HomeNewsBrief950 Relatives of Inmates Occupy Prison in Venezuela
BRIEF

950 Relatives of Inmates Occupy Prison in Venezuela

PRISONS / 4 JAN 2012 BY GEOFFREY RAMSEY EN

In an apparent protest of Venezuela’s shoddy prison conditions and drawn-out judicial processes, at least 950 people have occupied a northern prison where their relatives are being held, demanding that the government provide them with a faster trial.

In a press conference yesterday, Iris Varela, head of the country’s recently-created Ministry of Correctional Services, told local press that the individuals invaded the Yare I and II prison complex, located 40 miles southwest of Caracas, over the previous weekend. According to the minister, the group is comprised of "800 women, wives and mothers of the inmates, 150 children and teenagers, and five men.”

Varela claims that the group is remaining in the Yare prison of its own will, as part of an attempt to speed the judicial processes against those being held there. The director of prison rights group A Window to Liberty has contradicted this, saying that only some of the relatives are there voluntarily, and that the rest are being held hostage.

Officials are negotiating with the relatives over the situation, and Varela has pledged to resolve the conflict peacefully.

InSight Crime Analysis

This is far from the first prison standoff that Venezuela has seen in recent months.

On July 13, a 27-day confrontation between armed inmates and security forces at the El Rodeo prison just east of Caracas finally came to an end after 25 people were killed. In October, inmates at another prison in the north of the country took 60 hostages in order to pressure authorities into transferring a powerful crime boss to another facility. These incidents are fairly common in the country’s prisons, which are largely understaffed. As such, they are almost exclusively controlled at least in part by prison gangs, who frequently clash with their guards.

On top of this, Venezuelan prisons are notoriously overcrowded. According to official figures, Venezuelan prison facilities are meant to hold only 14,000 inmates, despite the fact that they currently hold 50,000.

The Chavez administration has vowed to improve prison conditions, even suspending imprisonment temporarily in August. Still, progress is slow, as these incidents illustrate.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

VENEZUELA / 2 MAY 2022

The arrests of three people in Venezuela for Facebook Marketplace posts in which they allegedly offered kidneys for sale have…

CARTEL OF THE SUNS / 20 MAR 2014

Authorities in Venezuela have detained three security officials linked to a cocaine haul in Italy involving the former secretary of…

EX-FARC MAFIA / 13 OCT 2021

On April 23, 2021, two Venezuelan military helicopters landed near the town of La Victoria in the border state of…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…

THE ORGANIZATION

Informing US State Department and European Union

1 APR 2022

InSight Crime Co-director McDermott briefed the US State Department and other international players on the presence of Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela and the implication this has for both nations.  McDermott…