News / Americas

Venezuela, Worried by Murder Rate, Takes Aim at TV Soap Operas

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a meeting with mayors and governors at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Jan. 8, 2014.
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a meeting with mayors and governors at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Jan. 8, 2014.
Reuters
President Nicolas Maduro will urge representatives of Venezuela's television stations on Monday to change what he calls a culture of violence glamorized by the media.

Voters routinely cite violent crime as their top concern. In the latest case to put pressure on the government, gunmen shot dead a former Miss Venezuela and her ex-husband in front of their young daughter.

Maduro, who narrowly won a presidential election last April to succeed his late mentor Hugo Chavez, has accused TV stations - especially popular soap operas, or "telenovelas" - of glamorizing guns, drugs and gangsters.

"We are going to build a culture of peace," he said last week, summoning representatives of local terrestrial and cable channels to the Miraflores presidential palace on Monday.

"They transmit negative values of death, drugs, arms, violence and treachery and everything bad that a human can be," he said.

The government has launched about 20 campaigns to improve security in recent years, but the murder rate has continued to worsen. According to official figures, the number of homicides has risen by 105 percent since Chavez won power 15 years ago.

A new national police force has been inaugurated, and the socialist authorities have also taken aim at products they say contribute to a culture of violence. Five years ago, Chavez banned the manufacture, importation and distribution of violent video games and toys.

Venezuela's official homicide rate late year was 39 per 100,000 inhabitants. Local non-government organizations put the figure at nearly twice that for a total of 24,000 deaths.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (L) shakes hands with opposition leader and governor of Miranda state Henrique Capriles during a meeting with mayors and governors at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Jan. 8, 2014.Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (L) shakes hands with opposition leader and governor of Miranda state Henrique Capriles during a meeting with mayors and governors at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Jan. 8, 2014.
x
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (L) shakes hands with opposition leader and governor of Miranda state Henrique Capriles during a meeting with mayors and governors at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Jan. 8, 2014.
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (L) shakes hands with opposition leader and governor of Miranda state Henrique Capriles during a meeting with mayors and governors at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Jan. 8, 2014.
This month's murder of the beauty queen and telenovela actress, Monica Spear, prompted an emergency meeting between politicians to discuss crime, and a rare handshake between Maduro and his opposition rival Henrique Capriles - their first since last April's bitter election standoff.

Critics say the latest version of the government's anti-crime plans do not tackle root causes, such as widespread impunity for criminals, largely due to a creaking and corrupt judicial system, and complicity by some poorly paid police.

You May Like

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Peace Activists Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified border, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Pope Beatifies Murdered Salvadoran Archbishop

Hundreds of thousands of worshippers converge on Salvadoran capital to witness papal declaration for late Oscar Romero - now one step from Roman Catholic sainthood
More

Scores Killed in Western Mexico Gunfight

Officials say almost every person killed in Michoacan state shootout was a suspected gang member
More

Latest US-Cuban Talks Ends in Washington

Both sides cite progress on restoring diplomatic ties, but no final agreement reached
More

Tutu Lends Support to Age Campaign

Help Age International has launched Action 2015 campaign
More

Colombia Kills 18 FARC Rebels

The bombing raid took place in the Cauca region of western Colombia
More

Lawmakers Question Normalization Effort With Cuba

On eve of next round of US-Cuba talks, Senator Bob Menendez calls engagement 'one-sided'
More