1 THE EFFECT S OF VICTIMIZATION AND FEAR OF CRIME ON DEMOCRATIC By A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2012
2 2012 alley
3 To my mom
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Many thanks are due to the members of my thesis committee. I would like to thank Dr. Frederick Ro yce, Dr. Joseph Foweraker, and Dr. Phillip Williams who provided me with insight and advice that enabled me to improve the quality of my work. I am especially thankful for the support of my committee chairman, Dr. Charles Wood whose support and guidance was of monumental importance in my successful completion of both this
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 7 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ................................ ................................ ............................. 8 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 11 Hypothe ses ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 15 Organization of the Thesis ................................ ................................ ...................... 17 2 PUNTOFIJISMO CHVISMO AND THE RISE OF CRIMINALITY ....................... 18 The Punto Fijo Era ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 18 ................................ ................................ ............................... 27 The Rise of Criminality in Venezuela ................................ ................................ ...... 33 3 CRIME VICTIMIZATION, CITIZEN INSECURITY, & POPULAR POLITICAL CULTURE ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 39 Public Support for Democracy ................................ ................................ ................ 39 Public Support for Democracy in Venezuela ................................ ........................... 41 Crime and Social Capital ................................ ................................ ........................ 42 Crime and Social Capital in Venezuela ................................ ................................ ... 43 Crime and the R ule of Law ................................ ................................ ..................... 44 Crime and the Rule of Law in Venezuela ................................ ................................ 45 Victimization and Fear ................................ ................................ ............................ 48 4 DATA ANALYSIS ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 51 Description of Variables ................................ ................................ .......................... 53 Independent Variables ................................ ................................ ..................... 53 Control Variables ................................ ................................ .............................. 54 Dependent Variables ................................ ................................ ........................ 55 Hypotheses ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 55 Descriptive Analysis of Variables ................................ ................................ ............ 56 Independent Variables ................................ ................................ ..................... 56 Source: LAPOP Venezuela, 2010 ................................ ................................ .... 56 Dependent Variables ................................ ................................ ........................ 56 Regression Analyses ................................ ................................ .............................. 58
6 Attitudinal Consequences of Victimization and Fear ................................ ........ 59 Satisfaction with democracy ................................ ................................ ....... 59 Preference for democracy ................................ ................................ .......... 60 Interpersonal trust ................................ ................................ ...................... 61 Police circumventing the law ................................ ................................ ...... 62 Vigilante justice ................................ ................................ .......................... 63 Military coup ................................ ................................ ............................... 64 The Effect of Political Polarization ................................ ................................ .... 65 Satisfaction with democracy ................................ ................................ ....... 65 Preference for democracy ................................ ................................ .......... 66 Interpersonal trust ................................ ................................ ...................... 67 Police circumventing the law ................................ ................................ ...... 68 Vigilante justice ................................ ................................ .......................... 70 Military coup ................................ ................................ ............................... 71 5 CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 73 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................... 81 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ............................ 88
7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 1 1 Hypothesized relationships: victimization/FOC on political culture ..................... 16 3 1 Means for variables of interest: 2008 and 2010 ................................ .................. 50 4 1 What is the most serious proble m facing Venezuela ................................ .......... 52 4 2 Dependent variables ................................ ................................ ........................... 55 4 3 Means: Victimization and fear of crime ................................ ............................... 56 4 4 Means: Support for democracy ................................ ................................ ........... 57 4 5 Means: Interpersonal trust ................................ ................................ .................. 57 4 6 Means: Rule of law ................................ ................................ ............................. 58 4 7 Satisfaction with democracy ................................ ................................ ............... 60 4 8 Preference for democracy ................................ ................................ .................. 61 4 9 Interpersonal trust ................................ ................................ ............................... 62 4 10 ................................ ................................ ........ 63 4 11 Approval of vigilante justice ................................ ................................ ................ 64 4 12 Endorsement of a military coup when crime is high ................................ ............ 65 4 13 Satisfaction with democracy by support for Chvez ................................ ........... 66 4 14 Preference for democracy by support for Chvez ................................ .............. 67 4 15 Interpersonal trust by support for Chvez ................................ ........................... 68 4 16 ................................ .... 69 4 17 Approval of vigilante justice by support for Chvez ................................ ............ 71 4 18 Endorsement of a military coup when crime is high by support for Chvez ........ 72
8 LIST OF ABBREVI ATIONS AD Democratic Action COPEI Political Electoral Independent Organization Committee CTV Confederation of Workers of Venezuela FEDECAMARAS Venezuelan Federation of Chambers of Commerce IMF International Monetary Fund LAPOP Latin American Publi c Opinion Project MBR 200 Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement 200 OAS Organization of American States OVV Venezuelan Violence Observatory PDVSA Petroleum of Venezuela PSUV United Socialist Party of Venezuela UR D Democratic Republican Union UNODC United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime WHO World Health Organization
9 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts THE E FFECTS OF VICTIMIZATION AND FEAR OF CRIME ON DEMOCRATIC By M ay 2012 Chair: Charles Wood Major: Latin American Studies Over the past two decades, rates of crime and violence in Venezuela hav e reached epidemic proportions. top concerns. Previous research suggests that crime can erode values, attitudes, and criminality has been one of the most significant developments during the Chvez era, the political consequences of criminal victimization and personal insecurity are l argely unknown. This thesis begins to address this deficit by using data from the AmericasBarometer public opinion survey in 2010 to analyze the impact of victimization and fear of crime on three areas of political culture: support for democracy, trust, an d commitment to the rule of law. Additionally, the analysis goes beyond the hypotheses traditionally found in the existing literature by specifying and empirically testing the prediction that the political environment (partisanship, in particular) is impor tant in the relationship between crime and democratic political culture. The results of the primary regression analyses show that exposure to crime, whether directly through victimization or indirectly through fear of becoming victimized, has a negative ef fect on most of the
10 political culture variables tested, although some findings were mixed. The secondary analyses considering the impact of support for Chvez on the relationships of interest show that partisanship can play a mediating role in the effects of victimization and fear of crime on democratic political culture in Venezuela.
11 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Over the past twenty years, Latin America has witnessed a dramatic upsurge in crime and violence (Bergman 2006). The severity of this recent crime wave is reflected in the number of homicides recorded per 100,000 persons, which reached 16 in 2010 more than double the world average of 6.9 and nearly on par wit (UNOD C 2011). Although every country in Latin America has been afflicted by increased levels of violence, this regional statistic masks large between country differe nces in Honduras and 66 in El Salvador. Furthermore, from 2005 to 2010 and Ve nezuela experienced a 30% increase in the last year alone (OVV 2 011; UNODC 2011). It is inarguable that the intentional killing of another human being is the most heinous of crimes, yet, compared to other crimes it is also less prevalent. More ordinary types of crimes, such as robbery, assault, and burglary, have beco me increasingly ubiquitous and often threaten citizens in the course of their d aily lives (Moser and McIlwaine 2005). Accurate data on crime victimization are difficult to come by in Latin America, particularly given that over half of all crimes in the reg ion go unreported and official records a re often manipulated (Prillaman 2003). However, the provides an estimate of the proportion of people who have fallen victim to crime. In 2010, an average of nearly one out of every five citizens across the region reported being criminally victimized during the previous year a significantly higher level than
12 any other year since data collection be gan in 2004 (Seligson and Smith 2010). As st artling as this statistic may seem, it is likely that the percentage of people living in fear of becoming a potential victim is even greater. Scholars have recently given increased attention to the myriad ways in which criminal victimization and citizen in security prospects for declining crime rates look bleak (Crespo 2006; Prillaman 2003), it is probable that these issues will remain pertinent for years to come. The social and eco overstated. There are the straightforward consequences, such as physical harm suffered by victims and the loss of human life. Additionally, feelings of insecurity stemming from frequent exposure to crim of life by threatening psychological wellbeing, decreasing interpersonal trust, and causing citizens to withdraw from society (Garofalo 1979; Pain 2000; Walkate 2001). A large body of literature has also esta blished that crime and violence severely drain economic activity in numerous ways. Victims may experience material losses, the destruction of property, medical e xpenses, and lost earnings (WHO 2004). Crime also through the increased costs of goods and services used to prevent violence or deal with its effects. Such costs include increased government spending in areas such as health, policing, a nd prisons (Moser and McIlwaine 2006). Businesses and citizens alike a re increasingly turning to private security to shield themselves from crime and violence with hired guards, bullet proof cars, surveillance systems, and electronic alarms (Caldeira 2000; Howard, Hume, and Oslender 2007). Other negative consequences include foregone foreign investment,
13 higher insurance premiums for businesses, and reduced tourism, to name a few (Maingot 2003; Prillaman 2003). In fact, the economic impact of crime and violence in Latin America is so severe that the World Bank estimates the re c apita income would be 25% higher if it had a crime rate that was comparable t o the global average (Prillaman 2003). epidemic also poses a serious threat to the m aintenance and deepening of democracy through mechanisms that are varied and comp lex (Ceobanu, Wood, and Ribeiro 2011 ). Countries where the processes of institutional consolidation and democratization are still evolving are particularly vulnerable to the p ernicious effe cts of crime (Cruz 2008). As Prillaman argues, citizens of Latin America typically hold a more statist view of democracy than do their counterparts in consolidated democracies. The author points out that Latin Americans tend to define a gover according to its ability to deliver substantive benefits, rather than its protection of due process, human rights, and civil liberties. Thus, a state that fails to deliver basic services, such as public security, is likely t o be considered inefficient, or even illegitimate, by its citizens (2003). Recent research suggests that high levels of violent crime can erode values, attitudes, and preferences considered essential to democracy. In particular, scholars have demonstrated that criminal victimization and citizen insecurity can have corrosive effects on various elements of political culture, such as support for democracy, interpersonal trust and commitment to the rule of law, to name a few (Ceobanu, Wood, and Ribeiro 2011 ; C ruz 2008; P rez 2004; Prillaman 2003).
