I’m fighting for my country,” said Maria Cortez, a 63-year-old community organizer. Dangling from a street sign high above the intersection in a middle-class Caracas neighbourhood was a life-size dummy dressed in surgical scrubs, face mask and booties with a sign that called for Cuban doctors to leave Venezuela. “It’s been 15 years of keeping our mouths shut, 15 years and the people can’t take it anymore.”
In San Antonio de los Altos, in Miranda state, protesters blocked roads, but were repelled by hundreds of national guard, national police and other authorities with tear gas and rubber bullets. At least two were injured, one with a bullet wound in the leg and the other with multiple plastic buckshot wounds to the face, said Lyndons Guzman, emergency director in the Carrizal municipality.
Back at the parade grounds, 33-year-old Nina Ruiz said she’s not political and only went to the parade because she works for a government agency that made her go.
“Everything is out of control,” she said. “Nothing is the same.”
Even though the opposition parties did not schedule a march Wednesday, protests broke out in various parts of the capital and the interior.
Crime in Venezuela
Crime in Venezuela
Venezuela is among the most violent places on Earth. In Venezuela, a person is murdered every 21 minutes. Crimes have been so prevalent in Venezuela that the government no longer produces crime data. Class tension has long been a part of life in the South American country, where armed robberies, carjackings and kidnappings are frequent. In 2013, the homicide rate was approximately 79 per 100,000, one of the world’s highest, having quadrupled in the past 15 years with over 200,000 murdered. The capital Caracas has one of the greatest homicide rates of any large city in the world, with 122 homicides per 100,000 residents. In 2008, polls indicated that crime was the number one concern of voters.
Crime rates are higher in ‘barrios’ or ‘ranchos’ (slum areas) after dark. Petty crime such as pick-pocketing is prevalent, particularly on public transport in Caracas. The government in 2009 created a security force, the Bolivarian National Police, which has lowered crime rates in the areas in which it is so far deployed, and a new Experimental Security University.
Venezuela is a significant route for drug trafficking, with Colombian cocaine and other drugs transiting Venezuela towards the United States and Europe. Venezuela ranks fourth in the world for cocaine seizures, behind Colombia, the United States, and Panama. Many major government and military officials have been known for their involvement with drug trafficking; especially with the October 2013 incident of men from the Venezuelan National Guard placing 1.3 tons of cocaine on a Paris flight knowing they will not face charges.
In Venezuela, a person is murdered every 21 minutes. In 2013, the homicide rate was approximately 79 per 100,000, one of the world’s highest, having quadrupled in the past 15 years with over 200,000 murdered. The country’s body count of the previous decade mimics that of the Iraq War and in some instances had more civilian deaths even though the country is at peacetime.The capital Caracas has one of the greatest homicide rates of any large city in the world, with 122 homicides per 100,000 residents.
Corruption in Venezuela is high by world standards, and was so for much of the 20th century. The discovery of oil had worsened political corruption, and by the late 1970s, Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonso‘s description of oil as “the Devil’s excrement” had become a common expression in Venezuela. Venezuela has been ranked one of the most corrupt countries on the Corruption Perceptions Index since the survey started in 1995. The 2010 ranking placed Venezuela at number 164, out of 178 ranked countries.
Venezuela is especially dangerous toward foreign travelers and investors who are visiting. This is due to Venezuela’s economic problems. The United States State Department and Government of Canada has warned foreign visitors that they may be subjected to robbery, kidnapping for a ransom or sale to terrorist organizations and murder, and that their own diplomatic travelers are required to travel in armored vehicles. The United Kingdom‘s Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised against all travel to Venezuela. Most visitors have been murdered during robberies and criminals do not discriminate against their victims. Recently, former Miss Venezuela 2004 winner Monica Spear and her husband were murdered with her 5 year old daughter being shot while visiting, and an elderly German tourist was murdered only a few weeks later.