HomeNewsBriefBeauty Queen Murder Pressures Venezuela Govt to Act on Insecurity
BRIEF

Beauty Queen Murder Pressures Venezuela Govt to Act on Insecurity

SECURITY POLICY / 8 JAN 2014 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

The murder of the 2004 Miss Venezuela winner has sparked a wave of concern over the country's security situation, forcing the government to confront a major issue it has previously tried to downplay.

Monica Spear, a model and actress, was murdered along with her British partner, Thomas Henry Berry, in an apparent robbery attempt on January 6.

According to El Universal, the couple's car broke down on the highway as they headed toward Caracas, and they were being assisted by a tow truck when a group of armed assailants approached their car and shot at them six times. Both were killed in the shooting, and their five-year-old daughter was wounded.

Five suspects have been arrested in the case, two of them minors, reported El Universal.

Following the murders, opposition leader Henrique Capriles claimed the country was in a "situation of emergency," calling on President Nicolas Maduro to "put our differences aside" to fight insecurity.

For his part, Maduro promised to "apply the full weight of the law" against those responsible and to use an "iron fist" against the country's criminals.

InSight Crime Analysis

When placed against the record 24,763 homicides -- a record homicide rate of 79 per 100,000 registered in the unofficial count of the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence (OVV) -- in 2013, Spear's death is neither shocking nor unusual. Robbery is a major cause of these killings -- a quarter of murders in Caracas were attributed to the crime in 2011.

However, the murder of such a prominent public figure has forced the issue of insecurity into the limelight after years of officials' attempts to cover up unpleasant crime statistics and manipulate public perceptions.

SEE ALSO: Venezuela News and Profiles

A central focus in coming days will be Maduro's reaction. The high-profile nature of the case places pressure on his administration to effectively address insecurity in what has become, based on OVV numbers, the world's second most dangerous country behind Honduras. His security policies until now have included placing soldiers on the streets and creating a joint civil-military task force to fight border crime, but OVV homicide numbers suggest these actions have had little impact so far. While the OVV's numbers may not be infallible, they appear far more reliable than statistics issued by the government

If the authorities are to effectively tackle Venezuela's rampant violence, they will also need to focus on issues such as deeply corrupt and ineffective security forces, rising drug trafficking through the country and a lack of effective gun control. 

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

BRAZIL / 19 JAN 2021

Authorities in Brazil have dismantled a criminal organization specialized in the cloning of debit cards to steal emergency aid and…

COLOMBIA / 15 JUL 2022

The death of one of the last-remaining leaders of the ex-FARC mafia may signal the disintegration of the FARC dissidents…

COLOMBIA / 27 OCT 2020

The killing of ELN commander Uriel -- a well-known figure often seen in propaganda videos and press reports -- is…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…