Venezuela: more than 14,000 homicides in 2011
Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami says the country's homicide rate was 50 slayings per 100,000 people, one of the highest rates in Latin America. That's about the same as the 48 per 100,000 reported for 2010.
El Aissami told reporters Thursday that President Hugo Chavez's government recognizes violent crime as a "serious problem."
The government had not previously released homicide statistics for last year. The watchdog group Venezuelan Violence Observatory has provided an unofficial tally of more than 19,000 killings last year. But El Aissami says a total of 14,092 people were slain in 2011 in the country.