Wealthy communities across Latin America put up gates and fences to fend off criminals. In Venezuela, rising crime has led poor neighborhoods to do the same, dividing the country further.
• A version of this post ran on the author's blog. The views expressed are the author's own.
I last wrote about the Brisas de Oriente barrio last year, when its residents were protesting after a string of murders. The government finally sent in the National Guard and after two months without murders they left. Crime picked up again, but so far there has been only one murder since the Guard left.
Talking to my friend who lives at Brisas de Oriente, I was intrigued when he asked for monetary help to build fences and ramps. When I dug more into it, I discovered that poor barrios in Venezuela are now using the same techniques that fancy residential areas have used for about two decades: Neighbors are getting together, fencing around their houses and putting in a common gate to block the hoodlums from breaking into their homes or mugging them. Much like in the wealthier areas of Caracas and other cities, this creates small ghettos everywhere. In the fancy areas there are guards and electric doors and fences, in the poor areas there are fences, locks, chains, and padlocks to keep crime out.