A study of youth violence in Latin America funded, among others, by Unesco and the government of Brazil, confirms that Venezuela leads the world in terms of total homicides per 100,000 inhabitants involving firearms and youths between the ages of 15 and 24 years.
The study, entitled “La Violencia Juvenil en América Latina 2008,″ refutes President Hugo Chavez’s claim in a 2 February interview with CNN’s Patricia Janiot that Venezuela does not have worse security problems than other countries including the US.
The study is based on World Health Organization data.
Venezuela tops the rankings at 104.7 firearm homicides per 100,000 inhabitants where the victims are youths aged 15-24 (victims also are mainly male and poor).
Colombia ranks second in this category with 80.5 homicides per 100,000, followed by El Salvador in third place with 78.1 per 100,000 inhabitants.
Brazil comes in fifth at 44.2 homicides per 100,000, while the US is in 10th place with 16 homicides per 100,000, and Mexico is 22nd with only 7 murders per 100,000 inhabitants involving youths aged 15-24 years.
However, in terms of overall murders by firearm, Colombia ranks first with 47 per 100,000 inhabitants of all ages, followed by Venezuela (43.5/100,000) and El Salvador (39.8/100,000), according to this study. [Other studies rank Venezuela first, followed by Colombia.]
The study also found that the Latin American regional rate of 17,828 firearm homicides per 100,000 inhabitants is 50% greater than in Africa, and 13 times higher than in the European Union and Asia.
The study says the total regional rate almost doubles (the rate) for North America and is 14 times greater than for the European Union, but the Latin American homicide rate among youths from 15-24 years more than doubles the rate for North America and is 40 times higher than for the EU.
For every firearm death reported in Spain, Germany or Poland, over 100 homicides by firearm are reported in Venezuela, Colombia and El Salvador, the study adds.