As a police reporter in Venezuela, Deivis Ramirez swings by the morgue almost daily to engage in a grim piece of detective work: determine how many people have been murdered in the capital.
In a country where even basic information — from inflation, to highway fatalities, to tourism spending and miscarriage rates — seems shrouded in mystery, body counters like Ramirez are trying to fill in the knowledge gap.
“It’s like giving birth every day,” Ramirez said, of trying to extract figures from cagey officials or count the corpses. “Crime statistics are some of the hardest to find.”
Venezuela’s constitution guarantees public access to “timely and accurate” government information. And President Nicolás Maduro challenges the press to “tell the truth” about his socialist administration. But the reality is that the truth — and the statistics that underpin it — is often in short supply.