Socialist Paradise: Venezuela’s Streets Now Ruled By Violent Kidnapping Gangs
Nicolás Maduro socialist nation is a vacuum of crime and skyrocketing hyperinflation
The failing socialist state of Venezuela has descended into a crime-ridden hell hole where murderous gangs rule the streets making money from kidnapping, according to reports.
Nicolás Maduro has been in control of the socialist country for five years until his citizens rose up in their tens of thousands and ousted the "illegitimate" leader.
But somehow, Maduro clung to power, and his socialist rule continued amid skyrocketing hyperinflation pushing even the most hardened criminals out of the country.
But what is left is a vacuum of an ultra-violent gang called the 'Crazy Boys,' who have no regard for human life.
Caracas street gangster El Negrito, 24, sleeps with a gun under his pillow and brags about how he lost track of his murder count.
El Negrito claims that Venezuela’s hyperinflation hindered his bloody track record, and admits that firing his gun has become an expensive luxury.
"If you empty your clip, you're shooting off $15," El Negrito told The Associated Press under anonymity.
"You lose your pistol, or the police take it, and you're throwing away $800."
The gangster says the group carries out roughly five kidnappings a year, down considerably from years past.
He leads for-hire hoodlums called the Crazy Boys, a band that forms part of an intricate criminal network in Petare, one of Latin America's largest and most feared slums.
Kidnappings are big business.
One kidnapping victim is held hostage for up to 48 hours while loved ones scramble to gather as much cash as they can find.
El Negrito said the victim's car costs determine the ransom, with deals turning deadly if demands aren't met.
According to another Crazy Boy called Dog, said, "A pistol used to cost one of these bills,'' crumpling up a ten bolivar ($1) note that can no longer be used to buy a single cigarette.
"Now, this is nothing."
The crime is so bad that Maduro's socialist administration ceased releasing data charting crimes a long time ago.
The economic collapse of the socialist nation has now plunged the once-wealthy oil nation into complete lawlessness.
Drug trafficking and illegal gold mining have also become the default activities for organized crime in the country.
"Venezuela remains one of the most violent countries in the world," said Dorothy Kronick, who teaches political science at the University of Pennsylvania and has carried out extensive research in Caracas' slums.
"It has wartime levels of violence - but no war."
In April, national blackouts left millions of citizens without clean water in Venezuela after the country's power grid has collapsed.
Millions of people, residents of Caracas and other major cities whose water systems are tied to the power grid, were left entirely without clean water.
Earlier this month U.S.-recognized President Juan Guaido appealed for his supporters to take to the streets of Venezuela after troops loyal to s Maduro's regime plowed into a crowd of protesters with an armored vehicle.
Maduro, whom the opposition leader is trying to unseat, is refusing to stand down, despite the uprising and mass protests.
In a television address, Maduro attempted to downplay Mr. Guaidó's supporters, describing them as a "small group" whose plan had failed.