14 This thesis considers the case of Venezuela, where crime and violence have reached historical highs and the political consequences of this trend are currently the topic of much speculation. The Venezuelan Violence Obs ervatory reported that at least rate of 67 per 100,000 is among the highest in the world. For perspective, this figure is more than four times that of drug war embattled Me xico and closely trails gang ridden El Salvador and Honduras ( UNODC 2011). Venezuela is also plagued by pervasive petty crimes, gang violence, armed robberies, assaults, and kidnappings. In fact, estimates have shown that Venezuelans are criminally victim ized an average of 17 times during the course of their lives four of which are violent (Rotker and Goldman 2003). Not surprisingly, crime has emerged as the top concern among citizens in Venezuela ( Rebotier AmericasBarometer public opinion survey. criminality has been one of the most significant developments during the Chvez era, the consequences of this trend for democratic political culture remain largely unknown. This thesis begins to address this deficit by using data from AmericasBarometer public opinion survey in 2010 to analyz e the effects criminal victimization and fear of cri me have on various dimensions of political culture considered essential to democracy. Specific attention will be given to three themes commonly found in the literature: support for democracy, interpersonal trust, and commitment to the rule of law. Contempo rary Venezuela constitutes a crucial case for empirically testing the political consequences of victimization and fear As outlined above, crime and insecurity in
15 rampant c riminality is particularly worrisome given the increasingly precarious nature of democracy under the Chvez administration. Recent research by Wood and Ribeiro (2011) suggests that criminal victimization has a more pronounced effect on anti democratic atti tudes in more fragile democracies than in their consolidated performance the electoral process, political pluralism and participation, functioning of government, freedom of expressio n and belief, associational and organizational rights, rule of law, and personal autonomy and individual rights Venezuela is the least highest crime rates and lowest level of democratic consolidation seems to indicate that political culture in Venezuela may be considerably vulnerable. Furthermore, as the politically polarized nation prepares for a presidential election, which could put Chvez in power for another 6 years, these issues will likely become increasingly salient. Hypotheses socio demographic characteri stics, criminal victimization and fear of crime affect three dimensions of democratic political culture in Venezuela : support for democracy (two measures: satisfaction with democracy and preference for democracy), interpersonal trust, and commitment to the rule of law (three measures: support for authorities their own hands when the government does not punish criminals, and belief that a military coup would be justif ied when there is a lot crime). The expected relationships
16 between these variables the rationales for which are explained in Chapter 3 are summarized in Table 1 1, below. T able 1 1. Hypothesized relationships: victimization /FOC on political culture In dependent Variables Measures of Political Culture Victimization Fear of Crime Support for Democracy Satisfaction with democracy Preference for democracy ns ns Trust Trust in community Rule of Law Support for police + + Approval of vigilante justice + + Military coup justified + + The hypothesized relationships depicted in Table 1 1 have been derived from the general literature on the political consequences of cri me. However, the eff ects of victimization and fear of crime on democratic political culture have only rarely been subjected to empirical test, and have never been tested in the context of Venezuela a country which presents its own particularities. A defining characteristic of contemporary Venezuela that most stands out is the extraordinary degree of political polarization that divides supporters and opponents of the Chvez regime. This political division has, as I will argue, the potential to influence the relationship between crime and political culture. Accordingly, the analyses in Chapter 4 will perform the same tests noted in Table 1 1, but will also include separate regressions for those who support Chvez and those who do not. These separate regressions test the additiona of the current regime will influence the de gree to which criminal victimization and fear of crime affects their support for democracy, trust, and commitment to the rule of law. More specifically, it is expected that the negative effects of victimization and fear on
17 This expectation is formulated according to the assumption that fear of crime is a social construction and is therefore affected by the social and political context in which it is embedded. Thus, the analysis goes beyond the hypotheses traditionally found in the existing literature by specifying and empirically testing the prediction that the political environment is import ant in the relationship between crime and democratic attitudes, beliefs, and preferences. Organization of the Thesis This thesis is divided into five parts, including this introductory chapter. The body is organized as follows. The second chapter presents a chronological political history of modern Venezuela, which includes the period from the overthrow of military dictator Prez Jimnez in 1958 to the present. Chapter 2 is not intended to be comprehensive but rather aims to present key events and highligh t pertinent historical linkages. Additionally, it provides background on the rise of criminality during the Chvez era and also includes a discussion of the various explanations and theories that have been offered to account for this trend. Chapter 3, the literature review, focuses on the recent body of research that explores the political consequences of crime in Latin America. More specifically, Chapter 3 review s prior studies that examine the effects of criminal victimization and/or fear of crime on vari ous dimensions of democratic political cultur e. Chapter 4 describes the research design and methodology and presents the findings Regression models are used as the method of analysis, while means tables and fr equency tables are also used to present some p reliminary data. The final chapter concludes with a summary of the results and their implications for the future of democracy in Venezuela.
18 CHAPTER 2 PUNTOFIJISMO CHVISMO AND THE RISE OF CR IMINALITY The Punto Fijo Era During the latter half of the twe ntieth century, as several Latin American countries were held under the coercive force of military rule, violent dictatorships, or authoritarian regimes, Venezuela stood as a noteworthy exception. In 1958, after the overthrow of the nine year military dict dominant parties representing the moderate left ( Accin Democratica AD) and the moderate right ( Comit de Organizacin Poltica Electoral Independiente COPEI) alternated power through stable, democr atic elections for nearly four decades (Sylvia and Danopoulos 2003). Scholars lauded the nation for its political accomplishments and privileged position in the region. This modern democratic period was touted by political reference to the stability of the system, but also two other presumed features: that it remained largely free of class cleavages and that its political culture was stable and h ealthy (Ellner and Tinke r Salas transition to an oil based economy which was argued to have weakened the oligarchy, created a large middle class, and left only a small working class, therefore containing class tensions and result ing in the multiclas s bases of both parties (Karl 1987). During this era, scholars also praised the nation for its level of political participation and its unparalleled in Latin America (Mar tz 1980: 1 2). To the shock of many, a profound transformation of Venezuelan politics occurred during the 1998 presidential election
19 overwhelming percentage of th e population cast their ballots for a political outsider military officer and former coup leader Hugo Chvez Fras. shift in the behavior of the electorate. Although, during the post 1958 period, elections were rarely questioned for their integrity and most observers considered Venezuela a consolidated democracy, the syst em was greatly flawed (Coppedge 2005). After a general uprising forced Prez Jimnez into exile in 1958, t he inauguration of democracy was arranged through a power sharing agreement between AD, COPEI, and the less influential Unin Republicana Democrtica (UR D) (Myers 2006). Formalized in the 1958 Pact of Punto Fijo this alliance of the main political parties made certain that power would remai n in the hands of a few (DiJohn 2009). A small inner circle of leaders at the head of each party tightly guarded the interests of the elite and ensured that the most polarizing issues would be kept off of the political a genda (Levine 1973; Myers 2006). As such, Venezuelan critics began referring to their political system not as a democracia (democracy), but a partidocracia (partyarchy) (Coppedge 2005). Furthermore, as opposed to the overly optimistic perceptions uelan wealth pouring into the country from its primary export from the mid 1950s to the late 1970s predominately fell into the hands of the wealthy, while a considerabl e portion of the population remained desperat ely poor (Sylvia and Danopoulos 2003). During these t barato, dame dos became an i dentifying expression (Mrquez 2003; Rebotier 2011). In large part, Venezuelan
20 democracy during the Punto Fijo a vast system of clientelism using the coun 2002). As Gi acalone economic capacity of the state to subsidize democracy, providing the prebends M eanwhile, large sectors of Venezuelan society hoping to escape rural poverty began migrating to Caracas, where they would be forced to settle in crowded shantytowns at the margins of the city. Living conditions in these squatter slums drastically contraste d with the urbanized zones and exclusive residential se ctors of East Caracas (Rebotier 2011). Life in these barrios de ranchos was marred by electrical shortages, inadequate waste disposal, limited potable water, and growing cr ime rates (Sylvia and Danopou los ranchos ; at the end of the 1970s, when the country was experiencing the highest oil revenues in its history, the proportion incre ased to more than 50% (Rebotier 2011). ndrs Prez began just as the price of oil was soaring dur ing the 1973 oil crisis (Tarver 2005). During this period of rapidly expanding petroleum rent, standard of living and social mobility impr oved in Venezuela (Briceo Len 2005). Given that historical patterns of growth and increasing oil prices were projected far into the future, members of the upper and middle classes did not see their increasing wealth and lavish lifestyles as threat ened by popular demands (Lander 2005). Venezuelan society as a whol e, and the new urban majority in particular,
21 In the halcyon days of the 1970s oil boom, 2004; Lander 2005). The living would not sur vive into the next decade however The global debt crisis and plunging oil prices in the 1980s created severe economic chaos in Venezuela, which urban poor (Ellner and S alas 2007). Amid factions within AD and corruption scandals Campns was elected to office by a narrow margin in 1979 (DiJohn presidency failed to bring econo mic progress: unemployment rose above 15%, the country experienced almost no growth in real GDP, and real wages dropped more than 2 2% (Enright, Francs, and Scott 1996; Looney 1986). Left discredited, COPEI would from 1984 to 1989 brought nothing more than stagnant growth, increased inflation, a nd continued corruption (DiJohn 2009). The political elite seemed unwilling or unable to hand le the mounting crisis (Sylvia and Danop oulos 2003). The masses began to feel alienated by the bipartite system and electoral participation, although mandatory, declined by 6 % resulting in an unprecedented 18% abstention rate in the subse quent election (Dietz and Myers 2007; Levine and Crisp 199 9). Venezuelans reelected former AD President Carlos Andrs Prez in 1989 in hopes that he would bring back the prosperity that characterized his prior period in office from 1974 to 1979 (Sylvia and Danopoulos 2003). During his electoral campaign,
22 Prez st ressed that profound changes were needed to modernize the Venezuelan economy and promised a return to the interventionist policies he claimed had been responsible for the so La Gran Venezuela previous administration (Davila 2000). However, only days after assuming office, Prez took the country by surprise when he implemented a series of austerity measures at the urging of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) (Neuhouser 1992). The Adjustment Plan lacked political consensus and completely ig nored popular expectations IMF had not been submitted to parliamentary consultation and it was not made public until a fter it had been signed (Lander 2005). The President attempted to justify the new policies and the hardships th at would be endured by the people in the short term by arguing that the resulting economic growth would benefit the lives of all Venezuelans after a few years time. However, the administration failed to implement adequate policies that would soften the bur den of the neoliberal reforms on the popular sector or ensure that the economic impact woul d be distributed fairly (Davila 2000). Frustration effects for the majority of the population subsidies and price controls for a variety of public services were withdrawn, real income decreased, unemployment rose, and the cost of basic consumer goo ds spiked (Ellner and Hellinger 2004). A few weeks later, the urban poor turned on Prez with a vengeance. On February 27, 1989, unprecedented riots erupted in the hillside slums bordering the capital (Sylvia and Danopoulos Caracazo doubling of gasoline prices, which were passed on b y private bus companies (DiJohn 2005). Rioting quickly spread from the barrios de ranchos down to the formal areas of
23 the city center. Prez responded by sending in the armed forces, whose brutal repression left hundreds dead, if not more (Lander 2005). Th e popular uprising left an deep seated class cleavages had been masked by the myth of democratic tranquility and social cohesion (Ellner and Hel linger 2004). After the Caracazo an increasingly forgotten in the dominant political discourse and political culture were no lo nger possible to ignore (Lander 2005). Following the tragic event Prez announced immediate concessions and sought to reshape political identities around a neo populist strategy. His attempt, h owever, was short lived (Davila 2000). Conditions continued to worsen for the great majority of the population. Total poverty i n Venezuela nearly doubled from 36% of the population to 68% between 1984 and 1991 (Martel 1993). By 1990, the level of informal employment neared 40% This increasing fragmentation and informalization of the social bases of support for the tradi tional political parties (DiJohn 2005). Very little attention had been given to people outside of the established functional groups that had formal connections to AD or COPEI. As acknowledged by a former AD leader, "th ere was never any discussion about the informal sector; the party was completely unprepared and did not try to include ne w people or new groups" (Morgan political polarization was made obvious once aga in on February 4, 1992, when a military coup led by then lieutenant colonel Hugo Chvez nearly overthrew the g overnment (Ellner and Hellinger 2004).
