That’s the tip of the iceberg: Much of the rest of the country is just as hungry. Venezuela needs serious and sustained humanitarian aid to stem the current deaths and prevent an entire generation of children from being stunted. But a government that consistently refuses to acknowledge this reality has stubbornly resisted declaring a humanitarian emergency and accepting the aid much of the world — including the United States — is offering.Sponsored Ads
As the rainy season approaches, and with it a seasonal upsurge in infectious diseases, Raffalli is especially concerned: Malnourished children often struggle to fight off infections that better-fed children can breeze through.
In our 2017 forecast, we predicted that Venezuela’s government would not survive the year. Throughout 2016, the administration of President Nicolas Maduro faced political gridlock and nationwide protests that seemed to be reaching a critical point, and the problem has not subsided. For more than a month now, large-scale protests against the government have taken place across the country nearly every day. The death toll continues to rise as protests show no sign of stopping. As the crisis continues to escalate, we look at the constraints and imperatives of the different actors to determine how the situation could unfold in the months ahead.
Oil revenue fueled Venezuela’s economy under Chavez. When oil was $100 a barrel, billions flowed through the state-owned petroleum company and were siphoned off for social programs and food subsidies. But when oil prices fell dramatically, those massive subsidies became unsustainable.
Several layers of dirt cover the floor. Pigeons fly about the rooms and across dim hallways where at least half of the lights are out. Sadly, the spooky scene is not from some movie but from one of Venezuela’s main hospitals, the Clinical University Hospital of Caracas (HUC).
Crisis here runs so deep that in the first two weeks of March most surgeries had to be cancelled for lack of running water. Patients wait for months to get a procedure because the hospital and the entire country is increasingly out of basic medication and surgical supplies.
The U.S. military’s top official for Latin America presented an ominous report to the Senate Thursday warning that Venezuela could be a “destabilizing” factor in Latin America.
“Venezuela faces significant instability in the coming year due to widespread food, and medicine shortages; continued political uncertainty; and a worsening economic situation,” said Admiral Kurt W. Tidd, the commander of the United States Souther Command in his report to the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“The growing humanitarian crisis in Venezuela could eventually compel a regional response.”
With its shared language, stable politics and a property market that’s still recovering from a six-year crash, Spain holds many attractions for wealthy Venezuelans seeking a shield their assets from economic disorder in their home country. The number of properties sold to Venezuelan nationals jumped 17 percent in 2016 according to Spain’s property register.
“The worse things get in Venezuela, the more they buy in Madrid,” said Alvaro Gonzalez de la Hoz, director general at the real estate unit of Petrus Grupo Inmobiliario, which specializes in selling and renting high-end properties in the upscale Madrid neighborhood of Salamanca. “They feel safe here, they like the quality of life, they speak the language — and they’re taking money out of Venezuela.”
If the mood on the streets of Caracas is a guide, Venezuelans are increasingly reconciling themselves to an uncomfortable idea: President Nicolás Maduro isn’t going anywhere.
Despite Venezuela enduring one of the most profound economic and political crises of any Latin American country in recent memory – and amid yearlong calls for Maduro’s ouster in 2016 – the president’s grip on power appears unexpectedly secure. After two decades spent consolidating control over the country’s institutions, Chavismo will be harder to dislodge from power than many had hoped.
Venezuela’s Living Conditions Survey found that nearly 75 percent of the population lost an average of at least 19 pounds in 2016 due to a lack of proper nutrition amid an economic crisis.
Venezuelans are not consuming the 2,000 recommended daily calories needed, the survey said. Venezuela’s extreme poor said they have lost more than 20 pounds.
There were those of us who kept insisting that it wasn’t going to be amusing when those wheels did come of of course but we were, in general, shouted down by those who insisted that this Bolivarian socialism was something new, something wondrous. Look, look! Look how it reduced inequality, look how much better off the poor are! But as everyone who stayed awake in even their first economics class has always known those wheels would come off and it wouldn’t be pretty when they did. As has happened of course. And the latest evidence of this is that the old child killers are back. At present it’s diphtheria but it won’t be long before more of them start massacring the young. Measles, whooping cough cannot be far behind and it’s only because we’ve entirely wiped out smallpox that it won’t be making an appearance:
“If confirmed, I would urge close cooperation with our friends in the hemisphere, particularly Venezuela’s neighbors Brazil and Colombia, as well as multilateral bodies such as the OAS, to seek a negotiated transition to democratic rule in Venezuela,” the former executive in ExxonMobil told Latin America Goes Global.
He further claimed that the economic crisis in the oil-rich South American country was “largely a product of its incompetent and dysfunctional government, first under Hugo Chavez, and now under his designated successor, Nicolas Maduro.”