Violence in Venezuela: oil rent and political crisis

This article analyzes the changes in violence in Venezuela during the last forty years. It links the ups and downs of the oil revenues and the political crisis of the country to the changes in the homicide rates, which increased from 7 per 100 thousand inhabitants in 1970 to 12 in 1990; 19 in 1998; and 50 in 2003. The article characterizes Venezuela as a rentist society and shows its trajectory from rural violence to the beginning of urban violence, the guerilla movements of the 60s, the delinquent violence related to the abundance of oil revenues and the violence during the popular revolt and the sackings of 1989 in Caracas. After this, we analyze the coups d'état of 1992 and the influence the political violence exerted upon criminal violence.We describe the political and party changes in the country, their influence upon the stabilization of homicide rates since the mid-90s and their remarkable increase during the H. Chávez government. The article finishes with an analysis of the current situation, the official prohibition to publish statistics on homicides and with some thoughts about the perspective of greater violence in Venezuela.

Violence; Venezuela; Public health; Homicides; Oil; Politics


ABRASCO - Associação Brasileira de Saúde Coletiva Av. Brasil, 4036 - sala 700 Manguinhos, 21040-361 Rio de Janeiro RJ - Brazil, Tel.: +55 21 3882-9153 / 3882-9151 - Rio de Janeiro - RJ - Brazil
E-mail: cienciasaudecoletiva@fiocruz.br