The Minister of the Interior, Justice and Peace, Miguel Rodriguez Torres, gave a press conference today to update the country on crime statistics for this year so far. According to Torres, incidences of violent crime are down across the board since 2013:
- Kidnapping: Down 54.1%
- Vehicle Theft: Down 21%
- Homicide: Down 17.3%
- Rape: Down 12.3%
- Carjacking: Down 3.1%
Torres credits the Plan Patria Segura [Safe Homeland Plan] – a government initiative involving the deployment of police officer and soldiers throughout the country launched last year – as the reason for the reduction in crime.
On kidnappings, Torres boasted that there have only been 117 kidnappings this year compared to 245 at this time last year, and said:
… some [kidnappings] have taken place, but others have been foiled. We’ve captured a number of kidnapping groups, and we’ve managed to free close to 60% of the hostages through police pressure. In fact, out of the 117 kidnappings [so far this year], only one person is still being held captive as of today.
Torrres also pointed out that 99% of kidnappings have been resolved, either because “the victim has paid [the ransom]” or because the victim was released due to “police pressure”.
SIDOR Strike Appears to be Over
The Minister of Industry, Jose David Cabello, announced that operations at the striking plant had begun once more. Cabello said:
The guarimba failed here like it has failed throughout the country (…) SIDOR will never stop working again. SIDOR must be the tip of the spear for industry for the benefit of all Venezuelans.
It is not immediately clear if a resolution to the contract dispute that has paralysed the plant has been reached. Jose Luis Hernandez, a representative for the union representing the workers (SUTISS) said workers will continue to demand a new contract, although it appears that – at least for now – they are back to work.
Leopoldo Lopez Marks 6 Months in Jail
Today marks the sixth month since Leopoldo Lopez was arrested and sent to the Ramo Verde military prison near Caracas.
Lopez is in jail awaiting trial on a number of charges stemming from his alleged involvement in the violent events of February 12, 2014.
Somewhere in Venezuela, graffiti on a wall asks: “Why is Leopoldo in jail?”
32 Murders in Caracas this Weekend
There were 32 murder victims in Caracas this weekend. One of them was Dameni Gonzales, a 31 year old who was killed by a stray bullet as she was entering her home in Petare, Caracas. Dameni was coming back home from work when she was killed. She worked as a cashier in a supermarket.
According to Dameni’s aunt, Dameni’s husband was murdered five years ago during a robbery.
Finally, a picture of a protest at a Venezuela-Colombia border crossing. It is unclear on which side of the border the protest is taking place, although judging by the presence of what appears to be National Police, it is likely that the people protesting are Venezuelan: