Venezuelan Food Crisis

by ELLY COLON

When people think of starving children, they often picture a homeless child living on the sidewalk of an American street or emaciated children in a remote village in Africa, but that is not always the case. A prime example of this would be school children in Venezuela who are often forced to go without eating a full meal for days at a time. The issue in the socialist nation of Venezuela is not necessarily impoverishment but rather ineffective leadership and a serious lack of resources. Teachers have been reporting numerous daily incidents of children fainting due to starvation; however the issue becomes even more alarming when children are missing out on school entirely because they are suffering and cannot focus.

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The parents are not to blame for the decline in attendance seeing as they too are suffering. Venezuela’s economy is worsening as a direct result of obscure and intense government policies with good intentions but horrendous and unrealistic attempts to achieve said goals. The government has responded to this economic crisis by making rules such as the infamous prohibition of families purchasing food on days that were not assigned to them. As many Americans, and anyone who has been to a crowded supermarket for that matter, are aware, shoppers face long lines and the risk of getting there too late to get the necessary items. However, unlike the irritation or aggravation that this minor inconvenience may cause in the majority of American supermarkets, these ‘long lines’ in Venezuela can entail being forced to wait on a line overnight in order to gain access to a partially-stocked store before closing. Even after gaining entrance, shoppers are often left with very little choice, if any, and insufficient amounts of food to last them until their next opportunity to shop. These shortages translate into serious medical issues which has led to yet another crisis in this plagued nation. There is not enough money nor staffing for this crisis to continue for much longer, and without assistance this issue will likely spiral out of control and the situation will become much deadlier at a terrifying pace.

Even the animals of Venezuela are suffering seeing as many household pets have either starved to death or been abandoned by owners who could no longer afford to care for them. Hospitals have also reported an increase in the abandonment of newborn babies, so it appears that parents are becoming so desperate that they are forced to give their children to the government. With all of these issues combined, it is clear that something must be done, but the international community is uncertain about how to proceed without infringing upon Venezuela’s national sovereignty and openly-expressed desire to remain free from international intervention. Venezuela happens to have a policy of refusing humanitarian aid, so without collaborative efforts of the international community, which could take anywhere from several months to several years, there is very little that any community or organization can do, aside from spread the world. Hopefully this issue can be resolved as quickly as humanly possible to bring peace back to the once thriving country.