In the aftermath of the brutal murder of Venezuelan lawmaker Robert Sierra and his wife Maria Herrera, Venezuelan President Nicols Maduro said in a speech on October 27 that he will ‘purge’ and ‘revolutionize’ the country’s police forces. This comes in response to not only the murder of Sierra, but also to the murder of militia leader Jos Odreman a week later, and to the general failure of law enforcement to address soaring crime rates in the country.
Venezuela has the second highest murder per capita rate in the world behind Honduras. A 2013 Gallup poll ranked Venezuela as the most ‘insecure nation in the world,’ a sentiment shared by many of its citizens: 2014 Gallup polls showed that only 19 percent of Venezuelans felt safe to walk alone at night.
Maduro dismissed the notion that the recent murder of Robert Sierra resulted from a botched burglary, and rather insisted that it was a premeditated political assassination. He suspects that the vicious crime was facilitated through help of some within the police force itself.
Whether Maduro’s allegations are true is somewhat beside the point. The president is entirely correct in his prognosis, that the problem of Venezuelan crime is a radical one, requiring a drastic response. However, if Maduro’s support for the socialist Bolivarian Revolution is any indication, his efforts will do little to quell the violence plaguing the country.
The real culprit for the rampant crime in Venezuela is socialism.
A recent Forbes article detailed the ways in which the Venezuelan economy is on the brink. What the article didn’t mention is that Venezuela ranks 175th in the world on economic freedom, the lowest in South America behind only Cuba. Thus economic instability is to be expected and it’s no secret that harsh economic conditions encourage more criminal behavior.
This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Wednesday, November 05, 2014.