Ashley Rowland | June 6, 2019
Nearly two years ago, sociologist Verónica Zubillaga began collecting the stories of the women of La Caracaola – a shantytown of shabby cinderblock houses stacked precariously on the steep hillsides of Caracas, Venezuela.
When she visited the slum, she noticed that all of its homes were padlocked – to keep the police out, the women told her. When she walked through its narrow, snaking paths, their children showed her bullet marks on the walls and spots where police had shot young men.
“The road was paved with stories of killings,” said Zubillaga, who studies urban violence in Latin America.
Now, as a visiting fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, she’s studying the responses of women in two disparate Caracas barrios– La Caracaola and Carache – to gang violence and the often-lethal police militarization intended to counteract it. The names of both areas have been changed to protect the identities of those interviewed by Zubillaga.
Her project seeks to create a narrative of women’s suffering under intense government security, but also their capacity to oppose chronic violence.
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