Venezuela, the most violent country in South America, recorded a new high of 21,692 murders this year along with a surge in kidnappings, prison riots and random shootings.
The Venezuelan Violence Observatory came out with its annual report a couple days ago, and Venezuela surpassed itself again. The country’s also surpassed pretty much everyone except Honduras. In 2012, Venezuela is averaging 73 murders per 100,000 people.
There are more murders in Venezuela than in the United States and the 27 countries of the European Union combined. In Caracas the murder rate is more than 200 per 100,000 inhabitants. (I think it’s like 4 per 100,000 in the US, and that includes New Orleans, Baltimore, and Detroit).
I’m going to quote from the NYT Latitude blog on the topic (for the full opinion piece, you can read the article here; I’m disinclined to get into the political causes and consequences on my blog). Also, I think the “drink the Kool-Aid” reference in the article is in poor taste since Guyana is right next door.
There are more murders in Venezuela than in the United States and the 27 countries of the European Union combined. In Caracas the murder rate is more than 200 per 100,000 inhabitants.
Imagine an attack on the scale of 9/11 every three months, for 13-and-a-half years. Or consider this: from the time of the 2003 Iraq invasion until this January, while 116,705 civilians were killed in Iraq, according to the Iraq Body Count project, 124,221 Venezuelans were murdered, says Mármol García. All that with no suicide attacks, no Apache helicopters, no I.E.D.s and none of the organized machinery of war.
Perhaps the closest parallel is the drug war in Mexico, which claimed some 12,000 victims in 2011 (for 19,336 in Venezuela). But even that’s not a very good comparison. Mexico’s population is four times larger than Venezuela’s. And there it’s a handful of well-funded, well-armed and well-organized drug cartels that accounts for most of the violence. The thousands of street gangs responsible for the bulk of casualties in Venezuela are small fry by comparison — just guys shooting it out for control of their slum’s tiny share of the retail drug business. More Stringer Bell than Pablo Escobar.
Venezuela is one of just five countries in the world to average more than 40 murders per 100,000 people between 2005 and 2010. The other four are far smaller, far poorer countries in Central America and the Caribbean: El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Jamaica. Venezuela’s murder rate is just unheard of among middle-income countries, to say nothing of oil-rich states on the receiving end of massive new petrodollar flows.
As a side note, we don’t get danger pay for serving here.