Crime and Punishment in Venezuela

Foreign Affairs 2014-02-20. On a recent breezy Sunday, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro stood in downtown Caracas and called on the few thousand people gathered before him to bring peace to his South American nation. In one sense, his message — “Ya basta de violencia” (enough of violence) — was unremarkable. Owing to its ever-growing homicide rate, Venezuela is among the most dangerous countries in Latin America and the world. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, in murders per 100,000 people, the country is surpassed only by Côte d’Ivoire, El Salvador, and Honduras. In another sense, however, the rally was surprising; it surfaced a deeper social conflict that the government has refused to face for too long.

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