WASHINGTON, DC – The recent kidnapping of Carlos Pujalte, Mexico’s ambassador to Venezuela, has cast an unflattering light on the latter country’s declining public safety. Over the past year, several diplomats have suffered a similar fate in Caracas, Venezuela’s capital.
In recent years, Venezuela’s crime rates have increased more than those of any other Latin American country. In 1998, when President Hugo Chávez was first elected, 4,550 murders were recorded. By 2011, that number had skyrocketed to 19,336 – an astonishing figure that exceeds the total number of murders in the United States and the European Union combined.