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

COLOMBIA / 5 NOV 2018

A recent attack by Colombian criminal group, Los Rastrojos, on a military base in Venezuela confirms that the group is…

HOMICIDES / 15 JAN 2016

Reports by two different NGOs indicate that criminal groups are the key factor in Venezuela's ever worsening public security…

ELITES AND CRIME / 19 OCT 2021

Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro's aggressive reaction to the extradition of accused money launderer and ally Álex Saab – who appeared…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

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…