There were 16,047 homicides in Venezuela last year and 43,792 since 2007 versus 28,000 for the same time period in Mexico. Venezuela’s homicide rate is also higher than one of the deadliest cities in the world Iraq. Both country’s are about the same size and Iraq has been war torn escalating the violence in the country, yet that is not the case in Venezuela. In Iraq there were 4,644 deaths in 2009 whereas Venezuela’s death rate was almost quadrupled at 16,047. Why are there no world banner headlines?
The surge in homicides maybe unknown news to the world but has been a decade long reality in the country and started when President Hugo Chavez took office in 1999. His government has stopped releasing official statistics making it difficult for outside news agency to report actual numbers. Human rights organizations and Venezuelan anti-violence groups think the numbers they are reporting are much higher.
Many reasons have been attributed to the staggering rate of homicide in the country starting with the Chavez administration itself and the economic tailspin the country has been in. In addition, the police are underpaid; corruption overlooked and there is no crackdown on illegal firearms. More disturbing is that 90% of murders are not solved and the judicial system now politicized – you don’t support Chavez you are removed from the bench.
When violence is the result of poverty and a failed political system it tends not to be reported as often as when you can attribute violence to one source, like Mexican drug cartels or a terrorist guerrilla group like Colombia’s FARC.