Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s re-election may have granted members of organized crime more time to grow.
According to a report by InSight Crime, a website that researches and investigates organized crime in Latin America, Venezuela’s organized crime flourished in 2011—the country’s “most violent year on record.”
In 2011, Venezuela’s murder rate increased from 19 per 100,000 of the population to 52-72 per 100,000, reports InSight Crime. There were 1,105 kidnappings that year, 20 times the number from when Chavez was first elected back in 1999.
InSight Crime’s report states that the number of express kidnappings, different from kidnappings because hostages are taken and released in a shorter period of time, occur at a rate of 20-40 a day.
Even more alarming is the rate at which criminals in the prison system are running things from behind bars. Venezuela has one of the most notorious prison systems in Latin America and “the world,” InSight Crime reports, with an estimated 1000 prison escapes in 2012.
Aside from the prison breaks, prisoners are often responsible for deadly riots costing the lives of 500 prisoners a year in 2011. The system is “corrupt” and the report pins Venezuela’s organized crime from prison as force behind the country’s growing violence.
Venezuela’s organized crime has gotten so powerful that they are killing off Colombian drug dealers who once sought refuge in Venezuela.
According to Insight Crime:
“Evidence suggests that most of the Venezuelan gangs have ties to, or are directed by, members of the Venezuelan military. A whole generation of Colombian drug traffickers have been captured (or killed) in Venezuela, with more than 10 of Colombia’s most prolific traffickers caught here since 2010.”
Read the full story at InSight Crime
Venezuela’s organized crime
Watch this video by GlobalPost on how Venezuela’s organized crime and murder rate have increased since President Hugo Chavez took office.