Thursday, 3 December 2009

The eternal Battle of Carabobo

Monument to Venezuela's Independence War in Carabobo state

Every 24 of June Venezuela commemorates the Battle of Carabobo, one of the most famous battles in the War of Independence, where some 200 men were killed on the pro-independence side. I am going to talk here as I do almost every month about one of Venezuela' main problems, violent street crime, and again I will use Carabobo for the details. I choose that region because I have a lot of statistics for it for many years, for every month and for every municipality and I know it well. Many other regions are as dangerous, a couple even worse.

The first chart shows the total of murders in that state between January 2006 and November 2009. Notice how murder spikes in December.

Expect more than 210 murders in that state of Venezuela between right now and 31 December of this year (thus, 28 days to go). Remember the situation is similar and sometimes worse in many other key areas in Venezuela. Mexico a failed state? Sure, and you haven't seen it all. The nation murder rate of Mexico is much lower than Venezuela's.

More than 90 of those murders will take place in the Valencia municipality (623km2), mostly in an area in the area that is 10 x 10 km large in the Miguel Pena parish. If police agents in Venezuela did their job, they would help to improve the situation...but then the few cops Venezuela has commit 20% of all crimes and many of the agents are not on the streets but working as body guards for red politicians. The national government has some plans - police "university", new national police, legislation - way too little way too late. I will go back to that in later posts.

Here you have the murders for 3 municipalities: Valencia, Libertador and San Diego.
Valencia has all kinds of neighbourhoods. Libertador is mostly poor (there is also . San Diego is lower-middle-class to middle-class (not upper-middle class. San Diego is ruled by an opposition mayor who is being attacked in many ways by the national "socialist" government of Venezuela.

Below: red is Valencia, blue is Libertador municipality to the Southwest and blue is San Diego municipality to the Northeast.

Libertador has about 44% more people than San Diego (180000 against 125000), but the murder rate is not 44% higher, but over 1000%. I repeat: 1000%. Libertador has the highest murder rate of that state.

A couple of details about Libertador*, a municipality I know well: there is no general hospital there, there is no good public library and last but not least, theire is the Guásima, one of the largest landfills of Venezuela, landfills that use XV century technology for ALL kinds of 21-century waste. This spot represents an environmental disaster that has been going on for many years. The whole Valencia basin is being heavily polluted but Libertador more so. The people in that municipality are not only living dangerously because of the bullets, but also because of the air and the soil and the water. It is a paradox: Libertador is also the place where that most celebrated battle took place. The first picture of this post is from there.

* There are several municipalities called Libertador in Venezuela. A problem in Venezuela is our exagerated fixation with one single individual, Simón Bolívar. So: 1/4 of all places are called now Simón Bolívar or Libertador (and another 1/4 are called after other independence figures).

Ps. I will write later about possible ideas to improve things, specially for poor regions and add them in "Ideas for Venezuela".

Ps. The governor of that region is oppo, but that matters very little, as I will explain in future posts. I selected the region because I have more stats about it for every single month for many years.

Last: the murders for January through November of 2009 in that region:

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