Venezuelan City Hires Mimes to "Police" Traffic

By Sara Dover
|  Thursday, Oct 13, 2011  |  Updated 11:35 AM EDT
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AP

Mimes gesture as they stand in a crosswalk in Caracas, Venezuela.

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It's easy to get angry at grumpy traffic cops, but what about these colorful Venezuelan "police"?

A municipality in the country's capital, Caracas, employed 120 mimes to enforce traffic in a city where too many drivers have little regard for the rules, reports The Associated Press.

With white make-up and neon costumes, the mimes wag their finger, make faces, and make other motions at motorcyclists who zip down the street too quickly or drivers who treat street signs as suggestions rather than orders. And do it all, of course, while silent.

"Most people are collaborating, but bad habits are usually hard to break and some drivers just don't change their ways," said Neidy Suarez, and 18-year-old mime wearing bright yellow overalls and a bright red ribbon around her pigtails.

"Some people get angry when we reprimand them ... but most people react agreeably and some have offered compliments," she told The Associated Press.

Mayor Carlos Ocariz of Sucre, a city in the eastern part of Caracas, was inspired to do the program by Antanas Mockus, a former mayor of Bogota, Colombia. Mockus combined mimes and stricter police enforcement in a program that was widely seen as a success.

Ocariz promised to keep up the effort "until the streets of Sucre are full of creativity and education."

Selected Reading: The Associated Press, Fox News Latino, Gawker

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