By Carlos Camacho
CARACAS -- Leading violence and human rights NGO Observatorio Venezolano de Violencia (Venezuelan Violence Observatory) reported 4,231 deaths classified by Nicolas Maduro regime authorities as resistance to authority, more than the 4,153 homicides carried out by criminals to December 2020.
That means the police kill more people than criminals do in Venezuela. In general, the report by OVV shows that Venezuela under Maduro is one of the most violent countries in the Western Hemisphere and the world. The fact that regime law enforcement is doing the bulk of the killing gives the situation a whole new dimension.
"Police lethality has spread throughout the country, it seems to be the only security policy that has been implemented. In 12 states in the country the police killed more than the criminals. That is, in half of the federal entities the police lethality was higher than the criminal lethality," the report states.
The report stipulated that, since 2016, there is a sustained increase in police lethality in relation to deaths caused by criminals.
Each year there are more victims for resisting authority than homicides of any other kind. In 2016, for every 100 homicides there were 28 people who died in police actions that were classified as deaths from resistance.
In 2017 it was 34 per 100; in 2018 it was 72 per 100; in 2019 it was 88 per 100 and in this year 2020, for the first time, there were more deaths by policemen than by criminals: 101 per 100 criminal homicides.
As it is, the Maduro regime is being investigated by human rights abuses by the International Criminal Court, the United Nations, the Organization of American States and other entities.
OAS says some 18,000 extrajudicial executions have been carried out by the Maduro regime, which has also incarcerated some 15,000 political opponents and been linked to 650 reported instances of torture, while ICC promised two weeks ago that the two inquiries on the Maduro regime -which began in 2018- were to continue in 2021.
OVV, which has been tracking violence in Venezuela since it was created in 2005, even had to come up with a whole new term to describe a situation where the authorities kill more people than crimes do: Letalidad policíaca, or Police lethality.
How do you use that new expression? Well, during the George Floyd scandal OVV noted that, in Venezuela, the police lethality is 40 times higher than in the US, meaning the Venezuelan police are 40 times more lethal than their US peers, according to a previous OVV report.
The fact there is no death penalty in Venezuela and resistance to authority is a misdemeanor punishable with only a few moths of prison also helps put things in perspective, especially when you consider Venezuela was the first country in the world in eliminating the death penalty in the mid-19th century under Juan Crisostomo Falcon, and one of the first to get rid of slavery. From Enlightenment to Maduro.
The annual report released this December 29 by the NGO shows a rate of 45.6 violent deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, “far above any other country considered violent in Latin America…highlighting that most of the murders were committed by state security forces”, was how award-winning news site El Pitazo summed up the recent findings.
Colombia during the Pablo Escobar heyday was recording a staggering (for the times) murder rate of 20 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants.
Additionally, the report estimated there were at least 3,507 deaths of “undetermined intentionality”, officially registered as “death investigations”, and considered as unsolved homicides that remain unclear and often uninvestigated”, according to El Pitazo.