he has a plan to turn things around I sure haven’t heard it.

So one would think this could be an area where an opposition candidate might have something useful to offer. If the opposition could offer the country a credible crime fighting plan then possibly they could boost their political standing significantly as most Venezuelans are thoroughly fed up with outrageous levels of crime.

Manuel Rosales unveiled his crime fighting program yesterday so lets take a point by point look at what he has to offer:

1)He will have a gun buy back program offering $2,250 for every gun turned in to the government.

With this brilliant idea he can almost forget about his stupid oil money distribution plan called Mi Negra – people will be able to make a very nice living just by selling guns to the government. But not only will Venezuelans go crazy selling every gun they can find to the government but Colombians will probably start crossing the border in droves trying to sell their guns. In fact, Venezuelans might start flying to Miami just to buy guns at Walmart and then fly back to Venezuela and sell them at a huge profit. There are some incredible business opportunities here if you think about it. Its almost enough to make me wonder if Rosales owns gun manufacturing plants or something.

Hopefully, his other ideas will be better so lets move on.

2)He will establish a national police force and hire 150,000 additional police officers.

Ok, this is a little better. Venezuela certainly could use more police (honest ones, hopefully). And creating a unified police force to reduce bureaucracy and enable police to be shifted to where they are most needed is a good idea – it worked for New York. The one problem is this will be a tough sell to his supporters most of whom have been 100% opposed to a unified police force (people in rich areas don’t want to share their police force nor lose control over it so Rosales said he would allow “regional” police forces to still exist). So while he deserves credit for a good idea here one has to wonder if he could actually do it.

3)He will force all car manufacturers to put a GPS system in their cars that will allow the police to tract them if stolen.

This seems sort of silly. Is car theft really such a major problem when the vast majority of Venezuelans don’t own a car (although with the economy doing so well under Chavez that is starting to change)? I guess with this idea he is really giving away who his political base is. I also have to question whether the pro-business opposition would back a proposal imposing new mandates on private companies.

In any event, I’m sure the ever resourceful Venezuelan thieves would soon find a way to defeat this system and so this silly proposal likely wouldn’t accomplish anything.

4)He will “decree” crime free zones in areas throughout Venezuela such as around schools and parks and even entire neighborhoods.

Ok, here is where it becomes clear the guy doesn’t have a plan to fight crime at all. He thinks you can “decree” away crime?!?!?!? Well, hell why didn’t Chavez think of that!! Heck he could go on TV tonight, make the decree, and there you go, problem solved!

The shear idiocy of this is simply amazing.

For the sake of not wasting much more time on this let me list the rest of his ideas in no particular order:

5)Fire corrupt cops and replace and set up special schools to train un-corrupt cops

Again, I wonder why Chavez didn’t think of this! If only it where so easy.

6)Hiring more judges and more prosecutors

Ok, I suppose this could be useful but seeing as the Venezuelan judicial is notoriously corrupt he will probably just be creating more corruption

7)He will establish a council of Council of Defense and Security

Yup, when you have no idea what to do just set up a committee, that will solve everything. In fact maybe that is Venezuela’s problem overall, not enough committees!

8)He will set up a national crime call center (like the 911 system in the U.S.)

With so many ideas at least one of them was bound to be decent.

9)He criticized the current jail system as simply warehousing criminals and said he would create 24 educational centers for criminals

Yeah, that’s right, Venezuela is just too harsh with criminals ?!?!?

So there you go, clearly Rosales doesn’t have much of a plan to fight crime. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that no matter who wins the upcoming election when it comes to crime Venezuela is still screwed.


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