14ymedio, Havana, 28 January 2023 — The Artemisa Police arrested four people on Friday involved in a case of theft and slaughter of cows at the El Chorro farm, located between the municipalities of San Cristóbal and Candelaria. At the time of the arrest, made at 4:00 am, the agents seized a firearm, ammunition for a second unidentified weapon, and the meat of an animal, stored in bags inside a refrigerator.
The El Chorro area is one of the most affected by crime in the province, according to a note published by the local newspaper, and it is not the first time that residents report the thefts and slaughter of cattle. The scene of the events is located in the “south strip of Artemisa,” the newspaper reported, a criminal scene that “usually extends all the way to the east, to Artemisa lands, and to the west, to areas of Los Palacios and Consolación del Sur in Pinar del Rio.
Together with San Cristóbal, a municipality close to the El Chorro farm, the towns of Bahía Honda, Caimito and Artemisa – cattle ranch areas par excellence – lead the statistics on crimes linked to the cattle sector.
Alcides López Labrada, Provincial Delegate for Agriculture in Artemisa, defined the El Chorro farm as a “confluence point for criminals engaged in these activities.” Police are still investigating the events.
Judicial sentences – up to 10 years for illegal slaughter – have not been effective against the network of crimes related to livestock. In Villa Clara, for example, the year 2022 closed with the unprecedented figure of 12,237 head of cattle stolen or slaughtered, an increase of 200% compared to 2021.
On the other hand, the inaction of the local police forces has led to the creation of groups of guards to watch over the cattle. The problem has reached such importance that the official press has dedicated several reports to analyzing the reasons for the rise in this type of crime.
Added to this is the fact that not all crimes are reported, since most of the producers are, in turn, violating the law in some aspect related to production and are not interested in having the Police investigate the situation. Another problem is the death of cattle due to lack of water, food and medicines, a scourge that in some provinces, such as Villa Clara itself, causes almost as many casualties as those caused by theft and illegal slaughter.
The economic crisis and shortages in the country have led to a general rise in crime. Now, in addition to isolated or individual episodes, many thieves organize themselves into gangs that carefully calculate where they will commit the crime, study the most discreet way to kill the animal and have a black market willing to receive the meat.
The deficient protection of the farms, due to the absence of fences and wires, facilitates the work of thieves. For their part, cattle ranchers are prohibited from using firearms, so they must resort to machetes and handmade shotguns to defend themselves.
Las Tunas, another of the provinces most mistreated by thieves, recorded the theft of 5,305 head of cattle last year. The solution of the agricultural directors of the area was also to “commit” themselves to creating brigades of guards with a certain “support” from the Ministry of the Interior.
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