The Hunger Crisis in Venezuela

Phoebe Reiter, Staff Writer

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Food. It’s an undeniably essential factor in everyone’s lives. In Venezuela, people are waiting for hours on end just to acquire food as the malnourishment averages rise at an alarming rate. As depicted in the picture above, the people are growing desperate, as waiting in lines takes away from their precious time that could be spent working. In such an inflated economy, any spare money that they can garner is much needed.

What has led to this crisis? Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro, is essentially a dictator. Maduro has pushed to rewrite the constitution, which was completed on July 30th, 2017 when the members of the constituent assembly were elected. There was no option for the voters to reject the changes, as affirmed by a resident in Maracaidbo, Carlos Perez, who decided to boycott the voting. He says, “They are not asking for people’s opinions. There is no popular support” (USA Today). The British company that ran the voting machines reported that the count was off by at least one million votes, thus undermining the new assembly’s legitimacy. However, the drafting continues without avail. Maduro wishes to secure his power and remove the idea of checks and balances, meaning that he would be able to dismiss anyone in his government that he considers disloyal to his cause.

For months, Venezuelans have been rioting against Maduro. Due to street riots and road blockades, there have been reportedly a minimum of 120 deaths. That number is expected to rise, as problems amount and panic ensues. Maduro has not put forth enough of the country’s money towards food supplies, and this is creating tension that is breaking the country apart. As stated by Deutsche Welle, a German press, the people feel left behind by Maduro and feel as if there is no end to this suffering while he remains in power.

Such chaos has led to economic instability. Inflation has soared, and products at grocery stores are limited and expensive. People have gone to great lengths to get any food they can, yet many still end up with meager portions for themselves and their families. Bakers desperately need flour in order to make bread, however, under Maduro’s leadership, the government is only importing twenty-five percent of the needed amount. According to Los Angeles Times, one baker in Caracas, Carlos Coelho, reports, “I need at least 150 sacks [of flour], but last week I received just 46.” Coelho gets long lines each day and is forced to send people away once he runs out.

According to a survey that was taken, 72.7% of Venezuelan citizens have lost 19 pounds (8.7 kg) in the last year, with a higher weight loss average among those who live in extreme cases of poverty. Simply because there isn’t enough food to go around, meal skipping is common. Not only is there a lack of food, but there is little attention to general health care services. The World Health Organization supplies the fact that hospitals have only five percent of the necessary medicines.

Each day, the problems only grow. Each day, food only becomes more scarce. Each day, the people of Venezuela continue to suffer.

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The Hunger Crisis in Venezuela