Friday, October 03, 2008

Caracas , Murder Capital of the World

Reliable global crime statistics are hard to come by, but here are five cities that stand in a class all their own when it comes to brutal, homicidal violence.

STR/AFP/Getty Images

Caracas, Venezuela

Population: 3.2 million

Murder rate: 130 per 100,000 residents (official)

What’s happening: The capital of Chávez country, Caracas has become far more dangerous in recent years than any South American city, even beating out the once notorious Bogotá. What’s worse, the city’s official homicide statistics likely fall short of the mark because they omit prison-related murders as well as deaths that the state never gets around to properly “categorizing.” The numbers also don’t count those who died while “resisting arrest,” suggesting that Caracas’s cops—already known for their brutality against student protesters—might be cooking the books. Many have pointed the finger at El Presidente, whose government has failed to tackle the country’s rising rates of violent crime. In fact, since Chávez took over in 1998, Venezuela’s official homicide rate has climbed 67 percent—mostly due to increased drug and gang violence. Ramón Rodríguez Chacín, who recently resigned as interior minister, claimed in July that homicide has dropped 27 percent since January—but experts say he’s just playing with numbers. As for Caracas, some speculate that its murder rate is closer to 160 per 100,000.

Politically Motivated Murder

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan authorities are investigating the fatal shooting of a student leader who helped organize protests against constitutional amendments proposed by President Hugo Chavez.

Julio Soto, a student leader at the University of Zulia, was killed Wednesday by unidentified gunmen in the western city of Maracaibo.

Local Police Chief Jose Gonzalez said he believes Soto was specifically targeted because the assailants sprayed his vehicle with gunfire and then fled without taking anything.

But Justice Minister Tarek El Aissami said federal authorities have not yet determined if the killing was a politically motivated hit.

Soto was a member of the Copei opposition party. Voters rejected Chavez's proposed reforms in December.


The Localmalcontent said...

Paradise for some, at the point of a gun. Sad. I remember Caracas as being really pretty friendly,
in '91.

Brenda said...

Very interesting. . . these are the kinds of things that happen under a dictatorship

Kepler said...

JM, I think those percentages are not quite there. It is worse, much worse.
If you check here
you will see the murder rate went from 19.61 in 1998 to 33.15 in 2000. After that and "thanks" to DES-information minister Jesse Chacon, the Venezuelan regime stopped sending data on murders to United Nations. The next survey does not contain the data for murder for Venezuela.
They still send easily modifiable ones on "burglary" and so on.
Since then the number has kept growing and we know it is not much lower than Caracas'. You saw I keep the numbers reported for Carabobo (for those who do not know Venezuela: it is a wee but very populated state at the coast, 160 km to the West of Caracas).
So: by beginning of this century, the numbers have not risen 67%, but over 300% since 1998. That is so hard to believe: in a normal country, a government would fall after an increase in murder rates of just a fraction of that.

Most shockingly, the government keeps lying in the most shameless way, comparing the numbers of one week to another one when numbers drop as if this were a linear function and then says "look and behold, crime has dropped 30% because this week we have 30% less murders than last week/the same week 52 weeks ago".
That is completely criminal.
Regarding Colombia: violent crime there has kept dropping little by little since Uribe is in power.
Murder rates in such countries as Chile are at European levels.

The Hermit said...

Sounds as if leaving Venezuela may have been a blessing in disguise for you and your family.

Gringo said...

But Justice Minister Tarek El Aissami said federal authorities have not yet determined if the killing was a politically motivated hit.

Nor will they ever determine it.

FJ said...

Are you living in Carabobo, kepler? I don't suppose you're a Tiburones fan?

FJ said...

Because the Magallanes suck! ;-)

Jungle Mom said...

Magallanes do indeed stink! BUT...not as bad as the LEONES!
BTW, My husband was the chaplain for the Cardenales de Lara for many years. When we left for the jungle, my brother in law took the position. So I have met Galaraga ( El Gato),Carasquel, Omar Vizquel,Luis Sojo and also some American [layers who came down for Winter Ball.

Jungle Mom said...

OH! And David Concepcion!

Jane said...

This is horrible. This beautiful country and its' wonderful people are being destroyed and intimidated by this maniacal leader.
We are trusting God for a change.....soon!