657 violent deaths were attributed to law enforcement agents during 2019 in oil-rich Zulia state, local NGO Human Rights Commission in Zulia State (Codhez by its acronym in Spanish) told El Pitazo.
With some 16,000 murders last year -according to OVV, another NGO- Venezuela remains one of the most violent countries in the world. Caracas is the most violent capital city on the planet, National Assembly and acting President of Venezuela Juan Guaido denounced recently during a European tour.
Of the total for 2019, 407 deaths took place in the last six months of the year, an increase of 62.80% over the first semester of the year, where 250 such events took place, ONG shows.
Most of the victims are below 30 years of age, and male. The NGO reported that of the 409 victims in the second half of last year, 407 were males.
The two most lethal agencies are CICPC, Venezuela’s version of the FBI, with 72 shootouts last year in Zulia alone, and FAES, the special forces branch of the National Police.
Confrontation with law enforcement is the explanation used for this type of tragedy. Alleged criminals are the label affixed to the victims of an armed encounter with police.
Codhez says there is a pattern to pointing to extrajudicial executions: “they occur against young males in a context of raids in poor neighborhoods, without any measures taken to prevent these arbitrary instances of life-taking.” The organization also says the damning assessment of the United Nations regarding the current Human Rights situation in Venezuela is accurate.