24 Chvez and a group of likeminded leftist military officers had covertly formed the subversive Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement 200 (MBR 200) years earlier to prepare a coup against Prez and the Punto Fijo regime. However, Chvez and his men quickly accelerated their plans as other members of the armed forces joined their ranks l response during the Caracazo (Sylvia and Danopoulos 2003). Although the attempt failed, a critical victory was won when Chvez negotiated his own surrender for the opportunity to address the country on national television. Prez obliged the officer, on t he condition that he would urge his followers to to the puntofijista party system (Dietz and Myers 2007). Furthermore, as he spoke of the defeat he emphasized that the st por ahora phrase was interpreted by most of his supporters optimistically, as an indication o f his intention to return (Gott 2011). The political establishment was stunned by the amount of support expressed for Chvez among ar sector (Ellner and Hellinger anti corruption and anti neoliberal elements of the rebellion made it evident that democratic rules had to be redefined (Ellner and Hellinger 2004; Philip 1992). The following year, Prez was suspended from office for misuse of public funds and embezzlement. The two time president was harshly criticized by his own party for his anti popular policies and excl usionary governing style. Ultimately, Prez was impeached by the Supreme Court. As voiced by one of judges during the trial, the
25 goes beyond the issue of corruption; it is a repudiation o f Prez the 1993: 1 6). had become incapable of representing distinct social groups and political alternatives (Morgan 2007 ). In the 1988 presidential election AD a nd COPEI had received 94% of the vote; but by the 1993 election partisanship had drastically declin ed. Abstention reached a record high: 45% of the electorate did not vote. Furthermore, the combined AD COPEI vote fell under 50% for the first time since the Punto Fijo system was establ ished (Davila 2000). Disillusioned with the traditional system, the electorate opted for former president and COPEI founder Rafael Caldera, after he broke with his party and ran as an independent. Caldera had experienced a surge in political popularity fol puntofijismo dissatisfaction that, in his opinion, was both the explanation and justification for the military rebellion ( Briceo Len 2005). To gain electoral support, the former pres ident distanced himself from the neoliberal agenda and campaigned almost entirely on an anti political party platform ( Ellner and Hellinger 2004). Another factor that contributed ly popular, although currently imprisoned, Chvez during the election ( Davila 2000 ). Although Convergencia alliance received only 30% of the vote, he was able to narrowly outpace the other candidates in the tight four way race. Once in office, ho wever, Caldera was no more politically consistent than his predecessor. Although he began his term with anti neoliberalism as the centerpiece of his program, a series of ill conceived stabilization plans and deepening economic crisis
26 forced his administrat ion to give in to pressures for mark et reform (Ellner and Hellinger 2004; Weyland worsening economic conditions resulted in continued social upheaval. Frustrations were expressed by bouts of anarchy, urban violence, theft, strikes, and political terrorism (Davila 2000: 35), and the president responded by suspending six articles of the Constitution concerning freedoms, including the freedom of movement and freedom from arbitrary arrest (Lea, Milward, and Rowe 2001). In the end, not only did Caldera fail to confront the problems caused by over a decade of economic decay, but his inability to articulate a new political agenda left little doubt that the desire for change was completely incompati ble with the countr 2000). were marked by rapidly increasing social polarization across class lines. The year before the 1998 election, a s evere economic recession led to further impoverishment of Venezuela n society (Ellner and Hellinger 2004). However, the transformation of class relations had dramatically emerged nearly a decade prior. In the minds of many upper and middle class Venezuelan s, the Caracazo represented marginalized members of society. This sentiment is reflected in a well known Venezuelan phrase concerning the historical event, which is described in detail by Julien Rebotier (2011: 6) and is worth quoting at length: When covered by popular quarters, hills are called ceros When wealthier sectors are concerned, the hills are called colinas or lomas This socially oriented difference in the naming of similar topographic forms is referred to in a com mon expression about the Caracazo : the day when the cerros ran el da que bajaron los cerros ). The expression describing the invasion of the formal city by social margins has turned into a symbol of transgressi on of an idealized order.
27 No longer hi social harmony, the threat of th stage in the media and became a source of fear among the upper echelons of society. The wealthier Venezuelans responded to the p erceived risks posed by the urban poor through actions that increased ex clusion and segregation (Lander 2005). Into the 1990s, outbreaks of popular protests and increased criminality served to further fragment Ve nez uelan society (San Juan 2002 ). As Rebotie r argues, fear among the upper classes gave way to a host of responses that further separated the elite from the masses. Barricading homes and businesses, prohibiting public access to residential areas, and privatizing previous shared spaces all became mea sures used to maint ain socio spatial order (2011). Venezuelans across the social strata were in search of an alternative to the However, in the proc ess of identifying the desired opposition to the old regime, the rich and poor went in separate directions (Roberts 2004). The 1998 presidential was dominated by two antiparty candidates, Hugo Chvez and Henrique Salas Rmer (Ellner 2008). After decades of being ignored by a corrupt and self serving political elite, the lower class Venezuelan majority de manded a change in leadership. Hugo Chvez with his role as former coup leader and a campaign platform centered on electing a constituent assembly to redr represented the radical change the people were longing for (Roberts 2004). In the December election, Chvez won in a landslide vi ctory with more than 56% of the vote (Sylvi a and Danopoulos 2003).
28 Since Chvez first came to po wer in 1999, Venezuela has undergone a profound transformation in society as a whole. Upon taking office, Chvez followed through on his campaign promise to convene a constituent assembly to overhau draw a new constitution (Ellner 2001). Supporters of the presi dent were elected to 91% of the 131 consti tutional convention seats (Gott 2005). On December 15, 1999, the Venezuelan public approved the constitution though a national referendum wi th 71% of the vote (Gott for a new presidential election to be held the following year, extended the presidential term from five to six years, allowed for a pre sident to succeed his first term, provided the option of impeachment through popular referendum, and abolish ed the Senate in favor of a uni cameral National Assembly (Tarver and Frederic k 2006). Additionally in the 1999 constitution of the rebranded Boliva rian Republic of Venezuela participatory affiliated with the past and puntofijismo (Ellner and Tink er Salas 2007). Chvez again stood for election under the new constituti on on July, 31, 2000 an d won with more than 59% of the vote (Sylvia and Danopoulos 2003). In the so supporters also gained control of the National Assembly. With AD and COPEI declining system finally reached the point of com plete collapse (Dietz and Myers 2007). chavista movement began in November 2001 when the government enacted a package of forty nine en abling laws designed to reverse the neoliberalism of the 1990s. This
29 controversial move had a profound effect on political polarization by both driving moderates away from the current administration and uniting the opposition around the common cause of for ci ng Chvez out of office (Ellner 2008). Additionally, deepening Hawkin s et al. 2008: 2). In an increasingly divisive context, several general strikes were initiated by the presidents opponents federation (Confederacin de Trabajadores de Venezuela, CTV), business group FEDECAMARAS, employees of th e state owned oil company (PDVSA), and various leaders of the Arm ed Force (Sylvia and Danopoulos 2003). On April 11, 2002, a still disputed violent confrontation broke out between the members of an opposition march who were demanding the president step do wn and Chvez supporters. Hours later, after several dozen deaths, the conflict gave way to a military coup (Ellner 2008). FEDECAMARAS president Pedro Carmona headed the interim government, which immediately dissolved democratic institutions and nullified the forty nine laws of 2001 and the 1999 Constitution. Although elections were promised restored t o power within 48 hours (Ellner 2008: 115). The opposition had not only failed thousands of chavistas s return (Sylvia and Danopoulos 2003). In 2003 the government was faced with another opposi tion led attempt to remove Chvez from office. This time, however, the anticha vistas opted for a constitutional
30 route through a recall referendum (Ellner 2010) In December of that year, the opposition successfully submitted a petition containing signature s from more than three 2004 a deeply divided society rall ie fought election to determine whether the president would continue his term u ntil 2007, or would be forced out of office immediately (McCoy 2006) Voter turnout was excepti onally high more than 70% of registered voters turned out to cast their ballots, which was a 10% increase over the last three presidential elections. As Jennifer McCoy explains, both sides of the (2006: 65). In the end, Chvez supporters def eated the recall with 59% of the vote (Legler 2007) Although the opposition claimed fraud, international observers, including OAS and the Carter Center, verified the outcome reflected the intent of the electorate (McCoy 2006) Following the defeat of the recall referendum, Venezuela entered into a period of grea ter political stability (El lner 2008). After a weakened opposition organized a boycott of the 2005 national legislative elections, parties loyal to the president secured every seat of parliament ( Hawkin s et al. 2008). A dramatic rise in oil prices allowed Chvez to institute a serie s of new social programs, called Misiones Bolivarianas promoting initiatives. The programs include the provision of health services, education (ranging from literacy classes to university education), basic foodstuffs, cash transfers, and occupational training, to name a few ( Penfold Becerra 2008). Amid extraordinary popular support, Chvez ushered in a third, increasingly radical, stage of his
31 sm for the T wenty of the Misiones nationalization of key industries, expansion of worker cooperatives, land reform, development of new communally based urban communities, and the creation of a new political party, the United Socialist Pa rty of Venezuela (PSUV) (Ellner 2008; Hawkin s et al. 2008 ). In the 2006 presidential election, Chvez secured six more years in office with 63% of the vote, the highest in any election since the inaugurati on of democracy in 1958 (Ellner 2008). party during the first half of 2007. In December, the members participated in massive numbers by canvassing in favor of a constitutional re form proposed by Chvez (Ell ner 2010). The president suffered his first defeat at the ballot box when the referendum was ultimately rejected by a mere 2% of the vote (Ellner 2008). The proposed package of constitutional reforms sought to expand social security benefits to workers in the informal sector, reduce the maximum work week from 44 to 36 hours, end the autonomy of the central bank, and strengthen state control of strategic industries, among other amendments. A more profound proposition within the 69 reforms, however, was the e limination of presidential term limits, which would allow Chvez to run for re election indefinitely (BBC News 2007). Upon his defeat, the president immediately announced his intention to seek approval for these ref orms in the near future (Ellner 2008). Ch constitutional amendment ref erendum in 2009, with 54% of the vote. Unlike the 2007 referendum which stipulated that only the president could seek reelection, the 2009 ballot sought to abolish term limits for state governors, mayors, and National Asse mbly
32 deputies, as well (Alvarez 2011). After more than a decade in power, Chvez remains president p roudly proclaimed to his supporte for socialism, for revolution. Today we opened wide the gates of the future In 2012 there will be presidential elections, and unless God decides otherwise, unless the people decide ot herwise, this soldier is already a candidate 2009). has remained relativ ely stable over the years (Alvarez 2011) After more than 13 years as President of Venezuela, Chvez will stand for reelection in October 2012. Even in approval ratings have topped 5 0% in the polls (Sequera, James, and Rodriguez 2012). Whether Chvez secures another six years in power or the opposition obtains the presidency, a sizeable proportion of the population will have to face an extremely unfavora ble result. Regardless of the electoral outcome, the 2012 presidential election in Venezuela seems unlikely to unfold peacefully, given the deep seated social polarization that divides the nation across class lines. Additionally, scholars, politicians, and citizens alike are concerned with what six more years of Chavismo will mean for the already precarious nature of democracy in Venezuela. form of democracy is judged yield s conflicting conclusions. As Ellner (2010) offers, there
33 According to liberal standards, the current political climate in Venezuela does not fare well. The model of liber al democracy stresses the impor tance of checks and balances and the rights of minorities, while disapproving of excessive executive power and centralism majority rule and the direct parti cipation of the population in decision making, criteria by which Ven ezuela fares far better (Ellner 2010: 79). However, regardless of the standards used to endorse or critique the current state of affairs, it is plausible to consider that intense political polarization, the extreme division of society, and weak rule of law could pose a serious threat to the stability of Venezuelan democracy. Furthermore, in a climate of increasing insecurity these conditions are particularly worrisome. Various dimensions of political culture deemed essential to democratic governance, such as support for democracy, interpersonal trust, and commitment to the rule of law are vulnerable to erosion in the face of citizen insecurity ( Ceobanu, Wood, and Ribeiro 2011 ; Cruz 2008; P r ez 2004; Prillaman 2003 ). Not only are current levels of crime and violence in Venezuela extremely alarming, but the problem is likely to persist, or even intensify, with the upcoming election and the unpredictable years ahead of it. The Rise of Criminalit y in Venezuela Venezuela has become one of the most violent countries in the world. In Caracas often cited as the murder capital of the world the figure is even more alarming, with estimates ranging anywhere from 127 to 233 homicides per 100,000 inhabi tants (International Crisis Group 2011; OVV 2011). The murder rate in Caracas has even Ground Zero of t Zamora 2012). Yet, Venezuela is not in the middle of a civil war, an armed insurgency,
34 o r a foreign military attack. Even in such a politically polarized society, killings are rarely an expression of political viole nce (International Crisis Group 2011). What then, can answer to the What is certain, however, is that rising criminality did not begin with Chvez. Even so, analysts widely agree that the situation has gotten considerably wors e during his lengthy tenure. In the decades leading up to the 21 st century, several developing countries experienced rapid increases in criminality. Most notable among these nations were those in Latin America, which during the 1990s weathered some of the most substantia l increases (Crespo 2006). Venezuela is no exception to this trend. Throughout much of the 1980s, the murder rate stayed relatively stable at an average of eight per 100,000 inhabita nts (International Crisis Group 2011). Between 1987 and 199 8, however, this figure increased substantially from eight to 22 per 100,000 (Bric eo Len 2009: 31). y affecting the country (Crespo 2006: 348). During this time, the excluded class did not simply represent a marginalized minority, but in fact constituted the great majority of the population. Widespread poverty, inequality, segr egation, and political isolation all contributed to the crisis like living conditions for most of Venezuelan society ( Rebotier 2011 ). Edgardo Lander draws on the work of Ivez Pedrazzini and Magaly Snchez practical culture of action in which the informal economy, illegality, illegitimacy, violence,
35 events of the Caracazo Venezuela no long er operated under the guise of social and Ellner and Hellinger 2004 ). In this context, an increasingly fragmented society and frequent popular erging cu 2005: 26). The trend of rising crime and violence did not cease with the election of Chvez. In fact, criminality has increased at an alarming pace during his time in office. The 4,550 homicides recorded in 1998 skyrocke ted to 19,336 by 2011. During this period, V enezuela has also experienced an upsurge in petty theft armed robberies, assaults, gang violence and kidnappings (International Crisis Group 2011) Attempting to explain the rampant insecurity in present day Ve nezuela, however, is particularly difficult. As Kevin Casas enlightening. Above all, it offers a cautionary tale about the limits of easy explanations, prescriptions, and predictio argument centers on the fact that while standard narratives about crime in Latin America tend to focus on income inequality as the cause and growth in human development levels as the solution, the situation in Venezuela is incompatible with this a commonly used measure of inequality ranging from 0 (perfect equality) to 1 (perfect inequality) has experienced a decline from 0.498 in 1999 to 0.412 in 2008, more than any o ther country in the region. Additionally, human increased markedly from 2000 to 2011 (Casas Zamora 2012).
