Asphalt bandits: Fear, insecurity, and uncertainty in the Latin American city
This article looks at the malandro, the bandit of Venezuela’s poor neighborhoods, as a paradoxical and hybrid figure of the urban Caribbean, a virtuoso actor of the cultures of emergency and Asphalt. Threatened by global uncertainty, postcolonial Creole cities turn to black Saints from Africa, as well as to creole gangsters from the barrio’s backstreets. Malandros are delinquent yet consummate actors of the urban scene. At the turn of the twenty-first century, malandros have been thrown out of the margins to the center of society, becoming simultaneously heroes and enemies of the people. Malandros are crafty, but their lives are violent and they die young. Yet, they embody the shape of things to come. If the barrio reflects the violence of postcolonial urbanization, the violence of the malandro reflects, in an inverted image, injustice in a globalized world. These injustices are what we ought to think through and destroy. ! 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.