Pro-Chavez Gangs Tolerated, Rule Turf in Venezuela
When it comes to gangs vs terror groups, sometimes distinguishing characteristics just don’t exist. Here’s a piece on “La Piedrita” or “Little Rock” pro Chavez gang in Venezuela where just like Hamas they abuse children by arming them and posing them in masks for facebook photos.
Yep, That’s Baby Jesus holding an Assault rifle too
Here in the 23 de Enero slum, several gangs that pledge allegiance to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez are effectively the law, ruling over fiefdoms where police seldom venture. Chavez has occasionally criticized the groups, but the authorities have largely left them alone, stoking accusations by critics that the government is tolerating an armed wing that could prove dangerous in a critical election year in Venezuela.
One of the biggest gangs calls itself “La Piedrita,” or “Little Rock.” In its neighborhood turf, murals are painted with slogans such as “For the defense of the revolution, vote for Chavez. La Piedrita.” One of the murals depicts Jesus and the Virgin Mary holding assault rifles.
Nearby, young men wearing olive green caps guard the barred gate of an apartment building that the gang uses as a command center. They don’t welcome visitors, especially journalists.
“Please leave peacefully,” one of the young men said cordially to a team of AP journalists. “From the high-ranking commanders to the low-ranking ones, no one is going to make any statements because you’re going to distort the information.”
As he spoke, another man pointed a 9-mm pistol at an AP photographer, ordering him and a driver to get off their motorcycle, and then demanding they get back on it and leave.
Some of Chavez’s opponents say the government tolerates such groups to use them when convenient to intimidate adversaries, and that it’s hard to predict how they would react if opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles were to defeat Chavez in the October presidential vote. Also unknown is how the gangs would react if Chavez were to succumb to his nearly yearlong fight with cancer.
What’s clear is that the gangs wield serious firepower, toting assault rifles that only security forces are legally permitted to carry in Venezuela.
I’m not going to link to the sources but a google search for “La Piedrita” in google images will turn up the close ups of the kids with assault rifles and more. Ok I found a source that appears to be a spanish TV station report.