HomeNewsBriefVenezuelan Police Kill Diplomat's Daughter
BRIEF

Venezuelan Police Kill Diplomat's Daughter

VENEZUELA / 19 MAR 2012 BY JEREMY MCDERMOTT EN

The killing of a Chilean diplomat's daughter by Venezuelan police has provoked outrage and further highlighted problems with the security forces, even as crime rates skyrocket.

Karen Berendique was with her older brother and a friend when the vehicle ran through an unmarked police checkpoint in the city of Maracaibo. The police officers opened fire, killing the 19-year-old, daughter of the Chilean consul in the city. She was hit by three bullets. Twelve policemen have been detained and are under investigation in connection with incident.

Driver Fernando Berendique did not stop the car because he thought it was a robbery attempt. The police apparently had not laid out cones on the road to warn drivers, nor were there lights flashing on their vehicles.

In November, the Chilean consul in Caracas, Juan Carlos Fernandez, was shot in the leg after his car was hijacked. In January, Mexico's ambassador in Caracas was kidnapped, offering more examples of the endemic insecurity in Venezuela.

InSight Crime Analysis

There is a great deal of mistrust of Venezuelan police, both of local forces and of the national police, set up by President Hugo Chavez in 2009 to fight spiraling crime. According to the count of some NGOs, 2011 was the country's most violent year in recent history.

During a visit to Caracas last year, InSight Crime interviewed a former police official who stated that anything up to 70 percent of kidnappings in the Venezuelan capital had police involvement. He said that many people do not bother to report crimes to the police, fearing that in doing so they would actually be calling those who perpetrate many of those crimes.

Caracas is now the most dangerous city in South America. Murders, robberies and kidnappings have all increased exponentially since Chavez took power in 1998. This high-profile killing of a diplomat's daughter may act as a lightning rod for complaints about the police and the deterioration in security, which is already one of the principal issues in the upcoming presidential elections. While Chavez is running again, his recent return from Cuba after yet more cancer treatment has created huge political uncertainty, just six months before the vote.

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.

Tags

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

BOLIVIA / 17 JAN 2018

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

KIDNAPPING / 13 MAR 2011

El Nacional did a special over the weekend on kidnapping, charting how this crime has increased in Venezuela…

POLICE REFORM / 22 SEP 2016

The people entrusted with enforcing the law in Venezuela regularly make the headlines as suspects or alleged accomplices, facilitators or…

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.