Hunger devours Venezuelans

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“Despite of blocking criminal against Venezuela, we celebrate World Food Day by promoting national production and guaranteeing the nutrition of our people, “he said. Nicolas Maduro on October 16 and highlighted all the “effort“That is done through the boxes delivered by the Local Supply and Production Committees.” The enemies of the Homeland have not been able, nor will they be able to with Venezuela! “, said the president on his Facebook account. the days began to rain comments. “Where will they give those boxes because I don’t have anything at home and the box takes a month to come and does not bring what appears in the photo “, wrote Adrianita Pirez.” Pesidente, greetings, but I ask you a question, What would you buy with 300,000 bolivars a month – less than one euro-? “Arley Rivas wanted to know.

The answer is in the streets. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has stated that the increase in malnutrition in South America it is “driven mainly by the situation in Venezuela”, where it went from a deficit of 2.5 points between 2010-2012 to 31.4 points in the period 2017-2019. The last Survey on Living Conditions (Encovi) prepared by the Andrés Bello Catholic University shows that the 96.3% of households they are in a situation of poverty. Twelve million people, a third of them pensioners, receive a minimum salary of 400,000 bolivars, which is equivalent to less than a dollar. The North American currency is the factor of regulation of the black market where with the equivalent of something less than a monthly payment you can acquire a packet of rice or a kilogram of flour to prepare the essential arepas.

To mitigate the precarious conditions, that the Miraflores Palace attributes almost exclusively to North American sanctions, some 10 million Venezuelans They also receive the food voucher so praised by the president that it is close to five dollars. The Venezuelan Health Observatory, the College of Nutritionists-Dietitians, the Society of Puericulture and Pediatrics and the Bengoa Foundation for Food, among other entities, have nevertheless recalled that Venezuela has been included along with Ethiopia, Sudan, Nigeria, Syria, and Haiti among the countries with the worst food crises on the planet.

In their joint document they point out that the boxes that the population buys from the State include above all carbohydrates and fats, “ultra-processed, and many times not consistent with the local dietary pattern or with international standards for the protection of infant and young child nutrition.” It is this asymmetry that leads him to say to Marianela Herrera, from the Venezuelan Health Observatory, that a good part of society “is not feeding but mitigating the appetite“.

The collapse that does not stop

Between 2014 and 2019, GDP contracted by 65%. The collapse had a social push-back effect: some five million people have left the country. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean has calculated that this year it will fall another 18%, partly as a consequence of the pandemic. He hunger and malnutrition are part of the permanent backdrop of a political conflict between the madurismo and the opposition that seems to find no way out in sight.

The consulting firm Ecoanalítica estimates that since the first positive case of covid-19 was reported in March, food prices increased by 671.8%. Venezuelans must resort daily to cunning, tenacity and illegality to acquire them. A first dividing line of society is the one that separates those who receive remittances of their relatives abroad (35% of households) and those who have to get by without dollars. Inflation, however, does not distinguish between consumers. A kilogram of coffee it cost 1.2 million sovereign bolivars a month ago. The price has doubled. The same has happened with soybean oil, eggs or powdered milk.

Carlos Albornoz, president of the Venezuelan Institute of Milk and Meat assured that the annual consumption of meat has been reduced to three kilograms, which places that country below Ethiopia and Uganda. “I never imagined this. It’s like a meteorite It would have destroyed the industries, the herd, the shops. ”

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