"New facilities must be built. Those old jails must be transformed. Thanks to God that this case was resolved," Chavez said. He said that the trade of guns and drugs in his prisons "It's like a cancer. We must fight against that." The Venezuelan strongman also commented about his recent treatment for cancer: "I know there are people who are happy because they believe I'm dying, that I'm going to die soon, but those evil wishes are part of that hatred ... That is erased like a tsunami of love by the blessings and prayers of a nation, of millions."
The thuggish collectivist regime of Chavez has brought his nation, once among the most affluent and educated in the Western Hemisphere, into grim privation and profound divisions. Riots in prison, like riots in Caracas, reflect the unpopularity of this Marxist strongman who has tried to make himself President for life in Venezuela. Men such as that need plenty of prison cells and lots of police.
What, one must ask, does Chavez think that more prison cells will do to help his nation? Will these prisons hold people we would consider ordinary criminals or will it be used to house political prisoners? Chavez swoons at the “accomplishments” of Fidel Castro, as Chavez works overtime to make Venezuela just as wonderful as Cuba under Castro, and Fidel has needed lots of prison cells. Large numbers in Cuban prisons are guilty of trying to escape his Marxist paradise or expressing unhappiness with decades of tight rationing.
Chavez also seems to have the same problem as President Obama. When Chavez took office in 1999, he promised a “humanization” program in his nation’s prisons. Now, a dozen years into his rule of Venezuela, he acts as if someone else is responsible for prison conditions in his nation. Crime has soared under his reign. The murder rate in Venezuela under Chavez is one of the highest in the world. The criminal justice process is just as awful. The backlog of cases has grown huge. Three-quarters of the alleged criminals in Venezuela who are behind bars have not even been charged with a crime.
Riots at the infamous El Rodeo prison have ended with 27 people dead and 70 injured, and the reasons for the riots were not hard to grasp. Chavez himself has described El Rodeo as “the gateway to the fifth circle of Hell.” Yet strongman Chavez has made things worse, not better, since he assumed almost dictatorial power in once happy Venezuela.
The ordinary people of his country are the principal victims of his failures. During the riots, Venezuelans such as Betsy Oviedo, whose 20-year-old son is in this “fifth circle of Hell,” are terrified: “They are human beings, not animals. We are all here waiting for the guards to tell us if our relatives are dead or alive.”
Men such as Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro, however, have no care for how ordinary people live or the problems they face. These Marxist bosses are interested in only one thing: power. They need a collapse of the rule of law, the seizure of private wealth into state bureaus, the incessant propagandizing of the people, and very large numbers of prison cells.
The crisis in unhappy Venezuela is not too few prison cells; it is too much Hugo Chavez.