CARACAS—A prison riot in the western Venezuelan state of Portuguesa has left at least 46 people dead and 60 injured, according to a rights group and an opposition lawmaker.
Beatriz Giron, director of the Venezuelan Observatory of Prisons which advocates for inmates rights, said 46 bodies had been identified after the incident on Friday at the Los Llanos penitentiary. The South American countrys prisons are infamous for extreme levels of violence and poor conditions.
The countrys prisons minister, Iris Varela, told local newspaper Ultimas Noticias on Friday that the incident resulted from an escape attempt and that the prison director had been shot and wounded. She did not give a death toll, and Venezuelas information ministry did not respond to a request for comment.
Maria Beatriz Martinez, an opposition lawmaker from Portuguesa, said the riot came after a ban on inmates family members bringing them food during visitation, which is common in Venezuelan prisons. The visitation restrictions are part of the countrys effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in its overcrowded prisons.