Alejandro Cegarra

Photo Essay


Violence in Venezuela


VENEZUELA, DESPITE HAVING THE largest oil reserves in the world, priced at $100 a barrel, and the largest economic boom in our history, from 2000 to 2012, is a country under economic crisis. Chavez had the biggest oil revenue in the history of Venezuela under his control. He also implemented numerous outreach programs and redistribution of wealth. However, during his command, the country also experienced the highest murder rate in its history, becoming the third most dangerous country in the world.

Despite the initiation of 21 security plans over 14 years, violence has done nothing but increase. The country maintains a poor system of law enforcement and justice. The estimated 200,000 members of the Venezuelan security forces are an inadequate number, especially given the exorbitant figures, ranging from 79-114 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants.

Aside from the numbers, law enforcement officers have extremely low wages and little to no logistical support. Most specifically, the CICPC officials (Forensic Police), prosecutors, and judges are overwhelmed. They may have up to 700 cases per month. Given these high numbers, the impunity rate is 90%. Criminals continue to repeat crimes, as there are no real repercussions for them. 

Violent society is generated by the lack of adequate law enforcement.

The law does not reach the slums of Caracas. They are a virtual “no man’s land” where “survival of the fittest” prevails. This is thanks in large part to the large number of weapons circulating in Venezuela, which is between 9 and 15 million, despite the government’s disarmament plans.

Many of these weapons come from Colombia to protect the drug route passing through Venezuela to Europe. Others serve to feed irregular guerrilla and paramilitary operations surrounding the border. There are also guns that circulate as a product of corruption and which are illegally stolen from the police and sold within the country.

For those who are incarcerated, the government has failed in their treatment. Prisons are severely overcrowded and unsanitary, and there are some that have fallen into a state of insurrection. These jails are ruled by the “PRAN,” which is a group of prison inmates who control the prisons with drug trafficking, kidnapping, and even prostitution.

This photo essay seeks to tell the main problem of the Venezuelan people: violence.


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