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Caracas: “A War Zone”

In Venezuela these days, no one is safe, especially local and foreign business people.


CARACAS -- David Troup (not his real name) knows the drill when he goes to Caracas. The 40-year-old financial analyst always takes a vetted taxi service, which offers armored cars and armed drivers.

He spends almost all of his time at his hotel or the office, and doesn’t make a point of going out by himself. He dresses down, and leaves his watch and jewelry at home. He doesn’t answer his iPhone when he’s out in traffic, preferring to keep it under wraps.

And he counts the days until he leaves.

Caracas is a war zone,” he says. “I just want to make sure that I’m not another statistic.”

Troup has reason to worry.

Caracas is the most dangerous capital city in the world, more dangerous than Baghdad,” says Roberto Briceño Leon, who heads the Observatorio Venezolano de Violencia, a non-government watchdog that monitors crime in the country.

According to figures compiled by the Observatorio, more than 19,000 murders ...

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