36 Although there is no so le cause help account for this worrisome trend. To begin, there is broad consensus that impunity is the primary factor behind the problem. The vast majority of crimes, inc luding homicides, go unsolved in Venezuela. In 2009, the OVV reported that 91% of murder investigations did not result in arr est (International Crisis Group 2011). Additionally, not only are the police inefficient in Venezuela, but they are also infamous f or abuse, extortion, and criminal activities such as kidnapping and the traff icking of arms and drugs (Ungar 2003). In 2009, the Minister of Interior and Justice Tarek El Assaimi admitted that nearly 20% of crimes in Venezuela were committed by the pol ice (International Crisis Group 2011 ). In the 2008 AmericasBarometer public opinion survey, more than 80% of Venezuelan police believing that they fail to protect citizens, are involved in criminal activity thems elves, or both a percentage which was higher than any other country in Latin America. Additionally, some scholars point to the polarization of Venezuelan society as part of the problem (Briceo Len 2009). Chvez often engages in aggressive rhetoric and upper classes (El lner 2010). According to a survey conducted by the Venezuelan Violence Observatory, 53% of respondents reported that iolence and insecurity (Briceo Len 2009 ). Other explanations that have been offered to accoun
37 crisis include the governments arming of citizens in the form of a Bolivarian Militia and urban colectivos the widespread circulation of arms, unemployment, gang violence, ncreasing role in internat ional drug trafficking (Alvarez 2011; Briceo Len 2009 ; Hawkin s et al. 2008 ; International Crisis Group 2011; Rebotier 2011 ). not reversed the tren d In a 2009 poll, more than 70% of Venezuelans reported that they disapproved of how the administration is confronting crime and vi olence, and more than 50% (Bri ceo Len, vila, and Camardiel 2009). However, one recent measure taken by the Chvez administration that seems promising is a reorganization and reform of the police Following a National Commission for Police Reform, the Organic Law of the Police Service and National Police was passed by presidential decree on April 9, 2008 (Sugget 2008). The Organic Law of the Police Service and National Police outlined new arrangements for the recruitment, training, coordination, and operations of most of the public order police forces. Presumably, the decree aims to transfer administrative control of the police from governors and mayors to the national government which would ultimately result in unified standards of conduct for all law enforcement in Venezuela The decree also called for the creation of a national force, the Bolivarian National Police (PNB), which would be responsible for maintaining public order at a national level and would also give particular emphasis to commun ity policing services (Birkbec k 2009). The creation of a national training institute for police was also
38 mandated by the decree in order to train the new force and other public security bodies according to the new policing model proposed by the National Commission for Police Reform. Th e National Experimental University of Security (UNES) aims to train police according to a model that adheres to the criteria, principles, and guidelines of human rights, and also emphasizes preventative policing as opposed to the traditional punitive appro ach. The first unit of the National Police was launche d on December 20, 2009 (Janicke 2009). Authorities claim that the PNB has contr ibuted to a more than 60% decline in murder and robbery rates in the areas it patrols, although, the reliability of this in formation is uncertain (Alvarez 2011). In the months leading up to the 2012 improve t
39 CHAPTER 3 CRIME VICTIMIZATION, CITIZEN INSECURITY, & POPULAR POLITICAL CULTURE Prior to the 1990s, little attention was given to the impact of crime on democratic stability in Latin America. Instead, scholars focused almost entirely on the threats posed by poor economic performance and the unequal distribution of income (Malone 2010). However, Larry Diamond cautioned against evaluating the efficacy of democratic regimes strictly in economic and materi less concerned with their physical safety and security, which require protection from 89). In addition to threatening the perceived legitimacy of democratic governance, Diamond stressed that 91). Recently, scholars have been giving increased attention to the myriad ways crime can undermine democracy in Latin Amer ica. A growing body of recent research uses public opinion survey data to empirically test the corrosive effects of criminal victimization and citizen insecurity on the values, attitudes, and preferences considered essential to democracy. For our purposes, the focus of this review will be limited to three themes commonly found in the literature: support for democracy, interpersonal trust, and commitment to the rule of law. These various dimensions of political culture in the context of Venezuela are als o the focus of the subsequent data analysis which constitutes the core of this thesis. Public Support for Democracy Perhaps one of the more intuitive political consequences of crime in Latin America and personal safety constitute one of the most basic expectations people have of
40 fundamental principle of democracy as security, it risks being perce ived as illegitimate (Prillaman 2003). Popular support for democracy is crucial to the maintenance and stability of political systems, particularly as it allows democratic regimes to endure and ove rcome times of crisis (Schedler 2001). Although many s cholars simply assume that support for democracy in Latin America declines in the presence of increased criminality, this relationship has been subjected to empirical test only on a few occa sions (Bailey and Flores Macas 2007; Cruz 2003; 2008; Seligson an d Azpuru 2001). Within the general literature on the political consequences of crime the concept of support for democracy is typically measured by responses to two survey items. One asks respondents to rate, on an ordinal scale, how satisfied they are wi research that treats support for democracy as an undifferentiated concept, Ceoba nu, Wood, and Ribeiro (2011 the conceptual differences between them. Accordingly, the authors predict that SWD, as la rgely contingent on evaluation of regime performance, will be vulnerable to the presumed to be a more stable component of political culture. Results supported the hypothe
41 Additionally, fear of crime, included as a control variable, followed the same pattern in re gard to SWD. However, fear did exert a statistically significant negative effect on PFD, but its magnitude was rather negligible. In conclusion, these findings by Ceobano, Wood, and Ribeiro (2011 ) suggest that citizens who experience crime directly or feel vulnerable to victimization may hold the current regime accountable, yet their endorsement of democracy as a preferred form of government should not be shaken. Public Support for Democracy in Venezuela Following the collapse of the Punto Fijo regime and C former coup leader began his term in 1999 with widespread popularity among the population. According to the World Values Survey, satisfaction with the g overnment went from 13.7% during Caldera in 2000. Additionally in 2000, higher in Venezuela than any other country in Latin America ( Hawkin s et al. 2008). a tenure w hich awards him with the distinction of being the longest serving head of state now in power in the Western Hemisphere honeymoon highs of the earlier years. As outlined in the previous chapter, Ch presidency has coexisted with rapidly increasing levels of crime an d violence. Less than 30% bility to resolve the problem (Briceo Len, vila, and Camardiel 2009). Between 2008 and 2010, Venezuela suffered the sharpest decline in satisfaction with democracy in all of Latin America, dropping from 58.8 to 46.3 on a scale fr om 0 to 100 (Seligson an d Smith 2010). In such a climate of consistent insecurity and inefficient government action,
42 considering the intense political polarization of Venezuelan society, it appears pl ausible that satisfaction among the proportion of the population already opposed the current regime may be particularly susceptible to the effects of criminality. Preference for democracy, on the other hand, should not be sensitive to crime. As Wood and Ri beiro (2011 ) demonstrate, preference for democracy as a political system weak and unconsolidated democracies, such as Venezuela, victims have been shown to be no less lik ely to prefer democracy tha n non victims (Wood and Ribeiro 2011). Furthermore, in the 2010 AmericasBarometer survey, the percentage of the population that agreed democracy was preferable to any other form of government was higher in Venezuela (88.04) than in any other country in Latin America, and considerably exceeded the national average (78). It is undeniable that democracy in Venezuela has undergone a profound transformation during the era of Hugo Chvez and his political project, the Bolivarian Revolut ion However, regardless of whether they believe the democratic system has improved or deteriorated, it is clear that the majority of Venezuelans are uninterested in a political alternative. Therefore, with this particularity in mind, along with the findin gs of prior research, neither victimization nor fear of crime Venezuela. Crime and Social Capital Crime also has corrosive effects on social capital, which is thought to be a crucial component of social, political, and economic development. Social capital is broadly
43 and memberships in private 2003: 11). In climates of pervasive crime and violence, people become far less trusting of their fellow citizens. In turn, they tend to withdraw from their communities and society as a whole, which hiders the development of a ro bust civil society (Miethe 1995). Trust also helps foster civic engagement through networks of voluntary associations and citizen organizations, which lead to increased political awareness a nd democratic stability (Newton 2001; Seligson 1999). Recent research in Latin America has shown that victims of crim e and those who are fearful of being victimized register significantly lower leve ls of interpersonal trust (Cruz 2008; Seligson and Azpuru 2001). Controlling for demographic characteristics and socioeconomi c status, Wood and Ribeiro (2011 ) demonstrate that victims of crime in Latin America are significantly less likely than non victims to say they trust the members of their community. Additionally, Prez (2010 ) found that feelings of insecurity had a strong effect on interpersonal trust. Among Latin America ns who felt insecure in their neighborhood, the average value of the indicator of interpersonal trust (measured on scale that varied from 0 to 100) declined from 70 to less than 50. Therefore, whether one experiences crime directly through victimization or indirectly via fear of the possibili ty of becoming a victim, crime the member s of their community. Crime and Social Capital in Venezuela High crime rates, economic insecurity, and democratic fragility have contributed to a dec line in interpersonal tru st across Latin America ( Hawkin s et al. 2008). In politically polarized Venezuela, society is marked by an intense division that fosters suspicion and tenure, insecurity may have an even more pronounced effect on the way people view the
44 members of their community. Between 2008 and 2010, the percentage of Venezuelans that considered their neighbors to be either trustworthy or somewhat trustworthy decline d from 6 7% to 59% (LAPOP 2010). In line with previous research, it is expected that Venezuelans who have fallen victim to crime or are fearful of being victimized will have less trust in the members of their community. Crime and the Rule of Law Finally, cr ime and violence is thought to t hreaten democracy in Latin America by eroding commitment to the rule of law. In countries where the state is weak and police are inefficient and undisciplined, crime can arouse extreme, illegal, and undemocratic responses in attempt to control it (Diamond 1999). Often, these repressive measures attempt to control violence with violence. In a context of widespread insecurity, citizens are more likely to support mano dura vigi lante justice (Wood and Ribeiro 2011 ). Mano dura policies generally involve empowering 2010: 4). as sured citizens that they could successfully confront criminals if only they were able to circumvent the law promises which greatly appealed to those living i n fear (Malone 2010: 2). Furthermore, Latin Americans who become convinced the institutions designe d to protect them are useless are increasingly taking law into their own hands, particularly through vigilante just ice and mob lynching (Prillaman 2003). The relationship between crime and commitment to the rule of law has only recently been subjected to empirical test in the context of Latin America. In Central America, Malone (2010) demonstrated that criminal victimization and fear of crime can
