The Observatorio Venezolano de Violencia (OVV) released a report today in which it calculated that there were 231,562 murders in the country between 1998 and 2014. According to the report, murder is the third leading cause of death in the country, and the first among young people.

The OVV also said that there were 24,980 murders in Venezuela, and that in 37% of cases, the victims were between the ages of 15-24. According to the organization’s figures, the murder rate in Venezuela has been increasing unabated since 1999.

The same report blamed impunity as the principal culprit for the rise in murders. The OVV has calculated that while there were 123,091 murders between 1998 and 2009, only 23,046 were detained, meaning that a total of 100,045 murders went unpunished.

University Attacked by Hooded Men

A group of hooded attackers set fire to at least one building and two cars at the Barquisimeto campus of the Universidad Centro Occidental Lisandro Alvarado (UCLA) earlier today. The building on fire is allegedly the university’s science and technology student centre. The school’s rector, Francesco Leonetti, cancelled all classes on the campus for today and tomorrow.

Below, some shots of the fires:

Situation in Guasdualito Still Dire

The city of Guasdualito in Apure state continues to be affected by severe flooding after torrential rains caused creeks and rivers to overflow earlier this week. The mayor of Alto Apure, Jorge Rodriguez Galvis, called on the national government today to send relief to the area. Galvis explained that two local rivers – the Arauca and the Sarare – had caused flooding to 90% of Guasdualito.

Mirian Caceres, a resident of Guasdualito, told El Universal that some of the city’s residents had been evacuated to an area of the city that had not yet been affected by the floods, although she stressed that the rising waters were about to reach it, too.

Caceres claimed that water, electrical and gas service were no longer functioning, that food was scarce, and that diapers were impossible to find.

Below, a video of a Guasdualito resident showing the extent of the flooding in the city on June 30:

The town of El Amparo, some 15 kilometers south of Guasdualito, has been flooded since at least June 26, as evidenced by the video below:

Fitch Keeps Venezuela Rating at CCC

Fitch Ratings has kept Venezuela’s credit rating at CCC, meaning that it believes the Venezuelan economy is “currently vulnerable” and dependant on favourable conditions to meet its financial obligations.

The agency cited Venezuela’s “high commodity dependence, rising macroeconomic distortions, reduced transparency in official data, and continued policy and political uncertainty” as the reasons for its decision.

It also cited the fact that the country’s foreign currency reserves are currently at their lowest level since 2003, dropping $5.7 billion this year alone to $16.4 billion.

Fitch downgraded Venezuela to CCC in December 2014.

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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