2016 is about to end, leaving a broken society in its wake. Lynchings and lootings have been prominent all over the country this year as government imposed increasingly erratic and cruel policies.
The first half of the year was marked by widespread lynchings, especially in Caracas and Maracaibo. The country’s major media outlets in Venezuela were quite simply unable to report dozens of them. According to the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence (OVV,) Venezuela has seen a serious outbreak of mob justice in the past months, even compared to last year. While there’s good reason to doubt the OVV’s figures, there’s no denying that 2016 has seen a peak in social conflict that is unprecedented in recent history.
Shortages of basic staples and medicines in the midst of a critical economic situation have sparked protests and lootings throughout the country, coming to a head this December when president Nicolás Maduro suddenly decided to withdraw Bs.100 banknotes from circulation. The measure sent the payment system into complete mayhem and thousands of now-cashless citizens took to the streets to demand that the bills be reinstated. Businesses and banks were looted in Anzoátegui, Apure, Monagas and Zulia, but it was in Bolívar that things really turned nasty, with widespread chaos in San Félix, Guasipati, El Callao, Tumeremo, Santa Elena de Uairén and, worst of all, Ciudad Bolívar, where more than 400 stores were destroyed.
Here’s the final update of the Map on Lynchings and Lootings for 2016. This map only presents cases reported by mainstream media and isn’t meant to be exhaustive. As always, red points are 2015 lynchings, blue points represent lynchings in 2016, an yellow points stand for incidents of looting.