Venezuela prison riot leaves dozens dead


A relative of an inmate of El Rodeo II penitentiary prays outside the prison compounds in Guatire, outskirts of Caracas, on June 19, 2011. National Guard troops were scrambling Sunday trying to retake control of Venezuela's El Rodeo prison, where 25 people have been killed in three days of unrest, the country's interior chief said. The prison riot at El Rodeo, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Caracas, is the most violent in Venezuela since 1999, when a battle between guards and prisoners left 27 people dead. AFP PHOTO/Leo RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)



Another brutal prison riot has erupted in Venezuela, this time at the Uribana prison. The riot was triggered after prisoners found out that National Guard soldiers were coming to the facility to search for weapons, BBC News reported.

"What should have been a normal procedure in any prison ended in a clash between National Guard [soldiers] and inmates," Venezuelan human rights activist Carlos Nieto Palma told the BBC.

More from GlobalPost: In Venezuela’s prisons, inmates are the wardens

Images on news stations in Venezuela showed the National Guard troops surrounding Uribana as inmates in bloody clothes were taken out of the building, Agence France Presse reported. Loved ones could be seen waiting behind the prison barriers in tears.

GlobalPost's correspondent in Venezuela Girish Gupta reports that at least a couple hundred people, mostly women, were waiting outside the prison for news of their sons, brothers, or husbands. 

"The women are mainly outside asking why the government isn't telling them anything," Gupta said. "They don't know whether their sons and brothers and husbands are dead or alive. It's the same situation as always with these prison riots, sadly. Now it's all a waiting game." 

At least 50 people have been killed and 88 have been injured, mostly from gunshots, Al Jazeera reported. The Los Angeles Times put the death toll at 55 on Saturday afternoon.

Riots are common in Venezuela's notoriously overcrowded prisons. GlobalPost visited Venezuela's La Planta prison in May and found that prison guards were nowhere to be seen.