Venezuela prison riot kills at least 40, including warden

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A prison riot in Venezuela has left at least 40 dead and 50 others injured, authorities said this week.

Prisoners at the Llanos Penitentiary Center in Guanare demanded that their relatives be allowed to deliver food to them. When guards refused, inmates started to protest.

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The situation quickly escalated, leading to an armed confrontation that resulted in the death of a National Guard officer, who was wounded by an explosion, and the warden, who suffered a knife wound.

Venezuelan Minister of Penitentiary Services Iris Varela confirmed the riot, telling local newspaper Ultimas Noticias that the inmates attacked officers standing guard outside the prison.

The Venezuela prison system is composed of roughly 30 prisons and 500 jails, but the prisons are badly overcrowded, easily exceeding their estimated limit of 110,000 inmates.

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According to the human rights group Venezuelan Prison Observatory, the Guanare prison was built to hold 750 inmates but is filled beyond capacity with 2,500 inmates.

Venezuela has been suffering from a severe economic crisis, which has driven up crime rates and deepened political divides within the country.

An ex-Green Beret recently attempted to infiltrate Venezuela with 300 heavily armed volunteers in an attempt to raid military bases and ignite a rebellion that would result in President Nicolás Maduro’s arrest.

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The plan did not pan out after retired Venezuela Army Gen. Cliver Alcalá was arrested, and the spreading coronavirus pandemic scattered the remnants of their forces.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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