45 relies on recent survey d ata to reveal that crime can prompt citizens to support political problem raises more support for military coups that criminal viole also, Malone 2010: 3 ). In a rece nt study, Wood and Ribeiro (2011 ) found that respondents who had been the victim of a crime were more likely to endorse the idea that police should be permitted to ignore the laws in pursuit of criminals and were more likely to think that a mil itary coup was justified when crime is high. Although this effect was strongest in weak and intermediate democracies, respectively, commitment to the rule of law was also found to be sensitive to victimization in consolidated democracies. Compared to non v crime in the previous year are 26% more likely to approve of an authoritarian p olitical alternative, and are 15 % more likely to support authorities circumventing the law to catch criminals. Prior studies thus suggest that the already fragile commitment to rule of law in Latin America may be further jeopardized in the face of rising criminality, as victims and those living in fear of becoming a victim are more likely to endorse undemocratic measures to control crime. Additionally, the fact that even consolidated democracies are vulnerable to this authoritarian reflex is particularly worrisome. Whereas democracy requires law and order, it is weakened when stability is achieved at the expense o f constitutional guarantees of due pr ocess and human rights (Diamond 1999). Crime and the Rule of Law in Venezuela Venezuela is no exception to what one witnesses in other Latin American countries where a weak commitment to the rule of law both by the s tate and its citizens has continually threatened democratic consolidated ( Hawkin s et al. 2008: 83).
46 Rampant crime and citizen concerns of insecurity are palpable indicators that the institutions designed to insulate the public from potential offenders, s uch as the criminal justice system, are strikingly inefficient. Furthermore, in Venezuela, impunity reigns (Intern ational Crisis Group 2011). In an attempt to quell the rising crisis, Venezuelans may be more inclined to support police circumventing the law in order to catch criminals, particularly if they have themselves been victimized or are living in fear of the possibility. However, because rights violations, the percentage of the populat with the highest percentages of respondents supporting the idea that authorities should always abide by the law, even in th e pursuit of criminals (LAPOP 2010). Therefore, if previous victims and those fearful of crime are more likely to support this undemocratic measure in such a context, as expected, considerable support will be given to the reliability of this relationship. The second dimension of interest regarding the rule of law in Venezuela is approval of vigilante justice. Given that the majority of Venezuelans distrust the efficacy of the justice system to punish criminals, high levels of crime and insecurity may influ ence citizens to take the law into their own hands In a 2007 survey, 62.4% of victims in Venezuela claimed that they did not report their crime to the proper authorities one of the highest percentages in Latin Am erica ( Hawkin s et al. 2008: 86). Although vigilantism has been most notable in Central America (Malone 2010), Venezuela has not escaped this worrisome
47 death sq uads (Prill aman 2003). To my knowledge, the relationship between victimization or fear of crime and approval of citizens taking law into their own hands has not been subjected to empirical test in Latin America. However, I predict that the effects of crime on this di mension of rule of law will follow the same pattern as the other measures, namely that victims and those living in fear of becoming victimized will be more likely to approve of vigilante justice. Finally, there is currently much speculation about the possi bility of a military takeover following the upcoming 2012 presidential election in politically charged Venezuela. Unfortunately, regardless of the electoral result, the risk of an outbreak of po litical violence seems high. Recently named Defense Minister G eneral Henry Rangel starting in 2012 would be selling out the country; the Armed Force is not going to accept 2012 ). On the other hand, in the case of a Chvez perspective of six additional years of cha vismo discipline to disintegrate and radical elements to resort to violen Group 2011: 29). Furthermore, given the degree of polarizatio n and militarization of Venezuelan society, the possibility of a calm post election scenario seems bleak. Therefore, the effect of victimization and fear of crime on support for a military coup in the face of high crime is a particularly salient issue duri ng this time in Venezuelan history. The percentage of the population that reports a willingness to endorse a military takeover is somewhat low in Ve nezuela, at 34.8% (LAPOP 2010). However, the results of Wood and Ribeiro (2011) suggest that the effect of c riminality can significantly
48 increase support for this undemocratic circumstance even in cases where they are far more unlikely. Victimization and Fear To test the effects of criminality on the various dimensions of political culture discussed in this chap ter, the analysis will consider both previous victimization and fear of crime. Although scholarly studies and media accounts highlighting the increase of criminality in Latin America often refer to victimization and fear of crime interchangeably, th ese are two distinct concepts, and t here are several reasons to consider the variables separately. To begin, fear of crime is not merely a function of the statistical probability of being vic timized (Duce and Prez Perdomo 2003). Prior research has demonstrated that perceptions of insecurity do not always coincide with actual rates of crime and violence. Taylor 1991). Feelings of insecurity are also influenced by socioeconomic status, trust in acquaintances, to name a few (Dammert and Malone 2006; Pain 2000; Walkate 2001). Additionally, scholars have demonstrated that fear of crime is a more widespre ad problem than crime itself (Hale 1996). As such, people may feel insecure without ever actually falling victim to crime. Logically, the opposite is also true, as previous victims may not necessarily live in fear. Finally, it is also unclear whether victi mization itself or the fear of becoming a victim is more important in the relationship between crime and political values, attitudes, and behaviors in La tin America (Seligson and Smith 2010). In summary, t his thesis builds upon the prior s tudies of Wood a nd Ribeiro (2011 ), Ceobanu, Wood, and Ribeiro (2011 ), Malone (2010), Prez (2010), and Cruz (2003,
49 2008) to test the hypotheses that criminal victimization and fear of crime erode democratic political culture in Venezuela. As outlined in the previous chapt er, levels of crime and insecurity in Venezuela have increased at alarming rates during recent years and now rank among the highest in all of Latin America. Additionally, the threat posed by this trend is particularly worrisome given the increasingly preca rious nature of democracy under Hugo Chvez. Recent research by Wood and Ribeiro (2011) suggests that the pernicious effects of crime have a more pronounced impact on anti democratic attitudes in weak democracies than in their consolidated counterparts. Fr the electoral process, political pluralism and participation, functioning of government, freedom of expression and belief, associational and organizational rights, rule of law, and personal autonomy and individual rights rank Venezuela as the least consolidated democracy in Latin level of democratic consolidation seems to indicate that political culture in Venezuela may be at considerable risk. Furthermore, as the politically polarized nation prepares for a presidential election, which could put Chvez in power for another 6 years, these issues will likely become increasingly salient. As previously mentioned in this c hapter, there have been some significant changes between 2008 and 2010 in the dimensions of political culture that are of interest in the subsequent analysis. Table 3 1 shows the mean values of the indicators of support for democracy, trust, and rule of la w. Additionally, average levels of victimization and fear of crime are included.
50 Table 3 1. Means for variables of i nterest: 2008 and 2010 Year Measures of Political Culture 2008 2010 Support for Democracy Satisfaction with democracy 2.78 2.40 Preference for democracy 0.97 0.88 Trust Trust in community 2.83 2.71 Rule of Law 0.32 0.27 Approval of vigilante justice 2.86 3.25 Military coup justified 0.38 0.35 Crime Victimization 0.21 0.26 Fear of Crime 2.59 2.51
51 CHAPTER 4 DATA ANALYSIS The AmericasBarometer round of public opinion surveys are administered biennially throughout the Americas (North, Central, South, and the Caribbean) by researchers from the L atin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) hosted at Vanderbilt University under the direction of political scientist Mitchell Seligson. In 2010, 26 countries were surveyed, involving around 43,000 interviews. The survey asks respondents a variety of que stions regarding values, preferences, and behaviors using national probability samples of voting age adults, with quota sampling at the household level. The questionnaire includes response items that serve as operational definitions of three dimensions of political culture, which will be used as dependent variables in this analysis: support for democracy (satisfaction with democracy and preference for democracy) interpersonal trust and commitment to the rule of la w justice, and endorsement of a military coup when crime is high) In addition to measuring a variety of socio demographic variables, the questionnaire also asks whether respondents were the v ictim of a crime during the previous year, and how safe they feel in their neighborhood when they think of the possibility of being criminally victimized. Many of the responses are recorded in the form pinion varies along a four seven or ten point continuum. Other questions prompt answers that are nominal in scale, randomly selected respondents aged 18 or older, which allows the results of the survey
52 Table 4 1 What is the most serious problem facing Venezuela Insecurity 24.85% Delinquency, crime 17.06% Electricity (lack of) 12.63% Economy (problems with, crisis of) 12.16% Unemployment 6.11% Politics 5.78% Inflation 4.30% Bad government 3.16% Water (lack of) 3.09% Corruption 1.54% Environment 1.48% Poverty 0.54% All Others 7.30% Total 100.00% Source: LAPOP Venezuela, 2010 In 2009, th e homicide rate in Venezuela was 49 per 100,000 persons ( UNODC 2011). In Caracas considered one of the most dangerous cities in the world murders reached an astounding 2 33 per 100,000 inhabitants (INE 2009). Nearly every week, the s public opinion surveys which rank insecurity as the foremost concern of the Venezuelan people (Rebotier 2011). The AmericasBarometer survey En su opinin, cul es el problema ms grave que est enfrentando el pas? opinion, what is the most serious problem facing the country?). The respondent is free to mention any pro blem that comes to mind. Table 4 1 shows that insecurity ranks as the top concern among Venezuelans, at nearly one quarter of the population. This is f ollowed closely by delinquency or crime, which is cited by a little over 17% of respondents. Taken together, these closely related responses account for the primary concern of nearly half of the entire sample. It is worth noting that worries about insecuri economy and unemployment.
