At the end of the WWII Romeo hailed from an impoverished town in Italy to Venezuela. As many other Europeans that had made the same journey, he only wanted to work and live in peace. Romeo started off in the construction business with a “paisá.” The new country had everything he wanted: plenty of opportunities, peace and stability, its people were generous, open, welcoming and warm. Romeo felt more at home than back in Italy and swore to himself that he would never go back to that miserable existence from where he had escaped.
The following 40 years were benevolent and Romeo’s fortunes increased exponentially: in that period he had managed not only to escape poverty but his children ended up having the formal education he never had, all gaining postgraduate degrees. Given the considerable size of his enterprise, Romeo knew that one day his children would take over. That certainty made him punctilious about education.
At the time of his death, Romeo’s company owned some 300 properties in Caracas. One apartment, of the 300, is located in Avenida Urdaneta, very close to Banco Central de Venezuela and the Foreign Ministry. A group of chavistas, taking presidential cues, had invaded the property. Romeo’s only daughter, previously a respected researcher with a multilateral organization, took issue with the abuse and decided to move back to Caracas, from Geneva, to take control of the family assets.
She started down the legal route, presenting all kinds of requests with the appropriate authorities to regain possession of the property. Nothing happened. Time elapsed and authorities would not even acknowledge receipt of documentation denouncing the issue. This being Venezuela, she devised a plan. Counting on neighbours’ assistance, Romeo’s daughter decided to wait for an opportunity, which presented itself one morning when all chavistas had left the apartment to run errands. At that point she acted decisively: a corrupt police man, a blacksmith and herself met at the building’s entrance. The police man was paid one million Bolivars to keep momentary guard at the entrance, while the blacksmith installed a new security door in the apartment. All the while Romeo’s daughter was aghast at the state of disrepair of the apartment.
Other neighbours, who had been watching the proceedings, started texting the chavistas. In a matter of minutes, a group of 12-15 armed hoodlums arrived in motorcycles and were ready to enter the building. The police man did not even contemplate calling for assistance or trying to negotiate, and left in a hurry. The gun toting thugs made their way to the 7th floor. Seeing this development, Romeo’s daughter locked herself inside the apartment and started crying out for help, calling desperately family and the police. First victim was the blacksmith. He was badly beaten and left unconscious. In the meantime, members of the assaulting gang were screaming obscenities at Romeo’s daughter, saying “¡te vamos a coger entre todos coño e’ tu madre!”, while they tried to force their way in. In her utter desperation and absolute fear, Romeo’s daughter reached a suicidal conclusion.
Due to the scandalous and violent situation, neighbours and pedestrians alike tried, to no avail, to alert the authorities, after all two government buildings are in the close vicinity. The guards at Banco Central allegedly said that they couldn’t do anything. The set of doors had finally been opened by the raiding mob. Once inside the apartment they realised that Romeo’s daughter was not there but laying on the sidewalk. One of them took the blacksmith’s welding machine and threw it at the immobile body, missing it by inches. An ambulance on the way to someplace was stopped: while Romeo’s daughter was carried inside the mob continued beating her, while unconscious, and the ambulance crew that eventually managed to escape.
Note: this event took place in December 2008. Names have been suppressed for fear of retaliation. No authority wants to touch the case, given that invading chavistas seem to be part of the regime’s paramilitary groups.