Inmates Take Relatives Hostage at Venezuelan Prison

CARACAS – Inmates at the prison in Yare, a town in the central state of Miranda, took relatives hostage over the weekend to demand better living conditions, Venezuelan media reported.

The prisoners told reporters they wanted the warden fired and an end to abuses suffered by family members and themselves at the hands of the National Guard, which runs the prison.

The inmates took their relatives hostage during Sunday visiting hours at the prison in Yare, located about 80 kilometers (some 50 miles) west of Caracas, keeping them in the office area.

Officials did not comment on the situation at the prison, while media reports said the inmates may be holding up to 1,000 people.

Hostage-taking and so-called self-kidnappings of relatives in support of inmates’ demands are common in Venezuela, where 11 prisons experienced these types of incidents in early March.

Venezuela’s penitentiary system, considered one of the most violent in Latin America, has 29 prisons and 16 penitentiaries holding some 20,000 inmates, official figures show. EFE

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