The fallout from the murder of former Miss Venezuela Monica Spear Mootz reached new heights this week, as angry citizens took to the streets to protest the ridiculously high crime rate in the South American country.
Outraged by the brutality of the attack that killed Mootz and her ex-husband Thomas Berry in front of their 5-year-old daughter on Monday, residents and political figures spoke out about the climate of fear that has a hold on the country.
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"I can't go out at night. I can’t live a normal life here," Devadip Diez, a 19-year-old student, told Time magazine.
"Thankfully, my children don’t live in this country," said Nora Mazzoni, a 60-year-old woman who lined up in Caracas Wednesday to pay tribute to the slain couple. "Venezuela is living through a horrible period. [President Nicolas] Maduro talks and talks and talks, and nothing happens."
Mootz, the 29-year-old beauty queen who was crowned Miss Venezuela in 2004 and went on to star in Telemundo soap operas, was in Venezuela on vacation for the holidays. A band of armed robbers attacked her, Berry, and their daughter Monday night as the family drove on a dimly lit highway between Puerto Cabello and the central city of Valencia.
Mootz and Berry were killed and their daughter, Maya, was wounded
in the leg. Five suspects were arrested in connection to the crime on Tuesday.
Hundreds took to the streets Wednesday to protest and denounce the murder and Venezuela's frightening statistics, which rank the country fifth on the list of nations with the highest murder rate.
"This is such a sad commentary on our country and the insecurity here," Leonardo Hernandez, a 39-year-old shopkeeper in Caracas, told USA Today
. "This country's crime is out of control, and the government does nothing or doesn't seem to notice."
According to numbers compiled by the Observatorio Venezolano de Violencian, a non-government group that monitors crime in the country, and reported by USA Today, 24,763 murders were committed last year in Venezuela, which has a population of 29 million. That's compared to the 14,612 intentional homicides committed last year in the United States, a country of 316 million.
More than 90 percent of Venezuela's murders remain unsolved, according to Time.
"How many more murders in my country?" Miss Universe 2009 Stefania Fernández posted on Twitter with the hashtag #NoMasViolenciaVenezuela.
"What a COUNTRY we HAVE, what HAPPENED to Monica Spear is a case of THOUSANDS daily... How much LONGER Venezuela? #SoF—ingPissed," Juan Pablo Galavis, a Venezuelan man who is ABC's current "Bachelor," tweeted Tuesday.
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