Government Evacuates Venezuelan Prison after Fatal Prison Riot
By Dialogo January 29, 2013
An urban prison located in northeastern Venezuela was evacuated on January 27, after a fatal prison riot in which 58 people were killed and dozens were injured according to medical sources, the government informed.
Venezuelan penitentiaries are known for unsanitary conditions, overcrowding, and violence, and in several cases they are controlled by heavily armed gangs of prisoners that belong to criminal organizations and constantly generate confrontations between inmates.
“The evacuation of convicts in Uribana prison has concluded. Now, we aim at reconstruction,” Minister of Penitentiary Affairs Iris Varela, who has not submitted an official statement yet, said in her Twitter account.
“Last group of prisoners found during the first inspection in Uribana!” the minister posted in the social network, and uploaded a photo that showed several inmates with military officers.
The minister reported the decision of completely evicting Uribana penitentiary, an operation that was finally carried out “peacefully” in the early morning of January 27, and in which inmates did not resist.
“All of them are leaving the premises, without resisting. They are leaving in an orderly way, they wait patiently, then we pat them down, we examine them(…) and we determine which prisons they have to go to,” Varela told state television station VTV in the early morning.
Furthermore, she indicated that “a deep inspection” will be performed now on the premises before its reconstruction, and so that prisoners can return.
On January 25, an inspection aimed at finding weapons in Uribana caused a group of inmates to start a prison riot. The convicts “attacked National Guard members,” according to the minister’s initial statements.
There were 58 victims and 90 injured, who have already been discharged from the Antonio María Pineda Central Hospital, informed Ruy Medina, head of the hospital who was in charge of handling the emergency.
On January 25, Venezuelan Vice President Nicolás Maduro ordered an investigation of the prison riot, considered one of the most violent episodes in the history of the country’s penitentiaries in recent decades.