A huge labyrinth skirts the outer rims of the city of Caracas, climbing up and over the valleys. It is Petare, home to some two million people and the highest crime rates in Latin America - larger and more violent as years go on. Overcrowded, unofficial cities filled with young mothers, fatherless children; many fall into a life of underage crime and drugs, lucky to survive adolescence without being shot, killed or spending time in prison.
According to the Venezuelan children’s rights group CECODAP, the number of crimes perpetrated by minors increased 70% in 2014, while Reuters reported one youth was murdered every ten hours. UNICEF states Venezuela as the third worst country worldwide for youth homicides. While none of this information is disputable, what the mainstream media tends to forget or chooses not to highlight is that behind all of the negativity and darkness that shrouds these areas, there lays many a normal existence. Two million Venezuelans have moved abroad in the last four years.
Opportunities normally do not arrive on the doorsteps of those who consider Petare home and so they continue to look for light closer to home, taking solace in the amenities available and friendships forged in a too fragile peace.
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