Perceptions of a crime wave

Life's a riot when you're an enchufado
Life’s a riot when you’re an enchufado

Venezuela’s Tourism Minister Andrés Izarra (infamous for having laughed about Venezuela’s high death rates on an international cable show in 2010), recently had this to say

“[la inseguridad] es un problema real, existe. No lo negamos, estamos trabajando, como todos los países de América Latina lo están trabajando, lo están atendiendo (…) ¿cuál es la particularidad de Venezuela con ese tema? La percepción, la guerra mediática que sobre el país existe”. (Transl:Crime is a real problem, it exists. We don’t deny it, and we are working, as other countries in Latin America are doing, on solving it … What is special about Venezuela? The perception of high crime that we have, [which is caused by] the media war that exists in the country.”

According to the latest Global Study on Homicide (2014) published by The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), “South America now has the same homicide rate as in 1995, which is the result of very different trends at the country level.”

Venezuela, as you can imagine, stands out … “[T]he Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is the only country in South America that has had a consistently increasing homicide rate since 1995.

Central America experienced an increasing homicide rate starting in 2007, “often related to drug trafficking and high levels of organized crime-related violence, which has resulted in one of the highest sub-regional homicide rates in the world”. However, Venezuela stands out in South America. We now rank as the second deadliest country in the world, only after Honduras.

According to the last available homicide rate of the 219 countries included in the UNODC study, 158 countries (72% of the nations in the world) have a rate of less than 10 homicides per 100.000 habitants. Only 12 of them (7.5% of them) have a rate over 30.

Venezuela has a rate of 53.7.

Even if we consider the Guerra de Cifras, taking both official and unofficial we can say that between 11 thousand and 25 thousand Venezuelans were killed in 2013. Violent deaths in Venezuela started to outnumber the ones in Irak starting in 2008.

It seems obvious, but it should be said: our high levels of insecurity are not a matter of perception.

In January and February of 2014, 2.841 Venezuelans were killed – one Venezuelan every 30 minutes. Izarra probably finds that hysterical.

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  1. This sort of nonsense goes to the fundamental problem with the core beliefs of Chavismo. They think that if we all just believe hard enough, reality will be altered and everything will be alright. Of course, in the real world, reality is cold and harsh and Chavismo is about to get bitch-slapped by it.

    • Not exactly, the core belief of chavism is “everything we do is okay because is us, everybody else should go and fuck themselves because they’re not on our side.”

      • exactly. Izarra is a true revolutionary. He was brought up this way. He is the real thing. And a slimy one at that by marrying and impregnating the Globovision host. Lets not forget he was married to an American woman here in the U.S. and he burned down her house. He is suspect in an arson case that will never get investigated. True story.

        • Well, the way I see it is the guy is just part of the parade of the most inept public official the country has ever had, and that said against the background and legacy of the IV is really something. I do to really belief he is a “revolutionary”, or anything else. He is just an inept as are all the rest, as simple as that

          • He also worked in RCTV, guy is a false as a wooden coin.
            Also, I heard that some children he was going to have with his wife came out stillborn, and they were twins.
            I don’t believe in karma, but dude, guy basically brought that on himself for openly and publicly mocking people that were dying like Franklin Brito (“He smells like formol!”) and that infamous scene where he laughted to every crime victim in the chavist era.

  2. You know what pisses me off? When the chavistas say “Yes, of course there is crime… like in any country in the world” God, makes me want to punch them. Serves them well what Capriles told them last night.

    • Homicide rates are not equally distributed in the world , According to Reuter, (based on 2012 statistics), Latin America is the Continent with the highest rate of homicides in the world and within Latin America ,going from the worst tier of homicide statistics , to the 2nd worst , to the 3rd worst , to the 4th worst :
      1.,None of the 4 Cono Sur Countries make any of the 4 top tiers ,
      2. Of the 3 Andean Countries, 2 (Bolivia , Ecuador) enter the 4th tier and 1 falls outside the range of the 4 worse (Peru) ,
      3. . Brasil and Mexico fall in the 3rd tier .
      4. Of the Caribbean and Central American Countries , 4 fall in the 1st tier ( Honduras , Salvador , Venezuela and Belize ) , two in the 2nd ( Colombia and Guatemala ) , 1 (Dom Rep) in the 3rd and 3 fall outside the range of the 4 worst tiers ( Cuba , Costa Rica and Nicaragua) .
      Clearly the highest homicide levels in the world concentrate in the Caribbean and Central America with a few ouliers such as Costa Rica and Nicaragua .( makes you wonder why this region is so homicide prone)

      In 2012 Honduras and Venezuela competed for 1st place in this horrific contest with statistics that really mark a distance from other high homicide countries in the Caribbean and Central America . !!

      Salvador Colombia and Guatemala have had long bloody civil wars which rent the fabric of peaceful society and allow violence to rage even after the civil war is over , Honduras is also one of the poorest countries in the Planet . Venezuela in contrast has had no civil wars and has enjoyed a period of inmmense oil bonanza to cushion the impact of any poverty inside its borders . how do you then explain Venezuela’s horrific and climbing homicide rates ?? Clearly its not a common phenomena as Arreaza would have it but something odd that demands an explanation . now what might that explantion be ?? .

