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Foreign Policy ha un pezzo interessante e inquietante sull’aumento esponenziale delle violenze in Venezuela.

Mention violence in Latin America today and most people think of Mexico. But if you want to talk about murder, the region’s hot spot is somewhere else entirely: Venezuela. After a decade under President Hugo Chávez, Venezuela’s homicide rate has increased by about 140 percent, making Venezuela one of the most violent countries in the world. Even in the context of Latin America, where homicide rates hover at three times the global average, Venezuela now holds top rank — by far the highest in South America, with a violent death rate of 48 per 100,000 — more than twice that of Mexico. These murders occur mostly at night and spike every two weeks around payday. Young people are increasingly the victims, three times more likely to be killed today than 10 years ago.

It’s no surprise that no one has been able to peg blame on any one factor, since Venezuela’s violence problem derives from a number of sources — from an ill-equipped police department to a dysfunctional justice system. And as the Chávez administration has pushed the legal limits of democracy, undermining institutions along the way, cascading impunity has spread through the system. Rule through ill example has helped push what was always a high murder rate through the roof.

Part of the problem reflects the regional context as Venezuela, like many of its neighbors, has been host to the growing cocaine trade. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (which Chávez kicked out of Venezuela in 2005) claims drug shipments passing through the country have increased 10-fold during Chávez’s tenure. The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime has also tracked Venezuela’s growing role in the drug trade, and believes it is now the major transit country for shipments to Europe. This surely accounts for some of the rise in violence — but not all.

[…] But Chávez’s particular way of governing also contributes to making Venezuela an increasingly lawless place. During his weekly address, “Alo Presidente,” and other speeches, Chávez frequently incites violence against anti government protesters; justifies law-breaking that advances the “socialist revolution”; accuses political figures, the media, and others of crimes; and calls on the citizenry to take law enforcement into its own hands. After a decade of Chávez’s rule, respect for the rule of law has dwindled. Those who support the president feel they can act with impunity, while those who oppose him often fear even expressing themselves.