Santos Malandros (Holy Thugs)

If Simon Bolivar is the patron saint- not only of Caracas and Venezuela, but of the entire state of former Grand Colombia- his Caraqueño sidekicks are the santos malandros; a gang of barrio-hoodlums operating back in the 60´s and 70´s, elevated into martyrdom when a sufficient amount of years has passed by to extend a bit of glitter and glamour to their everyday business of robbery and theft.

Ismael is the kingpin, the leader of the pack, depicted in clay-figurines with a cap turned sideways and a sizeable gun tucked in his waistband, a Venezuelan Robin Hood who supposedly never failed to share his violent riches with his cradle community. Constantly with a cigarette whipping from the corner of his mouth, people wallow to sacrifice by his final restingplace, bringing him some cheap rum to satisfy that eternal longing for a stiff cuba libre.

It´s him the modern day malandros go to to bow their head in hope of a succesful carjacking, kneeling next to a single mother praying she and her next of kins won´t fall short of a stray bullet, or for that matter, a bullet with their name on it.


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