HomeNewsBriefTaxi Drivers on Venezuelan Island Targeted by Kidnappers
BRIEF

Taxi Drivers on Venezuelan Island Targeted by Kidnappers

KIDNAPPING / 17 JUL 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Taxi drivers on a Venezuelan island and popular tourist destination spot have demanded action over a wave of express kidnappings, a crime that has become increasingly common in Latin American cities.

In the first 15 days of July, eight taxi drivers were kidnapped for ransom on Margarita island, according to Jose Luis Isase, head of the transportation union in the surrounding department of Nueva Esparta, reported Globovision. The families of the drivers were forced to pay between around $2,000 or $16,000 for their release, depending on the type of vehicle owned by the driver.

Isase said he was scared some taxi drivers could end up dead if they couldn't pay the high fees demanded, noting that in some cases work companions have had to pool their money to rescue their colleagues.

Taxi drivers met on July 16 to ask the regional government for help in addressing the problem, which is a new phenomenon, according to Isase.

InSight Crime Analysis

Express kidnapping has become a common way for Latin American criminals to make fast cash, with high profile examples including the brief kidnapping of the Mexican ambassador in Caracas in 2012, and the recent murder of a DEA agent in Bogota, Colombia during an express kidnapping gone awry. Extortion of public transport workers, including taxi drivers, is also a major problem in various countries in the region.

According to Venezuelan think-tank INCOSEC, kidnapping rose 60 percent in the country in 2010, and one criminologist reported that Venezuela had the eighth highest kidnapping numbers in the world in 2012, at 1,970. This is just one manifestation of the violent crime that plagues Venezuela, where record homicide numbers were seen in the first trimester of 2013. 

In this context of insecurity, Venezuelans have little recourse to state security or justice mechanisms. Though the government has recently taken some measures to combat violent crime, a new rule of law index created by the World Justice Project placed Venezuela's justice system among the most dysfunctional in the world, while a Transparency International survey found that many Venezuelans are forced to pay bribes to police.

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 / 27 NOV 2015

The killing of an opposition politician in Venezuela highlights the difficulty of distinguishing criminal violence from electoral intimidation…

KIDNAPPING / 17 APR 2019

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador recently reinstated the National Search System for Missing Persons (NSSMP), raising hopes that a…

ELN / 19 OCT 2018

The recent massacre of seven people in one of Venezuela’s mining regions may confirm that the Colombia guerrilla group ELN…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.