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Minister of Communication Jorge Rodriguez said today that there were 10 new cases of COVID-19 in the country since yesterday, raising the total since the outbreak began to 345.

40+ Dead, Dozens Injured In Prison Disturbance

At least 40 people were killed and 57 more were injured after a breakout attempt at the Guanare prison in Portuguese state yesterday. A local journalist named Carlos Ivan Suarez reported that the riot started at the request of the prison’s pran, who was attempted to break out of the institution.

Venezuelan prisons are typically run by a head prisoner named the pran who rules the institution like his own personal fiefdom.

Suarez reported that neither the pran nor those belonging to his gang were injured in the riot, and that the prisoners who attempted the breakout came from the manchados (literally, “stained”) prisoner class. These are prisoners who cannot afford to pay “rent” to the pran with money, and are thus forced to provide services to him.

Suarez’s story was corroborated by Minister of Prisons Iris Valera, who said that the prisoners were “threatened with weapons” and forced to assault the prison’s security points.

Venezuela’s prisons are notoriously hellish: they are overcrowded and porous, allowing drugs, firearms and other kinds of contraband to flow through their gates with ease.

The Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones (Venezuela Prison Watch, OVP), an NGO that monitors the prison situation in the country, called the events in Guanare “a massacre”.

The OVP also revealed that according to its own data, the prison has a maximum occupancy of 750 individuals, but in fact houses 2,500.


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