53 As outlined in the previous chapter, recent research suggests that crime erodes the values, attitudes, and preferences considered essential to democracy. In particular, c riminal victimization and the fear associated with vulnerability to crime are believed to have detrimental effects on democratic political culture. The objective of this chapter is to use the AmericasBarometer 2010 survey to test the hypotheses that crimin al commitment to the rule of law. Additionally, a second hypothesis takes account of the te that the degree to which victimization and fear affect the various measures of political culture will be stronger among non chavistas than chavistas 1 Description of Variables Independent Variables The primary independent variables are criminal victimiz ation and fear of crime. Previous victimization is a dichotomous variable derived from answers to the following Have you been a victim of any type of crime in the past 12 months? That is, have you been a victim of robbery, burglary, assault, fra ud, blackmail, extortion, violent threats or any other type Positive responses were coded 1 and negative responses were coded 0. The phrasing of the question is worth noting. In contrast to widely used public opinion surve ys, such as Latinobarometro, which only present the respondent with the first sentence, the foll ow up statement in the AmericasB arometer survey is explicit with respect to the definition of crime. The validity 1
54 of the questionnaire item in the survey used h ere is not without its limitation s, yet the AmericasB arometer is an improvement over other operational definitions of the concept. operationalized by responses to a question that asks how safe respondents feel in their neighborhood: possibility of being assaulted or robbed, do you feel very safe, somewhat safe, Response categories are on a 4 point scale ranging create four dummy variables. As with all operational definitions, the wording of questions designed to measure fear of crime has been the subject of debate (Lane and Meeker 2003). been criticized because they do not include referen ce to specific types of crime and, as The question included in the AmericasBarometer surveys avoids this common criticism by explicitly limiting the response to fear of b eing assaulted or robbed. Control Variables The analyses also control for the following key indicators of demographic and socio economic status: place of residence, gender, age, education, and income. Place of residence is a dichotomous variable coded 0 f variable was coded 0 for females and 1 for males. Age is measured on a continuous scale, ranging from 18 to 89 years. The education variable is an ordinal level measure using 19 categories. Income is an interval level measure of household income classified in 11 categories.
55 Dependent Variables The following table displays the dependent variables used in this study in greater detail. Table 4 2 includes the specific measure s of political culture concerning support for democracy, trust, and commitment to the rule of law, as well as the questions the items have been operationalized from and their individual ranges. Table 4 2 Dependent v ariables Variable Survey item Range Sa tisfaction w/ democracy (SWD) dissatisfied, dissatisfied, satisfied, or very satisfied with the way democracy works in Venezuela? 1 4 Preference for democracy (PFD) of 0=no 1=yes Trust in community say that the people in this community are untrustworthy, not very trustworthy, somewhat 1 4 Police can authorities should always abide by the law or that 0=no 1=yes Approval of vigilante justice the governmen t does not punish criminals. How A lot) 1 10 Military coup justified 0=no 1=yes Hypotheses The literatures reviewed earlier in this thesis su ggest the following testable hypotheses: It is expected that previous victimization and fear of crime will have a statistically significant negative effect on satisfaction with democracy (SWD) and interpersonal trust. Preference for democracy (PFD) is not expected to be sensitive to victimization nor fear. Previous victims and those who are fearful are expected to express less commitment to the rule of law. Thus, victimization and fear are expected to
56 have a statistically significant positive effect on supp approval vigilante justice, and justification of a military coup when there is a lot of crime. Additionally, these relationships are expected to be stronger among those who do not support Chvez compared to those who do. Descriptive Analysis of Variables Independent Variables Responses in Table 4 3 show the averages for the two primary independent variables, victimization and fear of crime. The mean for victi mization shows that 26.2% of respondents reported falling victi m to crime during the previous year. This percentage is slightly lower for chavistas at 25.2% Among non chavistas 28.1% reported being Chavis tas report slightly more fear than non chavistas on average. Among Chvez suppor ters, the majority (36.5% of non supporters (34.4% ) fall in the n). Table 4 3. Means: Victimization and fear of c rime Mean SD Victim 0.262 0.440 Chavista 0.252 0.435 Non Chavista 0.281 0.451 Fear of Crime 2.515 0.943 Chavista 2.709 0.946 Non Chavista 2.419 0.966 Source: LAPOP Venezuela, 2010 Dependent Variables Table 4 4 presents the mean values for the two measures of support for democracy: satisfaction with democracy (SWD) and preference for democracy (PFD). The country average for SWD is 2.398 on the 1 4 scale (SD=0.823). The majority of
57 ci tizens (46.1% in their country, followed by 28.7% responses each contain roughly 10% (not shown). On average, Chvez supporters report mor e satisfaction than non supporters, M=3.065 and M=2.039, respectively. Preference for democracy is very high, with 88% reporting that democracy is preferable to any other form of government (SD=0.325). Chvez supporters have a slightly lower average for PF D t han non supporters, 81.6% and 89.1% respectively. Table 4 4. Means: Support for d emocracy Mean SD Satisfaction with Democracy 2.398 0.823 Chavista 3.065 0.741 Non Chavista 2.039 0.697 Preference for Democracy 0.880 0.325 Chavista 0. 816 0.388 Non Chavista 0.891 0.312 Source: LAPOP Venezuela, 2010 The average responses for the next dimension of political culture, interpersonal trust, are displayed in Table 4 5. The mean for this variable, at 2.711, shows that respondents feel t supporters report slightly more trust in the members of their community than non supporters, M=2.757 and M=2.668, respectively. Table 4 5. Means: Interpersonal t rust Mean SD Trust in Nei ghbors 2.711 0.928 Chavista 2.757 0.925 Non Chavista 2.668 0.944 Source: LAPOP Venezuela, 2010 Finally, the average responses for the three measures of rule of law are displayed in Table 4 vigilante justice, and willingness to endorse a military coup. Slightly more than a quarter of respondents
58 criminals (SD=0.445). This percentage is lower among chavistas (M= 0.226). Am ong non supporters, 31.4% support police circumventing the law (SD=0.465). Next, the average response for approval of vigilante justice is 3.305 on a scale from 1 to 6 (SD=3.644). Chvez supporters are slightly less likely to approve of people ta king the law into their own hands than non chavistas M=3.048 and M=3.646, respect ively. Finally, 34.8% of respondents agree that a military coup would be justified when crime is high (SD=0.476). Chvez supporters are considerably less likely to agree to t his undemocratic measure than non sup porters. While only 26.9% of chavistas are willing to endorse a military coup in t imes of high crime, 41.9% of those who do not support the current president report willingness to do so. Table 4 6. Means: Rule of l aw M ean SD 0.271 0.445 Chavista 0.226 0.419 Non Chavista 0.314 0.465 Approval of Vigilante Justice 3.305 3.644 Chavista 3.048 2.861 Non Chavista 3.646 4.304 Endorse Military Coup 0.348 0.476 Cha vista 0.269 0.444 Non Chavista 0.419 0.494 Source: LAPOP Venezuela, 2010 Regression Analyses Two multivariate statistical methods, ordinary least squares (OLS) regression and logistic regression, are used to test the various research hypotheses. OL S regression is used for the various ordinal level dependent variables: SWD, trust, and approval of vigilante justice. Logistic regression is used for the various binary level dependent variables: PFD, support for police circumventing the law, and willingn ess to endorse a
59 military coup when crime is high. The advantage of OLS and logistic regression is that they enable me to test for the effects of the primary independent variables (victimization and fear of crime) while controlling for other factors that m ay also influence the various dimensions of political cultures. Table 4 7 through Table 4 12 contain the results for the primary hypotheses. The results of the secondary analysis, which test for the effect of political polarization in Venezuela, are presen ted in Table 4 13 through Table 4 18. Attitudinal Consequences of Victimization and Fear Satisfaction with d emocracy The results with respect to satisfaction with democracy support the hypotheses that criminal victimization and fear of crime reduce citizen democracy works i n Venezuela, as shown in Table 4 7 On a scale that ranges from 1 to 4, satisfaction with democracy is .22 lower among those who have been victimized during the previous year compared to non victims ( p <0.01) F ear of crime also satisfaction with the way democracy works in Venezuela Compared to those who feel very safe in their neighborhood, satisfaction for those who feel somewhat safe, somewhat unsafe, and very unsafe is reduced by .159 ( p< 0.05) .282 ( p< 0.01 ) and .426 ( p< 0.01 ) on the 1 4 scale, respectively. Males report more satisfaction with the way democracy works in their country than females (coefficient = 0.167 ; p< 0.01 ) and satisfaction also increases with age, although only slightly (coefficient = 0.001 ; p< 0.05 ) Together, previous victimization, fear of crime and the control variables explain 6% the way democracy works in Venezuela
60 Table 4 7. Satisfaction with d emocr acy Coefficient (Constant) 2.625 Urban .112 Male .167*** Age .001** Education .002 Income .000 Victim .224*** Fear of Crime Somewhat Safe .159** Somewhat Unsafe .282*** Very Unsafe .426*** R .06 Source: LAPOP Venezuela 2010 ***Significant at .01 or less. **Significant at .05 or less Preference for d emocracy Table 4 8 reports the results of the logistic regression that tests for the effect of victimization and fear of crime on preference for democracy. As ex pected, and consistent with previous research, PFD is not sensitive to crime victimization. Previous victims are no less likely to prefer democracy as a form of government than non victims. However, contrary to expectation, fear of crime does have a statis tically significant effect amon in their neighborhood. The odds of preferring their neighborhood are 50% lower than stent with expectation and particularly noteworthy given that preference for democracy is thought to be a more stable component of political culture and presumed to be less susceptible to the pernicious effects of criminality. However, the R value indicat es that we are only able to explain 1% of the variance.
61 Table 4 8. Preference for d emocracy B Odds Ratio (Constant) 1.835 6.265 Urban .157 1.170 Male .068 1.070 Age .005 1.005 Education .007 .993 Income .007 1.007 Victim .097 1.101 Fear of Crim e Somewhat Safe .026 .974 Somewhat Unsafe .255 .775 Very Unsafe .693** .500** R .01 Source: LAPOP Venezuela 2010 ***Significant at .001 or less. **Significant at .05 or less. Interpersonal t rust The results concernin mmunity are displayed in Table 4 9 Contrary to expectation, victimization does not have a significant effect on reported trust Previous victims are no less trustful of the members of their community than non victims Fear of crime, however, follows the hypothesized relationship. As fear of crime increases, interpersonal trust decreases. Compared to those who feel very safe in their neighborhood, interpersonal trust for those who feel somewhat safe ( p <0.10) somewhat unsafe ( p <0.01) and very unsafe ( p <0.01) is reduced by .134, .496, and .785 on the 1 4 scale, respectively. Males also report more trust in the members of their community than females (coefficient = 0.09; p< 0.10) Additionally, interpersonal trust increas es as income increases although only slightly (coefficient = 0.003; p< 0.01) Together, the se variables explain 9.2% of the variance in trust in neighbors.
