- On Saturday, the Venezuelan government carried out a media tour of the notorious Tocorón Penitentiary Center in Aragua state, which had until recently been under the direct control of gangs for several years.1
- Doubling as the headquarters for Venezuela's most powerful criminal group — Tren de Aragua — the facility included luxuries such as a zoo, swimming pool, and nightclub.2
- This comes days after the government took control of the prison in an operation involving over 11K troops, which the Venezuelan Pres. Nicolás Maduro deemed a 'great success in the fight against criminal organizations.'3
- Though Interior Minister Remigio Ceballos claimed that the gang had been dismantled, civil society organizations have argued that leaders of the group, including Héctor Guerrero, were tipped off before the raid and have managed to flee authorities.4
- In response, Ceballos has stressed that 'Niño' Guerrero was 'already free' despite being in prison, as his 17-year sentence was allegedly declared null due to violating his constitutional and legal guarantees related to the penalty length.5
- Initially founded as a construction union in 2009, the Tren de Aragua group has reportedly been involved in crimes such as human trafficking and sexual exploitation in at least eight Latin American countries.6
- Narrative A, as provided by Telesur english. Venezuelan forces conducted an extremely successful and well-coordinated takedown of the gang-run Tocorón prison and cleared inmates out of the facility. After years of living in luxury, Tren de Aragua gang members are finally being held accountable. The Venezuelan authorities should be celebrated for cracking down on criminal enterprises destabilizing the country.
- Narrative B, as provided by Caracas chronicles. The Tocorón prison has long been symbolic of Venezuela's declining criminal justice system, yet it seems that the government is still allowing shady activities to continue even when it's claiming to crack down on crime. The fact that the gang's leader hasn't been captured shows that the notoriously corrupt Venezuelan government may have purposely let the career criminal off the hook.