Latin America: The region with the most homicides in the world

43 of the 50 cities with the highest homicide rate in the world are in Latin America, according to Igarapé Institute

Latin America: The region with the most homicides in the world

On April 21, two European cyclists traveling on their bicycles through the State of Chiapas in Mexico mysteriously disappeared, and weeks later they were found dead in violent conditions. One of the cyclists was found with signs of having been hit in the skull and the other with a shot in the head.

Although the Mexican authorities have not clarified the causes and those responsible for the murder of the Polish Krzysztof Chmielewski and the German Holger Franz Hagenbusch, it is believed that it was an attempted assault. This tragedy highlights a painful epidemic that is facing Latin America, a region where one out of every four homicides in the world takes place.

Data extracted from a report of the Igarapé Institute indicated that 43 of the 50 countries with the highest number of murders per 100,000 inhabitants are in Latin America. This is a regrettable statistic for a region where getting arms is more complex than in the United States and that does not experience internal conflicts as delicate as the war in Syria.

The latest balance of homicides in Latin America published by InSight Crime positions Venezuela as the country with the most homicides in the area. In this country, 89 people die for every 100,000 inhabitants. Perhaps the figure is not exorbitant at first sight, but when compared with the global average calculated by the World Health Organization (WHO) of 6 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, the Venezuela’s statistics are shocking.

This oil nation hit by the escalation of an internal crisis had almost 10 years without publishing its official figures of homicide. However, the Venezuelan Violence Observatory (Observatorio Venezolano de Violencia, in Spanish) offered statistics that estimate a total of 26,616 homicides in Venezuela in 2017, of which 5,535 would have occurred by the security forces.

El Salvador, Jamaica and Honduras followed Venezuela on the list of countries with the most murders per inhabitant. El Salvador managed to reduce its homicide figures and take second place in the list, but its rate of 60 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants continues to position it as one of the most dangerous nations on the planet.

One murder every 10 minutes

Colombia, Brazil and Mexico are not among the first three countries with the highest murder rate per inhabitant, but the number of violent deaths is not far from Venezuela and El Salvador.

In 2014 in Brazil 60,000 homicides were counted, a figure that exceeded the total number of murders that occurred throughout South America. In this country considered the power of South America, every day 143 people die in disputes of common violence, leaving as a result a murder every 10 minutes.

Mexico: every day more bloody

For its part, Mexico, which was described in previous months as the most violent country on the planet, has suffered a substantial increase in the number of homicides in some of its cities. 2017 was one of the darkest years for the Aztec country. However, the violent events that have taken place in 2018 seem to show that the nation will surpass its own record of homicides this year.

In 2017, 25,339 murders were officially recorded by common crime and violence of criminal groups that massacred individuals without any cultural, economic or educational distinction. However, only in the first half of 2018 there were already accounted 8,000 homicides, almost 20% of what was recorded in the same previous period.

The examples of Latin America

However, just as some countries fail to control their murder rates, others such as Chile, Ecuador and Argentina are positioned at the bottom of the list with the lowest number of homicides per inhabitant in the region and even below the global average.

Argentina with 6 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, Ecuador with 5.8 and Chile with only 3.3, take their faces in this area of the world where drug trafficking and blood seem to be the badge to show.

According to WHO reports, every year about half a million people are killed in the world, representing a rate of 6.4 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. However, this average shoot up to 18.6 victims per 100,000 inhabitants when it is observed only in Latin America.

The lack of action to eradicate the private militias of the criminal groups, the high levels of impunity, the abuse of the police force and the consumption of alcohol, are responsible for the scourge that tarnishes most of the Latin American countries.


Latin American Post | Krishna Jaramillo

Translated from "América Latina: la región con más homicidios en el mundo"

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