62 Table 4 9. Interpersonal t rust Coefficient (Constant) 3.101 Urban .109 Male .090* Age .000 Education .003 Income .003*** Victim .018 Fear of Crime Somewhat Safe .134* Somewhat Unsafe .496*** Very Unsafe .785*** R .092 Source: LAPOP Venezuela 2010 ***Significant at .01 or less. **Significant at .05 or les s. *Significant at .10 or less. Police circumventing the l aw Table 4 1 0 reports the results of the logistic regression that tests for the effect of The findings generally support the predicted relationships, although some findings are mixed. As predicted, victimization has a significant positive effect on support for police circumventing the law in the pursuit of criminals The probability of supporting police is 1.88 times greater for victims than non victims ( p <0.01) Fear of crime also ha s a significant positive effect on support for police circumventing the law. However, the effect is strongest for those who feel somewhat safe, somewhat unsafe, and v ery unsafe in their neighborhoods respectively. This outcome is unexpected and puzzling. Together, victimization and fear of cri me account for only 2.5% of the variance in endorsement of the police circumventing the law in the pursuit of criminals.
63 Tab le 4 10. Support B Odds Ratio (Constant) 1.576 .207 Urban .204 1.227 Male .122 1.139 Age .001 .999 Education .014 .986 Income .003 .997 Victim .631*** 1.879*** Fear of Crime Somewhat Safe .494* 1.639* Somewhat Unsafe .400** 1.492** Very Unsafe .380* 1.462* R .025 Source: LAPOP Venezuela 2010 ***Significant at .01 or less. **Significant at .05 or less. *Significant at .10 or less. Vigilante j ustice Table 4 11 reports the r esults of the OLS regression that tests for the effect of victimization and fear of crime on approval of vigilante justice. Contrary to expectation, victims are no more likely than non victims to support people taking law into their own hands. Fear of crim e shows a significant negative among those who feel only Additionally, although not reaching statistical significance, the relationship is also category is significant. In an attempt to get a clearer picture between the relationship of fear and approval for v igilante justice, an additional approach (not shown) executes the categories. This dichotomous interpretation shows that fear is not a significant predictor of support for p
64 as t he other two measures traditionally found in the literature. Table 4 11. Approval of vigilante j ustice Coefficient (Constant) 3.776 Urban .215 Male .060 Age .004 Education .014 Income .002 Victim .262 Fear of Crime Somewhat Safe .594 ** Somewhat Unsafe .313 Very Unsafe .358 R .007 Source: LAPOP Venezuela 2010 ***Significant at .01 or less. **Significant at .05 or less. *Significant at .10 or less. Military c oup Finally, th e regression analysis in Table 4 12 displays the results of the effect of victimization and fear of crime on justification for a military coup when there is a lot of crime. As expected, Venezuelans who have been victimized by crime in the previous year are more likely to believe a military coup would be justified in the face of high crime. Victims are 1.71 times more likely to justify such a scenario than non victims. Fear of crime, however, does not statistically increase the likelihood of approving a military coup, contrary to t he hypothesized relationship. Thus, the hypothesized effect of crime is only partially supported regarding this measure of rule of law.
65 Table 4 12. Endorsement o f a military coup when crime is h igh B Odds Ratio (Constant) .376 .686 Urban .186 1.204 Male .033 1.034 Age .010** .990** Education .016 .984 Income .003 1.003 Victim .535*** 1.708*** Fear of Crime Somewhat Safe .205 .814 Somewhat Unsafe .050 .951 Very Unsafe .077 1.080 R .024 Source: LAPOP Venezuela 2010 ***Significant at .01 or less. **Significant at .05 or less. *Significant at .10 or less. The Effect of Political Polarization Satisfaction with d emocracy Table 4 13 reports the results of the separate OLS regressions that test for the e ffect of victimization and fear of crime on satisfaction with democracy among chavistas and non chavistas The effect of victimization remains consistent in the separate regression models for both Chvez supporters and non supporters. However, contrary to expectation, the effect is slightly stronger for cha vistas with a .253 decline in the 1 4 satisfaction scale among supporters and a .228 decline for non supporters. The effect of fear is also stronger among chavistas Compared to those who report feeling (R =0.062) =0.054).
66 Ta ble 4 13. Satisfaction with democracy by s upport for Chvez Coefficient Cha vista Non Chavista (Constant) 3.156 2.565 Urban .128* .214* Male .101 .087* Age .001 .002 Education .008* .006 Income .001* .002 Victim .253*** .228*** Fear of Cr ime Somewhat Safe .101 .113 Somewhat Unsafe .087 .124 Very Unsafe .295** .230* R .062 .054 Source: LAPOP Venezuela 2010 ***Significant at .01 or less. **Significant at .05 or less. *Significant at .10 or le ss. Preference for d emocracy The results concerning preference for de mocracy are displayed in Table 4 14 Once again, victims are no less likely report PFD than non victims, regardless of partisanship. The results of the separate regressions for chavistas and non chavistas indicate that the effect of fear is specific to those who are not Chvez supporters. non chavistas respectively, less l ikely to indicate preference for democracy. Although the relationship between fear and PFD was not expected to be significant, the finding that personal insecurity has a stronger effect on those who do not support Chvez is consistent with prediction. Amon g the control variables, the results indicate that Chvez supporters who live in urban areas are 4.55 times more likely to report that democracy is preferable to any other form of government than their rural counterparts. Additionally, the effect of educat ion on PFD acts in an
67 opposite direction depending on partisanship. For chavistas education has a negative, albeit small, effect on PFD. Among those who do not support the government, PFD increases as education increases. Table 4 14. Preference for democr acy by s upport for Chvez Chavista Non Chavista B Odds Ratio B Odds Ratio (Constant) .062 1.064 1.866 6.463 Urban 1.515*** 4.550*** .704 .494 Male .338 1.402 .161 .851 Age .006 1.006 .005 1.005 Education .046** .955** .157*** 1.170*** Income .004 .996 .019 1.019* Victim .242 .785 .279 1.322 Fear of Crime Somewhat Safe .363 1.437 .807 .446 Somewhat Unsafe .321 1.378 1.108 .330** Very Unsafe .294 .745 1.244 .288** R .058 .055 Source: LAPOP Venezuela 2010 ***S ignificant at .01 or less. **Significant at .05 or less. Interpersonal t rust Table 4 15 reports the results of the OLS regressions that test for the effect of victimization and fear of crime on interpersonal trust according to partisanship. Victimi zation remains insignificant for both Chvez supporters and non supporters. is supported, the separate regressions for chavistas and non chavistas indicate that the im pact is actually stronger among Chvez supporters, rather than their non cha vista counterparts. chavistas who report feeling somewhat safe, somewhat unsafe, and very unsafe declines by .234, .532, and 1.037, r non chavistas
68 tru st is reduced by .463 and .653, respectively, which is a smaller decline in trust than was found for Chvez supporters. Table 4 15. Interpersonal t rust b y s upport for Chvez Coefficient Chavista Non Chavista (Constant) 3.166 2.713 Urban .105 .038 Male .098 .085 Age .000 .006** Education .001 .004 Income .003 .003* Victim .060 .046 Fear of Crime Somewhat Safe .234* .066 Somewhat Unsafe .532*** .463*** Very Unsafe 1.037*** .653*** R .133 .103 Source: LAPOP Venezue la 2010 ***Significant at .01 or less. **Significant at .05 or less. *Significant at .10 or less. Police circumventing the l aw Table 4 16 reports the results of the separate logistic regressions that test for the effect of victimizati on and fear of crime on support for police circumventing the law. These findings seem to suggest that the significant positive effect of victimization is specific to non chavistas Among those who do not support Chvez, the odds of rossi higher than the odds for non victims. This effect of victimization is not statistically significant for chavistas contrary to expectation. However, this difference between non chavistas and chavistas does lend support to the hypothes is that the impact should be stronger among those who do not support the current president. The effect of fear is clearer when the analysis is divided by
69 partisanship. For non supporters of Chvez, fear is no longer significant. For chavistas fear of crim observation that the coefficient for fear does not show a monotonic increase (from expected pattern. An alternative approach (not shown) executes the same regression dichotomous interpreta tion of fear shows the predicted pattern of fear on support for police circumventing the law. In conclusion, the divergent effects of victimization and fear according to partisanship underscore the idea that victimization and fear are two distinct concepts Also, these findings lend support to the idea that the effect of crime on political culture is affected by the social and political c ontext in which it is embedded. Table 4 upport for Chvez Chavista Non Chavis ta B Odds Ratio B Odds Ratio (Constant) 21.589 .000 .373 .689 Urban 20.243 6.189 .247 .781 Male .260 1.297 .134 1.143 Age .001 1.001 .016*** .984*** Education .047 .955 .011 .989 Income .007 .993 .001 .999 Victim .404 1.498 .616*** 1.851* ** Fear of Crime Somewhat Safe .316 1.371 .402 1.495 Somewhat Unsafe .766** 2.150** .363 1.437 Very Unsafe .429 1.536 .285 1.330 R .058 .033 Source: LAPOP Venezuela 2010 ***Significant at .01 or less. **Significant at .05 or less. *Significant at .10 or less.
70 Vigilante j ustice Table 4 17 reports the results of the OLS regressions that test for the effect of victimization and fear of crime on approval of vigilante justice according to partisanship. Unlike the pr imary analysis, victimization is shown to have a significant effect on support for people taking the law into their own hands. However, this relationship is specific to cha vista victims. Chvez supporters who have fallen victim to crime in the previous yea r approve of citizens taking the law into their own hands by an increase of .678 over non victims. Contrary to expectation, this relationship is not significant among those who do not support Chvez. Victimization does not have a significant effect on appr oval of vigilante justice among those who do not support the current president. Thus, the secondary hypothesis that predicts the effect of victimization will be stronger among non chavistas is not supported. Once again, fear of crime shows a significant ne gative Like the victimization, this effect is specific to Chvez supporters. Together with the control variables, victimization and fear of crime explain only slightly mor e than 4% of the variance (R =0.042). As before, another approach using a dichotomous measure of fear was attempted to provide more clarity to this relationship (not shown). This dichotomous interpretation among chavistas also shows that fear is not a sign ificant predictor of support for people taking the law into their own hands. Therefore, the effect of victimization does lend some support to the general hypothesis, but the difference between chavistas and non chavistas does not behave as predicted. Addit ionally, fear of crime does not appear to have an effect on approval of vigilante justice, at least not in the context of Venezuela.
71 T able 4 17. Approval of vigilante justice by s upport for Chvez Coefficient Chavista Non Chavista (Constant) 2.626 4.47 2 Urban 1.336* .034 Male .107 .147 Age .002 .013 Education .026 .008 Income .001 .001 Victim .678* .038 Fear of Crime Somewhat Safe 1.057*** .424 Somewhat Unsafe .655 .073 Very Unsafe .896 .497 R .042 .005 Source: LAPOP Venezuela 2010 ***Significant at .01 or less. **Significant at .05 or less. *Significant at .10 or less. Military c oup The results concerning support for a military coup are d isplayed in Table 4 18 The separate regressions for chavistas and non chavistas suggest that the positive significant relationship between victimization and willingness to endorse a military coup is specific to those who do not support the current administration (odds ratio, 1.739). This finding lends supp ort to the hypothesis that the effect of crime will be stronger among non chavistas than chavistas As before, fear does not statistically increase the likelihood of endorsing a military coup when there is a lot of crime, regardless of partisanship. Among those who do not support Chvez, the control variables and victimization explain only 2.5% of the variance, however. Therefore, b oth the primary and secondary hypotheses are only partially supported for this measure o f commitment to the rule of law.