    • Oh, fuck, I hate that excuse too.
      It really nails my point in a previous post when I said that chavism is actually the biggest hipocrisy as a political movement.
      We should start using the same excuse just to piss them off, when they say “poor people were mistreated in the past! waahh!”, one couls snarkily answer “what’re you cryin’ about? poor people are looked ugly everywhere!”
      … Actually, no, it’s not a good idea, that excuse just sounds too stupid…

  3. Chavistas think the high rate of obesity is due to prosperity. It is due to the fact that people can’t go out for a walk.

  4. I take the liberty of linking to a post of mine. I simply copied one of the key charts of that report.
    It is a chart I have often talked about. I have pleaded with the opposition to use this data – which is not new, the trend has been there for years now – in an intelligent way for ads. They haven’t. It seems everyone thinks all Venezuelans are imbeciles who cannot understand any kind of simple chart.
    That is false. Even Venezuelans with very little maths skills can get this:

    Look at the murder rate in comparison across countries AND TIME:

    That is really the only thing we need to show time after time.
    Murder Rate across South American Countries across Time!

  5. And we need to bear in mind: it is easier for a country of less than 8 million people to get to the murder rate levels of Honduras than for a country with three times the population, like Venezuela.

    • Just the fact that the murder rate per year has increased like 400% in 15 years versus a population increase in barely 30% should mean clearly that the goverment is a complete failure in that area, and enough to kick them straight to jail for being such useless idiots.

      • Of course the murder rate has to do with per capita.

        What I mean is that in a country with 1000 people, it only takes one big event with a murder of, say, 10 people instead of 2, for the murder rate to climb – relative to what it was before there -. Of course, this should flatten after one measurement period but still,
        it’s something.
        Also, all things being equal, the larger the sample, the less variation you will have. Somehow related to (although here a whole country would be the sample)

        • Sorry Kep. There is little difference between a statistical universe of 8 million and one of 30 million. Individual events in either are not big enough to affect the statistical curve.

  6. I’m beginning to believe that the regime feels secure and unthreatened by the opposition and doesn’t care about the deterioration of the economy nor the suffering it will cause. This is truly a Cuba style revolution! This is a horrifying situation!

  7. Wonder if there is a way of making a graph that plots homicide statistics against per country income per year and another against each countrys demographic growth , perhaps comparing ourselves to other latin american countries such as Peru , Brazil , Colombia . I suspect that for other countries the higher the rise in per capita income the lower the crime rate. Venezuela would probably show the opposite trend which would underscore what an oddity Venezuela’s homicide stats are !! also if the demographics worsen crime rates in other countries but to a lower degree than in Venezuela , that would also show where the cause of our hipertrophic murder statistics lie. !!

    • Brazil Northeastern region actually shows the same trend you described for Venezuela: the more the poor’s income per capita grows, the more the homicide rate grows. But differently from Venezuela, the poor’s fertility rate in Northeastern Brazil is so low now that I assume that in 40 years, when most of these criminals will be dead without lefting heirs, the situation might improve a bit.

      I believe that this trend you described in Venezuela happens because of four things happening simultaneously: (1) lax judicial system that doesn’t believe in criminals being neutralized inside prisons for several years, (2) poor people (including criminals) moving to cities in where the economic conditions are improving, (3) high fertility rate among the poor, (4) crime being a great and safe way of improving economically. It would be interesting to find out how many poor people from other places in Venezuela moved to Caracas trying a “better life” after 1999.

      Data collected on these crimes in Northeastern Brazil show that some of the criminals have 15, 20 arrests on their backs, and the police keeps arresting them, but “socialist/Robin Hood” judges always release them just a couple months later, whereas more criminals keep on coming to these doomed cities from other places because the cities are getting richer, what worsens crime even more. So, to solve a situation like that without changing drastically such weak laws is like trying to dry ice: impossible.

      • Thanks Mark for your comments , I wasnt really suggesting anything, just curious to know whether higher income and higher fertility rates had any impact on the homicide rates , Your data for North Eastern Brazil is very interesting and maybe a bit puzzling , one would assumme that higher income meant lower poverty and thus a weakening of the economic incentive for things like robbery and that high fertility rate would mean that authorities, if flooded with the need to provide for a much greater number of people, would not be able to cope. Lax judiciary imposition of penalties is certainly bound to play a role and over time the social havoc caused by people leaving their settled country lives to seek fortune in the chaotic city barrios might also contribute to a rise in criminal activity by the young. The high fertility rate is also relevant to the extent the new generations are being borne into dysfunctional families made up of single mothers with few resources and their young .

  8. Izarra is a vividor. He left the Ministry of Communications fed up, but within a month was missing the perks, the chofer, the media attention and started lobbying to get any job. He got tourism, if which he knows little about, but he got the perks back. He ignores the country’s reality in all his plans, he wants to sound grandiose. He wants to be on TV. A revolutionary cynci.

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