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Venezuela: Guilty of Child Starvation

December 20, 2017
Plain English Version

An 18 day-old infant with severe malnutrition.

The state takes away starving children from their parents. Who will take away starving children from the state?

In Venezuela, it is the government that is starving the children. It is starving them to death. The increase in numbers since 2016 is astounding.

The government admits there is hunger. It will not publish any statistics. But emergency rooms tell the true story. Children come in dying because their mother’s breast milk has dried up. Parents will give anything to fill their stomachs. Maybe some cow’s milk or fruit juice. Desperate parents cannot find infant formula. They scrounge the streets. They buy when they can from black market sellers.

The plague is hunger. When oil prices dropped a few years ago, the Venezuelan government ran out of money. Years of corruption have resulted in broken equipment that cannot produce oil.

Searching for food.

Inflation took over. Prices are so high that most people cannot even afford the basics. Gangs of youth roam the streets fighting over scraps from garbage cans.

Life is wretched for families. There is story after story of parents watching their children starve to death. The suffering of those who survive is hard to imagine.

There is also a shortage of ways to prevent pregnancy. Contraceptive supplies are not available. As a result, more women are seeking sterilization. The nation is in agony.

The response of the government is to keep this tragedy a secret. When some malnutrition numbers showed up on the internet, they came down right away. 

The government has ruled out the one thing that might have helped. That would be food brought into the country from other nations. The Venezuelan government does not allow it to come in.

An observer said this is the kind of starvation you might see in a refugee camp. It is the kind of need that takes place after natural disasters such floods and earthquakes.

Map of Venezuela.

In short, the Venezuelan government refuses to provide aid for its political reasons. Experts believe the world knows just how much the government has failed its people. Still, there is no effective effort to end the suffering.

Source: The New York Times December 17, 2017

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