Even though crime has taken a backseat in people’s minds amid the current wave of protests, it doesn’t mean the problem has gone away. Quite the opposite.
El Universal is reporting that, according to off-the-record sources from the criminal investigations police (CICPC), there were 2,841 murders in Venezuela during the first two months of 2014. Compared to the same period last year, there were 265 murders more in 2014. That averages out to 48 murders per day.
Violent crime became the (supposedly) biggest priority for the state after the murders of former Miss Venezuela Monica Spear and her husband on January 6th. But after pushing for a sort-of peace plan (which looks more like a list of good intentions), and even hosting a national peace conference, the peace vibe has been thrown out the window thanks to the ongoing crisis, particularly so after the “candelita que se prenda, candelita que apagamos” thing.
The rise in the murder rate is not really caused by the protests. For the record, the official number of deaths related to the protests is nineteen, according to the Prosecutor General Luisa Ortega Diaz. It would be twenty-one if the two casualties from yesterday’s events in Caracas are included.
But the focus of authorities is to shut down all kinds of protests, even the more creative ones: during Carnival celebrations earlier this week in the town of Chivacoa (Yaracuy State), the local police tried to arrest people disguised as corn flour, cement and toilet paper, because it was an act of “subliminal protest”. Whatever …