Though people are constantly being bombarding with news of violence in Mexico, news coverage of Venezuela’s violent struggles are comparatively unknown, but with nearly 14,000 murders last year, Venezuela has one of Latin America’s highest murder rates.
Human rights group Provea, in it’s yearly report, said that 13,985 people were killed over the last year, and that thousands more were likely dead.
Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez, says that his government is doing everything possible to address the violence and make the country safer, but adds that non-government sources like the media are aggrandizing the problem, blowing the issue out of proportion.
Provea’s report says that incomplete statistics presented by the government leave out the number of Venezuelans killed during encounters with police. In 2009, that “left-out” number accounted for an additional 2,685 violent deaths.
Also, Provea’s leader, Marino Alvarado, says it is hard to get an exact number when Venezuelans are distrustful of police as they are a part of 15 – 20 percent of all crimes in the country.
“It’s very difficult to fight crime when police are involved in so many violations of human rights,” said Alvarado.
The group says its findings were reached police reports, media outlets, independent investigations and sources inside the federal police department who they do not wish to identify.