At the prison in Puerto Ayacucho, located in a remote area of tropical rainforest, forces entered the grounds in an attempt to restore order in the prison, where the inmates had seized control several weeks ago. Witnesses reported hearing shots for several hours and the state governor Liborio Guarulla called it a “massacre”. The city’s morgue had been overwhelmed trying to handle so many bodies.
Prison in Venezuela
The prison was holding 105 inmates at the time of the riot. The office of Venezuela’s chief prosecutor said on social media that 14 prison guards were injured. Venezuela has around 30 prisons. Many of them are dominated by criminal gangs that traffic in weapons and narcotics. The prison system, built to hold about 16,000 inmates, is currently estimated to house some 50,000 prisoners This is the deadliest prison incident in Venezuela since 2013 when a prison riot killed 61 people. Human rights advocates have long complained that violent gangs exercise de facto control over many of the country’s prisons and have ready access to automatic weapons and even hand grenades. Conditions in Venezuelan prisons have deteriorated badly as the country suffers its worst ever economic crisis.