As a new year begins, it is perhaps fitting to revise the issue that affects most the majority of Venezuelans: crime. Some context is needed for illustration purposes, so figures from Colombia (a nation at war with internal narco-terrorist guerrilla groups), and Mexico (another country who has declared war on drug cartels) are provided.
El Espectador reports that 15,817 people lost their lives to crime in Colombia in 2009, of which 6,999 died in drug related assassinations. There has been a significant increase in such crimes in Medellin and Cali, traditionally hotbeds for Colombian drug cartels. Colombia has a population of 44.5 million.
El Universal reports that 7,724 people died in 2009 as a result of the offensive launched against drug cartels and organised crime by the government of Felipe Calderon of Mexico. Termed by the Mexican press as a narco-war, 2009 figures show an extraordinary increase that adds to a shivering total of 19,785 in the last five years. Mexico has a population of 106.3 million.
El Nacional reported that 2009 could end up with more than 14,000 violent deaths in Venezuela*. Caracas is described as the planet's third most dangerous city, with projections of 56 deaths per 100,000 residents. Provea, a local human rights NGO, reported that between January and September 2009, 10,360 people were killed in Venezuela, while an expert cited by El Nacional stated that 80,000 homicides have taken place in the country in the last ten years. Venezuela has a population of 27.9 million.
*Update 21 August 2010: El Nacional has published contents of a report commissioned by the Chavez regime, that indicates that 19,133 Venezuelans were killed in 2009.