It is Carnaval (Mardi Gras) time in Venezuela and people get in their vehicles to spend time outside the cities. This also the time where the Government decides to set up “alcabalas” (checkpoints) all over the country with armed personnel to allegedly check for criminals traveling or engaged in bad things. Depending on the state and the level of their bank accounts, you can find these checkpoints every 50 kilometers on non-expressway roads (which make the majority of the roads in the country. Think of them as unauthorized tolls with monies going to the pockets of the local cops and Guards. And if you are thinking about being cool, just drive through and “eff” them, they will shoot you without giving it a second thought.