Portrait of Caracas: 24 hours in a dangerous city

Americas Now

Caracas, Venezuela. Caracas, Venezuela.

Over the years Caracas, Venezuela has enjoyed a reputation as one of Latin Americas most lively and sophisticated cities.

A highly visited metropolis known for its breathtaking surroundings, it has offered enlightening cultural pursuits, fine food and an energetic nightlife.

In 2012 the World Bank said 600,000 foreign tourists traveled to Caracas.

While much of the culture and entertainment still exists today, at the moment Caracas is a questionable destination. A deep economic recession has produced lawlessness and an extremely high crime rate. Shortages of basic goods and services are severe. And street violence is so prevalent most citizens don’t leave their homes after dark.

Correspondent Stephen Gibbs shows us both sides of this gritty and glorious metropolis in his portrait of Caracas.

Portrait of Caracas: A cosmopolitan city becomes a perilous place to live

Portrait of Caracas: A cosmopolitan city becomes a perilous place to live

While much of the culture and entertainment still exists today, at the moment Caracas is a questionable destination. A deep economic recession has produced lawlessness and an extremely high crime rate. Shortages of basic goods and services are severe. And street violence is so prevalent most citizens don’t leave their homes after dark.

Venezuela’s capital has a near-perfect climate and, nestled at the foot of Mount Avila, a spectacular setting. It also boasts museums with some of the world’s finest art.

But the slums of Caracas are among some of the most dangerous in the world as well. Stephen Gibbs takes us to El Cerrito in Petare to show us first-hand.

The Venezuelan government does not release crime statistics, but an NGO, The Venezuelan Observatory on Violence, reported approximately 24,000 murders taking place in Caracas in 2013. Indeed, the murder rate has been compared to Baghdad.

Only San Pedro Sula, in Honduras is said to be plagued by more crime.

But as Correspondent Gibbs tells us, with change comes opportunity. Alternative ways of living have produced some pleasant surprises, like afternoon concerts. Take a rare look at the streets of Caracas, Venezuela today.

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