People get busted from time to time stealing copper from Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA (see here, for example). And there was an oil spill in Lake Maracaibo last year when someone allegedly tried to haul away a 21-inch steel pipe that turned out to be an active underwater pipeline (I expressed doubts about that version of events at the time). Now, in the last two days, there are a couple new stories along the same lines, both from Venezuela Interior and Justice Ministry (my translation). Honestly, I feel a bit lazy just posting Venezuela stuff all the time, because it’s so easy. There’s always a strange story there. But what the heck, here are the articles:
Subject detained while trying to steal drilling rig from PDVSA company
May 16 — A team made up of Bolivarian National Intelligence Service agents from Anzoátegui state apprehended Reinaldo José Ponce Brito, alias “El quemao,” who along with two other subjects tried to steal a drilling rig belonging to the Venezuelan national oil company (PDVSA).
According to information from the security agency, the operation took place Sunday, when the agends got a call denouncing the acts. Upon arriving at the location, the agents entered a wooded area in the Bare oil field, in the town of San Tomé, and after a chase, managed to detain Ponce Brito, who at the time of his detention was carrying shears and various tools used to dismantle the rig.
After investigations, it became known that the suspect was a member of the “El Cabezón” gang, which is dedicated to the robbery and fencing of oil industry equipment….
And story 2:
“Pdvsero” Gang Dismantled
Tuesday May 17
The Bolivarian National Intelligence Service dismantled the “Pdvseros” gang Monday with an action in El Tigre, Anzoátegui state.
This gang operated by dismantling machinery that was property of the industry financed by Pdvsa, to be sold on the black market to local producers.
The information that did in the delinquents was provided by a citizen connected with the Protection and Loss Control area of PDVSA-Agricultural, who said he himself had interviewed a citizen named Juan Sanchez to the buy equipment lifted off said company.
A team from Sebin went to the El Manjar del Jeque bakery, where it had a meeting to discuss equipment sales. In the operation, Frank Jose Forero Campos and Juan Vicente Sanchez Garcia were detained.
Following an inspection of Forero Campos’s home, in the La Mata village of Pedro Maria Freites municipality, among the items seized were threshers, motor chains, plates, plough discs, suction pumps, brake systems, axle points, pinions, GPS, and other agricultural machinery parts, belonging to the agreement between Argentina and Venezuela with PDVSA-Agricultural.
I’m reading a wonderful book about some African nations: Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles. I know most Venezuelans earn way more than most sub-Saharan Africans. I know we have lots of shopping centres. I know many more people – in principle – know how to read and write. Still…I see so many similarities. I don’t know much of the rest of Latin America but for occassional newspaper articles, some films, the tales from friends and visits to Colombia and Brazil, but this is…
I am reading now a chapter on Sierra Leone. A hospital being dismantled, parts taken away, an old guy melting iron from the hospital to produce machetes, knives…going back to Stone Age. I know we haven’t had the horrible civil wars Africans had had, not in over a century.
“(…) to be sold on the black market to local producers.”
Is there really such a thing?
You’ll notice that the thefts were of agricultural goods bought by PDVSA. So, yes. Discers and such.
Reminds me of a story my mom told me, when I was little and we lived near the shores of Lake Maracaibo. (There was no beachfront; the shoreline was lined with oil-covered rocks and there was a fence between the rocks and people’s back yards. The morning after a very bad storm on the lake, a barge was pushed to shore right behind someone’s house. People teased him, “Give it back, you’ll never get away with it.”