HomeNewsBriefDespite Rampant Crime, Venezuela's 'Peace Zones' Remain
BRIEF

Despite Rampant Crime, Venezuela's 'Peace Zones' Remain

MEGABANDAS / 28 JAN 2015 BY VENEZUELA INVESTIGATIVE UNIT EN

Venezuela’s year-old "Zonas de Paz” (Peace Zones) initiative shows no sign of coming to an end, despite troubling reports of overwhelming violence, highlighting the government's ineffective response to the country’s grave security situation.

"Peace zones" are sectors where Venezuela's security forces maintain no permanent presence and rarely enter. Vigilance by local residents is meant to replace policing in these areas, as a response to the mistrust that some communities feel towards police, who have been involved in crimes like kidnapping and extrajudicial killings.

But these designated areas have become safe havens for criminals and are often overrun by violence. In Miranda state, which contains the Caracas metro area and the largest number of peace zones, the murder rate within the peace zones was 105 per 100,000 residents in 2014, compared to 67 per 100,000 residents outside the zones, reported El Nacional

"You can't call these places lawless. But only in the sense that criminals are instituting their own law," Venezuelan journalist Javier Mayorca told InSight Crime.

Since their implementation in January 2014, kidnapping gangs appear to have been using the zones to hold victims, who regularly appear in them upon release, said Mayorca.  

InSight Crime Analysis

President Nicolas Maduro announced the creation of the peace zones just weeks after the murder of a former beauty queen sparked public outrage over insecurity in what is one of the world's most violent nations.

As well as citizen vigilance, the plan was meant to include community development schemes, but was short on specific details. During the initial introductory phase, security expert Roberto Briceño expressed concerns that the zones would increase criminal impunity.

More than a year on, El Nacional reports the program has been marred by vague goals and inconsistent implementation, resulting in their current state. Despite this, Venezuela's Interior Minister Carmen Melendez has shown no signs of abandoning the program.  

SEE ALSO: Venezuela News and Profiles

Peace zones are just one of an array of disastrous or poorly implemented security initiatives in Venezuela, including a disarmament law that failed to take guns off the streets. Amid the chaos, killings of police officers has gone up, and InSight Crime has predicted the security situation is only going to worsen in 2015.

Meanwhile, the Venezuelan government continues to refuse to release crime statistics, while trumpeting fanciful gains.

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

COCAINE / 24 MAY 2018

Drug traffickers have a problem exporting drugs from Venezuela. There are few commercial flights, little container shipping, no tourists and…

COLOMBIA / 11 NOV 2019

After 2002, under increasing pressure from security forces, the FARC moved much of their leadership, logistics and funding outside of…

BOLIVIA / 17 JAN 2018

Organized crime thrives amid political corruption and uncertainty. There will be plenty of this in Latin America in 2018, helping…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…