According to official government figures, the Plan Nacional de Desarme y Pacificacion [National Disarmament an Pacification Plan] has destroyed approximately 15,000 firearms so far this year. The Viceminister of Prevention and Citizen Safety, Gabriel Oviedo, spoke at an event in Caracas today, and said:
So far, we’ve decommissioned 14,729 weapons, and we will continue to do this because people have been coming up to us willingly to disarm.
Oviedo said that today alone, 1,411 weapons were destroyed in Caracas where they were melted, their metal to be recast as construction equipment.
Venezuela suffers from one of the highest murder rates on the planet. Government figures put the number of murder victims at 11,000 for 2013, but the Observatorio Venezolano de Violencia (an NGO that tracks crime statistics) says that the murder figure is closer to 25,000 for the same year.
Oil Plunge Continues Unabated
Venezuelan crude plunged $6.16 this week, ending today’s trading at $61.92 per barrel. According to the Minister of Oil and Mining:
Crude oil prices continued their downward trend [this week] due primarily to ample short-term supply, as well as the European Central Bank’s decision to defer additional stimulus measures for the Eurozone.
Today’s figures lower the average price of Venezuelan oil for the year to $91.17. The average price last year was $98.08, while that for 2012 was $103.42.
The same document stresses that the decreased oil prices will have no effect on Venezuela’s financed, even though the country receives 96% of its foreign currency through oil exports.
Capriles Addresses Inflation
Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles spoke on the inflation crisis in the country today, and said that he believed that tit might reach 80% in 2014. Capriles said:
There are 26 days left in the year and to this date we don’t know the inflation rate for September, October and November. No other Latin American country is gong through the same thing we are going through here in Venezuela. While the representatives of the national government have gone to Ecuador to talk nonsense, the country is going through an emergency. We are suffering through the worst period of our history. It is estimated that inflation will hit 80% in 2014, which puts it at its highest level in 18 years.
The Banco Central de Venezuela has a spotty record when it comes to releasing inflation figures. The last time the bank released official numbers was in early September, when it gave out the inflation rates for June, July and August of this year: 4.4%, 4.1%, and 3.9%, respectively. Official figures put the country’s inflation rate up to August at 63.4%.