New York Times story on crime, poverty and the election

December 2, 2006

(Elecciones3D)The NYT’s Simon Romero focuses on crime getting that part of the story right (which you have read here many times), but where did those numbers for poverty come from? :

“Meanwhile, crime has exploded. According to human rights groups and a Unesco
study, Venezuela has the highest rate of gun-related deaths of 57
countries surveyed — far surpassing Brazil, one of the most violent
nations in Latin America.”

“While much of the recent attention has focused on killings among the
privileged, the vast majority of homicides in Venezuela occur in the
country’s poorest communities — Mr. Chávez’s strongest base.”

“Though the accuracy of official statistics is sometimes questioned by
the government’s opponents, the channeling of oil revenues seems to
have alleviated poverty somewhat in recent years. The Venezuelans
living in poverty has fallen to 34 percent from 44 percent in 1998, the
year before Mr. Chávez took office, according to government figures.”

“Meanwhile, however, a history of far graver abuses by the police has
gone unchecked, some crime analysts note. Last year, the attorney
general’s office said it was investigating 5,520 presumed executions by
the police between 2000 and 2005, involving 6,127 victims. Of the
police officials implicated, prosecutors have filed charges against
517, and fewer than 100 had been convicted, according to Human Rights Watch.”

“We’re
experiencing the worst crime wave in modern Venezuelan history,” said
Marcos Tarre Briceño, director of the nongovernmental organization
Secure Venezuela, “and the government barely acknowledges its inability
to control its own police forces.”

Mr. Romero should pick up a copy of “Venezuela: An agreement to reach development” where for less than twenty bucks he would have understood well what official statistics say and why. Moreover, in that book he could have found the names of dozens of experts, both pro and against Chavez, who he could have gotten in touch with to get that part of the story right.

As for Sunday’s result, let’s see if it is or not such an easy win, I hope Romero does not talk mostly to Datanalisis, weren’t they the ones predicting a Salas Romer victory a week before the election in 1998?

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