The so-called “Operation Gran Cacique Guaicaipuro”, the name that the Chavista regime has given to the intervention of several prisons in the country, on this instance effected in the ‘Oriente Penitentiary Center’ (CPO) also known as ‘La Pica’ prison in eastern Venezuela, and began yesterday at 4:00 in the morning this Friday, Nov. 3rd.
There have been rumors among family members and neighbors of the prison since last week. Rumors that this detention center would soon be taken over by the authorities. However, since Monday rumors grew, so it was presumed that the move could take place on Wednesday, Thursday or Saturday.
Given the rumors, relatives began to station themselves in the vicinity of the CPO since early Wednesday morning, the normal visiting day in this prison. Still, military personnel remained on the outskirts of the compound.
It was around noon this Wednesday when a group of women who had been allowed to enter the prison to supposedly bring food to their relatives. However, according to complaints from family members, everything was a fabrication, because after the body search was performed on the visitors, they were driven outside immediately.
Inmates ask that they not be transferred
The next Thursday, the day outside the judicial confinement center passed without much news. The relatives, the vast majority of them women, were waiting for information from the authorities to know where those “deprived of liberty” (euphemism for inmate) would be taken.
At the same time, they asked that they not be transferred to other distant prisons, as they stated that it would be very difficult to visit them, since they do not have the resources to travel to other states.
The surprise for many came this Friday when the operation began in the prison facility and the great distress for all the relatives was not knowing where they would take the inmates. Among the comments of the people who were there, it was heard that they could be taken to the Barinas State or Trujillo State prison on the other side of the country.
The passage to the CPO area was closed at a distance several of kilometers away, specifically in an area known as the Y (a road crossing), and thus people had to walk a long distance, some carrying bags of food, in the hope of bringing food to their loved ones. Likewise, a large display of tanks, vehicles from different security forces, buses and helicopters could be seen flying over the area.
“We have lived in permanent anxiety since Monday, praying for our relatives, praying to God for them not be transferred, because if coming here is difficult for us to get a ticket, imagine if they are transferred to other states like Barinas or El Dorado. We ask that they (the government) give us information, we ask that they leave them (the inmates) in Maturín, that is the plea we make,” said Yasmeli Mayz, mother of an inmate.
For her part, Roxibel Meneses, who has remained in the vicinity of the prison since Wednesday, indicated that on Friday morning detonations were heard, presumably one was from a grenade and others were shots. However, she was able to communicate with her relative and he told her that he was fine. The shots and explosion allegedly occurred in another area of the prison.
Around 11:00 in the morning the first buses with prisoners began to leave and then it was when moving scenes of mothers crying were seen, because they did not know where they were taking their children. In several videos recorded by the lapatilla.com team, mothers and wives were observed demanding the destinations of their relatives and shouting against Maduro’s regime.
According to the Venezuelan Prisons Observatory (OVP), La Pica is the fourth prison that has been taken over militarily by Maduro’s regime, and just like the other interventions, it was not a surprise, it was negotiated and delivered directly by the “pranes” (Gang leaders).
This prison complex was divided and led by two “pranes”: Pedro González Mata, alias “Pedro El Rapidito”, leader of the “Monagas Train” (Chavez’s railroad union devolved in crime gang); and Jefferson Clavijo alias “Jefferson”, who commanded the ‘Crazy Chariot of Christ’, which occupied a area (wing, ward) where the largest number of inmates lived.
According to the OVP, “both prans charged a weekly fee of $5 in cash to each inmate,” that is, $20 per month per prisoner, and had to be paid every Monday. In case of non-compliance, they were expelled to the church area and lost the right to move around the prison. If they violated this rule, they could be executed by the pranes’ gunmen.
On his X account (formerly Twitter), journalist Eligio Rojas stated that both prans were captured by the officials who carried out the prison intervention.