Venezuela: 48 homicides for every 100,000 people

Venezuelan authorities say they recorded 48 homicides for every 100,000 inhabitants last year, making it one of the most dangerous places in South America.

Justice Minister Tarek El Aissami didn't report the actual number of slayings during a debate in the National Assembly on Tuesday. But he said the average was above the norm for the region, and called it "a very high rate."

A report for the United Nations last year put the homicide rate for South America as a whole around 20 per 100,000 people.

President Hugo Chavez's government has not released comprehensive statistics for five years, but officials said previously there were more than 12,000 murders in the first 11 months of 2010.

Venezuela has a population of 28 million.