72 Table 4 18. Endorsement of a military coup when crime is high by s upport for Chvez Chavista Non Chavista B Odds Ratio B Odds Ratio (Constant) 1.903 .149 .352 1.422 Urban 1.710 5.531 .169 .845 Male .093 1.098 .167 1.182 Age .022** .978** .008 .992 Education .020 .980 .026 .975 Income .002 1.002 .004 1.004 Victim .280 1.323 .553*** 1.739*** Fear of Crime Somewhat Safe .222 .801 .299 .742 Somewhat Unsafe .435 1.545 .263 .769 Very Unsafe .654 1.924 .208 .813 R .058 .025 Source: LAPOP Venezuela 2010 ***Significant at .01 or less. **Significant at .05 or less. *Significant at .10 or less.
73 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION The shift away from outright authoritarian regimes in Latin America which began in one count ry after another in the 1980s marked what is surely one of the most significant attracted the attention of social scientists intent on understanding, in the first inst ance, the factors and processes that led to the transition to democracy, and in the second, understanding the character and sustainability of the democracies that came about. Analysts of the post transition period who were concerned with the prospects of established electoral democracies were incomplete, fragile, and subject to reversal, as regimes contended with longstanding challenges, such as political exclusion and socioeconomic inequality, as well as with new problems, such as the increase in corruption, crime, and violence. For many researchers, criminality and democracy were thus joined in an approach that focused on the various ways in which crime victimization and citizen insecurity thr eatened to modify, perhaps undo, the progress toward democracy that had been achieved. One strand of that research proposed a number of hypotheses which were rarely subjected to empirical test regarding the effects of victimization and fear of crime on the attitudes, values, and behaviors that are, presumably, required of the process of democratic governance and the prospects of democratic consolidation. This research builds upon prior studies by Wood and Ribeiro (2011), Ceobanu, Wood, and Ribeiro (20 11 ), Malone (2010), Prez (2010), and Cruz (2008) by testing the hypotheses that, net of socio demographic control variables, criminal victimization and fear of crime erode democratic political culture in Venezuela. Additionally, the analysis
74 went beyond t he hypotheses traditionally found in the existing literature by specifying and empirically testing the prediction that the political environment (partisanship, in particular) is important in the relationship between crime and popular political culture. The crime whether directly through victimization or indirectly via fear of becoming a potential victim promotes attitudes, beliefs, and preferences deemed detrimental to demo cr atic consolidation. The empirical results lend support the widely accepted assertion that rising criminality poses a threat to democratic political culture. Apart from this general conclusion, however, the findings underscore the notion that victimizatio n dispositions in unique ways. Furthermore, these findings challenge the often cited generalization that political culture, as a unitary phenomenon, is vulnerable to crime by demonstrating that not all components of this concept are affected equally. Finally, the findings associated with the effect of partisanship lend support to the idea that the effect of crime on democratic attitudes, beliefs, and preferences can be media ted by the by the social and political context in which it is embedded. Empirical tests of the primary hypotheses used six attitudinal measures representing three dimensions of political culture: support for democracy, interpersonal trust, and commitment t o the rule of law. The results generally support the hypothesized relationships, although some findings were mixed. In regard to the two measures of support for democracy their country and their preference for democracy as a political system the findings were partially consistent with expectation. Satisfaction with democracy was sensitive to
75 both criminal victimization and fear of crime, as predicted. Preference for democracy, on the other hand behaved in an unexpected yet revealing way. In line with previous research, victims in Venezuela were no less likely to prefer democracy as a political system than non victims. However, fear of crime did have a significant effect on or democracy although the variance explained by this relationship was very low. In any event, this significant finding is noteworthy for two reasons. Not only is PFD considered to be less vulnerable to disturbance than SWD, but reported preference for demo cracy is higher in Venezuela than in any other country in Latin America and is considerably higher than the regional average. The results with respect to interpersonal trust were also only partially consistent with prediction. Contrary to expectation, vict imization did not have a significant effect on research. One potential explanation of this anomalous finding considers the location of where the victimization occurr ed. Unfortunately, the 2010 AmericasBarometer in Venezuela does not contain a follow up question regarding where the respondent fell victim to crime. However, given the ubiquity of crime in Venezuela, it is not unlikely that a considerable portion of victi is so, it would be plausible to that victimization would have no effect on trust in the prediction, as fear of crime inc reased, Venezuelans were significantly less likely to report trust in their neighbors. Therefore, the relationship between crime and interpersonal trust only receives partial support in this analysis.
76 Finally, the results with respect to three indicators rule of law support for police circumventing the law, approval of vigilante justice, and willingness to endorse a military coup when crime is high largely suggest that the effect of crime on this dimension of political cul ture may be specific to direct experience with crime. Previous victims were significantly more likely than non victims to support did not behave as expected for eithe r measure. In regard to supporting police circumventing the law, fear of crime did have a significant effect but the coefficients declined somewhat as insecurity increased. This finding is perplexing but does lend some support to the idea that fear can ero de this particular commitment to the rule of law. Willingness to endorse a military coup, however, was not sensitive to fear of crime. The results for approval of vigilante justice indicated that neither victimization nor fear is significant for this relat ionship. Although this dimension of the rule of law did not behave as anticipated in the context of Venezuela, this is not to suggest that the relationship would not be significant elsewhere, such as Central America where approval of people taking the law into their own hands is much higher. The results of the subsequent analysis, which took into consideration the effect of partisanship in Venezuela, support the general hypothesis that the relationship between crime and democratic attitudes, beliefs, and p references should be affected by the political context in which it is embedded. However, the effect of victimization and fear was not always stronger among those who do not support the current president, as expected. Satisfaction with democracy was sensiti ve to both victimization and fear of crime among Chvez supporters and non supporters alike. Contrary to prediction, this
77 effect was actually slightly stronger among chavistas These findings suggest that even supporters of Chvez may become less satisfied with the way democracy works under his leadership if they fall victim to crime or feel unsafe in their neighborhoods. non chavistas Although the relationship between fear and PFD was not expected to be significant, the fact that it is confined to those who do not support the president makes it a bit less surprising. This finding is slightly worrisome given that political violence may surround the upcoming post election scenario and a fearful opposition could become increasing more likely to endorse an alternative to democratic governance. Interpersonal trust reacted in a similar manner to satisfaction with democracy. Although fear of crime significantly reduced trust in neighbors f or chavistas and non chavistas alike, this effect was slightly stronger among the former. Finally, the three measures of commitment to the rule of law behaved in inconsistent ways depending on partisanship. Previous victims that do not support the presiden t were more likely to victim counterparts, while neither of these relationships were significant among chavistas These findings suggest that, at least nominally, Chvez supporters remain committed to these two forms of the rule of law even if they are personally affected by crime. Non chavistas however, may be more likely to endorse authoritarian alternatives if they themselves directly suffer the consequences of criminality. The r esults with respect to vigilante justice suggest that Chvez supporters are more likely to forgo the rule of law by taking law into their own hands, or at least approving of those who do so. Although the primary analysis failed to reveal a significant rela tionship between the variables of
78 interest, the separate partisanship regressions show that chavistas who have fallen victim to crime are significantly more likely to approve of vigilante justice than non victims. Fear of crime was also significant, but on and the direction of the relationship was the opposite of expectation. A dichotomous interpretation of fear suggests that there is no relationship between personal insecurity and approval of people taking the law into the ir own hands. In conclusion, although chavistas takeover if they are victimized, a reduced commitment to the rule of law may manifest itself by other means. As a whole the res ults suggest that crime and violence may pose a threat to the already precarious nature of democracy in Venezuela. However, the low percent of variance explained by victimization and fear, along with the control variables, causes some hesitation in accepti ng this conclusion. The low explanatory power could indicate that the emphasis, in the literature, on the presumably dramatic effects of crime on political culture might be overstated. In the face of increasing criminality, particularly over an extended pe riod of time, people may simply adapt and become accustomed to their deteriorating security (Casas Zamora 2012) In this view, declining levels of public safety may be detrimental to democratic political culture, but its impact should be rather negligible. On the other hand, the ubiquity of crime and insecurity in Venezuela may contribute to the low explanatory power of victimization and fear in a very different way. In such a particular socio political environment where crime and insecurity are so pervasi ve, variables that may have greater explanatory power in other contexts such as, whether the respondent was criminally victimized during the previous year lose
79 their discrete meaning. This line of reasoning would suggest that exposure to crime and conc erns of public safety are so common among the Venezuelan population that variation in other variables simply do es not make much difference. Finally, another potential explanation of the low percent of variance explained could be related to the specific sur vey questions used to measure victimization and fear. Although respondents were asked whether they had fallen victim to crime in the previous year, it does not seem unlikely that those who had been victimized in years prior to this particular time period c ould still be suffering the negative effects of their experience. I n regard to fear of crime respondents were asked to rate how vulnerable they felt in their own neighborhood. While how secure one feels in their community is undoubtedly important, people may be even more fearful of being victimized in areas outside their place of residence that they frequent on a daily bases. Therefore, these specific measures may fail to fully capture the detrimental effects of victimization and fear due to such limitatio ns. Unfortunately, an analysis of these explanations is outside the scope of this thesis. However, future research focusing on the effects of crime on political culture in Latin America should attempt to address these possibilities. Although the variance explained by the independent and control variables was lower than expected, victimization and fear were shown to have significant negative effects on several of the dimensions of democratic political culture considered. The implications of this trend are s omewhat worrisome given that prospects for declining crime rates look bleak and pol itical polarization may intensif y with the impending presidential election However, as one of the most serious problems currently facing the country, this subject is likely to receive a great deal of attention in the campaigning
80 months ahead attention it undeniably deserves. Following recent criticism from the crime problem, the administra tion announced the creation of a new armed force the to improve public security through disarmament, control of alcohol, stopping small scale drug trafficking, and reducing violent crime (Mundial 2011). Whether these and other recent sec urity enhancing measures are ephemeral tactics commitment toward reducing crime levels is yet to be seen. Regardless of the electoral outcome, the president starting his term in 2013 would be well served to give increased attent ion to citizen insecurity which may have important implications for democratic governance. The findings contained in this thesis underscore the important position of public attitudes for the stabil ity of democracy in Venezuela, and in general. Although, the political elite undoubtedly plays a substantial role in the establishment, maintenance, and consolidation of democracy, as Larry Diamond (1999) has demonstrated throughout his work, this one side d focus overlooks the significance of public values, attitudes, and preferences. Once it is clear that the cognitive orientations of the public are relevant, it becomes important to understand the factors that influence them. In this case, the focus has be en on the rise in criminal behavior and the associated citizen insecurity, which, as the findings show, have consequences for the subjective orientations that many analysts consider fundamental to democratic governance.
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88 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH raised by her mother in Sioux City, Iowa. After graduating from East High School, she moved to Tampa, Florida where she attended Hillsborou gh Community College. Upon completion of her Associate of Arts degree, she transferred to the University of Florida, where she graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in p sychology and a minor in Latin American studies. In 2010, Angela enrolled in t he Master of Arts in Latin American Studies (MALAS) program at the University of Florida, where she specialized in sociology. In the summer of 2011, she was awarded a research grant to complete her cas, Venezuela. Ange la graduate d with her