“The cemetery has become an iconic emblem of our national tragedy,” said Venezuelan anthropologist, Fernando Coronil . “In our daily struggle to maintain a civil order against multiple transgressions against property and propriety, not even the dead can now rest in peace.”
The Cementerio General del Sur is a large cemetary where the mausoleums of statesmen, movie stars, aristocrats and thousands of commoners are laid to rest. However, this peaceful site has had a recent influx of violence and kidnappings.
Grave robbers are looting various graveyards for human bones, answering demand from some practitioners of a fast-growing transplanted Cuban religion called Palo that uses the bones in its ceremonies.
Most people do not even bother visiting the site anymore, they fear that they will be attacked by thugs or vandals.
Here are what Venezuelans have to say about the matter, according to NYtimes.com
“I still cannot comprehend how this happened,” said Jesús Blanco, 42, a horse trainer who went into despair in February when he visited the grave of his father, Melecio, and found the coffin pried open and his entire skeleton missing.
José Francisco Ceballo, a former manager of the Cementerio del Sur, caused a stir in May when he said the cemetery was “in chaos.” That month, he said, inspectors found at least 475 coffins looted of remains.
“We must take care since it is easy to blame paleros for all the ills of Venezuela,” said Samuel Zambrano, 34, a palero leader.
“At that moment, I felt like I wanted to leave this world,” said Ms. Santos, 40, a public servant. “Then I realized what could happen to my body if I died,” she said, “and I sat down to cry.”