A rare moment of admission

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How often does a State-owned newspaper put crime on its front page (except to blame the opposition)?!

It’s been easy to forget these last few days that all the “normal” problems of the country are still there just the same. Last week, for instance, Interior Minister Néstor Reverol kindly informed us that 16,000 murders took place in Venezuela last year, 12% more than the official number for 2011.

Nicolás Maduro acknowledged the problem during the presentation of his annual report to the National Assembly.

However, he continued to put the blame on  “the rotten values of capitalism,” and proceeded to chastise media outlets over its “irresponsible coverage” of the issue.

Regardless of the spin they give to the news, the government is slowly taking notice that crime can’t be just dismissed as a “sensation”. This also indicates its latest plan to fight crime (Gran Misión a Toda Vida Venezuela) didn’t have the expected results.

Still, the announcement calls into question the numbers’ veracity. After all, the State stopped releasing official data on the subject almost a decade ago (with some rare exceptions), and the role has been somewhat filled by independent NGOs, like the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence (OVV).

Some of these organizations have denounced that the official data is still incomplete, as gang-related violence and shootings by police are simply left out.

2013 has not started well, according to CICPC’s latest internal report leaked by newspaper El Universal: 2.576 homicides nationwide during the first two months, only 1% less when compared to last year. Violence is making headway all around the country, from our small towns to the capital city of Caracas, which had the most violent February in four years. And the numbers from the first days of March are not much better.

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