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CARACAS, Friday August 27, 2010 | Update
 
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High crime rates make Venezuela one of the most violent countries

Caracas has now the world's highest murder rate. According to official figures reported by a survey on victimization carried out by the National Statistics Institute (INE), the Venezuelan capital has become the deadliest city in the world. A total of 7,676 people were killed in the Metropolitan Area of Caracas in 2009, that is, about one murder every hour and a half

The European press reported the situation in the Caracas morgue (Photo: Fernando Sánchez)
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  EL UNIVERSAL
Friday August 27, 2010  11:34 AM

 

August 23

Foreign press reports on high crime rates in Venezuela
At least four international newspapers during the weekend reported on insecurity in Venezuela and attempts by the government to control information flow.

In Spain, Madrid newspaper La Razón published an article entitled "Dead people hidden by Chávez," claiming that "more than 50 bodies, victims of ongoing violence in Venezuela, are deposited every weekend in the collapsed morgue of Bello Monte, Caracas."

The report says that Caracas "is the second most dangerous city in the world."

Additionally, Spanish newspaper El País reported in an article entitled "The new war of Chávez and the media," the efforts made by President Hugo Chávez to prevent the Venezuelan public opinion from being informed of the lack of security in the country.

"Every Venezuelan has a story to tell about crime: armed robbery, murder, express kidnapping. Crime has become a central issue in the parliamentary elections to be held on September 26," said El País.

Another Spanish newspaper (La Voz de Galicia) published an article entitled "Chávez seeks to emulate the Cuban media model." It explained that a judge banned all Venezuelan newspapers from disseminating images of violent events.

Finally, Paraguayan newspaper ABC said in an op-ed written by Eduardo Quintana and entitled "Pornography" that there were 19.133 murders in Venezuela in 2009.

New York Times: Venezuela is "more deadly than Iraq"
In Venezuela, some joke that they might be safer if they lived in Baghdad. The numbers bear them out, said on August 23 the New York Times.

The newspaper added that In Iraq, which has about the same population as Venezuela, there were 4,644 civilian deaths from violence in 2009, according to Iraq Body Count; in Venezuela that year, the number of murders climbed above 16,000.

According to the US newspaper, "Venezuelans have absorbed such grim statistics for years. Those with means have hidden their homes behind walls and hired foreign security experts to advise them on how to avoid kidnappings and killings."

The article stressed that rich and poor alike have resigned themselves to living with a murder rate that the opposition says remains low on the list of the government's priorities.

Venezuela is struggling with a decade-long surge in homicides, with about 118,541 since President Hugo Chávez took office in 1999, according to the Venezuelan Violence Observatory, a group that compiles figures based on police files. The New York Times recalled that the Venezuelan government has stopped publicly releasing its own detailed homicide statistics, but has not disputed the group's numbers, and news reports citing unreleased government figures suggest human rights groups may actually be undercounting murders.

There have been 43,792 homicides in Venezuela since 2007, according to the violence observatory, compared with about 28,000 deaths from drug-related violence in Mexico since that country's assault on cartels began in late 2006.

Caracas itself is almost unrivaled among large cities in the Americas for its homicide rate, which currently stands at around 200 per 100,000 inhabitants, according to Roberto Briceño León, the sociologist at the Central University of Venezuela who directs the violence observatory.

That compares with recent measures of 22.7 per 100,000 people in Bogotá, Colombia's capital, and 14 per 100,000 in São Paulo, Brazil's largest city. As Mr. Chávez's government often points out, Venezuela's crime problem did not emerge overnight, and the concern over murders preceded his rise to power.

August 25

Caracas has become the deadliest city in the world

Caracas has now the world's highest murder rate. According to official figures reported by a survey on victimization carried out by the National Statistics Institute (INE), the Venezuelan capital has become the deadliest city in the world. A total of 7,676 people were killed in the Metropolitan Area of Caracas in 2009, that is, about one murder every hour and a half.

According to this survey, the murder rate in the Venezuelan capital was 233 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Last year, based on a study carried out in 2009 by the Mexican NGOs Citizen's Council for Public Security (CCSP) and the White Movement, Caracas had 94 murders per 100,000 inhabitants and ranked fourth in the world.

The results of the survey carried out by INE, which was requested by Venezuela's Vice Presidency, shows that Caracas had 233 murders per 100,000 inhabitants instead of the 94 murders per 100,000 inhabitants reported by the Mexican NGOs, that is, a difference of 139 crimes.

According to the survey carried out by INE, 5,878 homicides out of the total (7,676 cases) were reported in 2009. Meanwhile, in 1,891 cases no complaints were filed in any state security body, that is, although in those cases an investigation was initiated by the enforcement agencies, the relatives did not formalize a complaint.

The Mexican security watchdogs ranked the deadliest cities in the word earlier this year.

According to the study, Mexico's border city of Ciudad Juárez has the world's highest murder rate: 191 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.

San Pedro Sula (Honduras) ranked second with 119 murders per 100,000 inhabitants; San Salvador (El Salvador), had 95 murders; Caracas (94) and Guatemala (Guatemala) had 86 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.

The figures released by the National Statistics Institute show that reality has changed.

The survey was made between August 16 and November 16, 2009. A total of 20,055 households were surveyed throughout the country.

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