- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Venezuelan government is investing $47 million to build dozens of new disarmament centers for civilians to surrender their weapons, President Nicolas Maduro announced Sunday.

“We are building peace from within, and for that, you need disarmament,” the president said at an event commemorating the International Day of Peace in the capital, Caracas, BBC reported.

“Let us chase after the dream, after the utopia, the utopia of a Venezuela in peace,” he said, describing the disarmament as part of “the movement of peace and life.”

“Disarmament must come from the conscience of the youth,” Mr. Maduro said, Breitbart News reported.

Mr. Maduro said his government would invest $47 million and create 60 new disarmament centers. He also approved a $39 million plan to put 2,000 new patrols on the streets of the most dangerous neighborhoods.

Venezuela has the second-highest peacetime murder rate in the world after Honduras, and most of those murders are committed using firearms, BBC reported. Venezuela banned private gun ownership in 2012 and extended the ban again in 2013 after a spike in murders.

Earlier this year, many demonstrators took part in a series of mass anti-government protests demanding measures to improve the economy. Opposition activists have accused the Venezuelan government of widespread corruption and hypocrisy, BBC reported.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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