While the regime’s security forces advance to positions that belonged to El Koki’s gang, the neighbors share what living under this kind of violence is like.
Jul 9, 2021
Access to roads and businesses is closed, strangers are walking in groups, without the certainty of reaching their jobs or their homes, long queues of vehicles, power cuts in El Paraíso that later spread to sectors like El Cementerio and Cota 905… Once again, western Caracas is seized: more than 800 security officers are looking for Carlos Luis Revete, a.k.a El Koki, in every house of the Cota 905.
In La Vega, they say the clashes began on Wednesday, June 7th, because the police wounded a thug who was a friend of El Koki in El Valle and left him to die in the hospital. They say it was because the criminals fired at El Helicoide and wounded two officials and the police responded. They also say that the shooting is happening near Madariaga Square, El Cementerio and Victoria Avenue, as that the confrontation also reached the La Rinconada Hippodrome area.
They say that the main difference with the previous episode of violence in the area is that the response doesn’t seem to be a show from the government. The police managed to enter the Cota 905 (currently a Peace Zone, where policemen or other security forces aren’t allowed) and destroyed “La Gallera”, the gang’s party spot. They say that “the government seems to be taking the situation seriously now, because they were the ones who gave the criminals a lot of power and now wish to take it away.”
Everyone agrees on the effects the gang has had on their lives, and that “the nonsense of the police taking luxury SUVs from those who passed through El Cementerio or subduing people who walked by the area is over because that didn’t solve anything.”
The violence, anguish, and uncertainty are now greater than they used to, and “people who protest have to leave the bullshit behind, they can’t have the neighborhood in mind and continue defending the gang because it helps them. Everything must be done to live in peace, but we’ll see what happens tomorrow. “
We collected several testimonies of people’s experiences on Thursday, to paint a picture of how the conflict feels from the field. All the names of the interviewees were changed in order to protect their identities.
María, from Redoma de La India
“The detonations began on Wednesday around 3:00 p.m. Twenty-four hours of detonations have passed since, non-stop. First, we heard the shots very close to La India. Then further away. Today, Thursday, shots were fired very close again in the morning at 6:00 a.m. In the afternoon, they were heard further away. Now I’m working from home while the situation calms down because it was very difficult for me to be able to come home and cross the neighborhood.”