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Two U.S. Embassy Employees Shot in Caracas

According to CNN in Spanish Roberto Ezequiel Rosas and Paul Marwin are in stable condition after being shot Monday night. El Universal reports that the victims were military personnel of the US embassy and were shot outside Antonella, a nightclub located on the lower level of a mall called Centro Comercial Bello Campo. The injured embassy personnel were said to have been involved in a “ argument ” before being shot. Roberto Ezequiel Rosas, had to endure surgery after bullets penetrated his right leg and abdomen.

Paul Marwin is believed to have been shot in the abdomen.

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Diplomats have been caught in the whirlwind of Venezuela’s surging violence. Caracas – dubbed the “murder capital of the world” – has suffered from one of the highest crime rates in the world

According to the Economist, Guillermo Cholele, a Costa Rican attaché, was kidnapped for ransom last year. Mexico’s ambassador and his wife were abducted. Two months earlier, the Chilean consul was shot and wounded by kidnappers. Dozens of cases have been reported publicly in the past two years.

There is no evidence that foreign diplomats are being specifically targeted but it is clear their diplomatic status has not offered much protection from Venezuela’s crime wave. Venezuela’s government rarely releases figures, but according to The Economist, Tareck el Aissami, the former interior minister, has admitted that Venezuela’s murder rate is close to 50 per 100,000 people – among the world’s highest. Other independent calculations put the crime rate nearer to 70. Kidnappings are also a grave security problem and most kidnaps are never reported. One estimate finds over that  3,000 kidnappings occur each year (more than in Mexico or Colombia).

Bello Campo Mall where the shooting took place.

Bello Campo Mall where the shooting took place.

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