In Venezuela, There is a Humanitarian Crisis

New York, 3 May 2017

In Venezuela, there is a humanitarian crisis. Specifically, there is a human-made humanitarian crisis. This is a fact, it is not an opinion. In Venezuela, people don’t have an easy access to food, medicines, and essential goods. According to Forbes, the annual inflation is touching the 700%; in accordance with Human Rights Watch, the 76% of public hospitals has no access to basic medicines listed by the World Health Organization (WHO); again, Human Rights Watch mentions a report of the Venezuelan Ministry of Health which talks about a rate of 130.7 deaths for every 100,000 births in the first months of 2016 – now, it is perhaps even worse.

Venezuela is the country with the majority of oil resources of the entire world – and it could be (potentially) one of the richest countries, considering the dependence that world has with oil and its derivates. In fact, analyzing the World Bank figures, between 2004 and 2008, when the oil price reached $139 per barrel, the Venezuelan GDP experienced a surge.

With this overview, it is easy to understand that the situation in Venezuela can be considered a crisis that involves any part of the population. People with low incomes are literally eating once a day, at first because they have no money to buy food, secondly, because the food stamps that the government distributed are not enough, and thirdly because even if they would be able to buy food, it is often unavailable. The same situation is happening with medical supplies; hospitals ask their patients to buy medicines and, as it is happening for the food, they are often unavailable in the pharmacies.

caracas proteste elconfidencialPhoto Credits: El Confidencial

The situation that is currently affecting the entire country, is the result of a lack of management that for several years characterized the leadership in Venezuela. The protests that are aiming the streets in Caracas – and not only, are raising their voices against a regime of corruption and a lack of attention to the real needs of the population.

The protests have been repressed and the number of the ones that have been killed has raised exponentially right in the last few days. Even a 14-year-old boy was killed, and many others were screwed up. In addition, protestants were arrested and tortured, accused of terrorism and, under torture, forced to confess their matrix. None of them had in mind to protest with terrorist intentions, indeed – the only intention was, and it is still today, to regain a dignified life or at least to see recognized the humanitarian crisis that is actually unrecognized by the government. It is neglecting the chance for international organizations to intervene without being accused of violating the sovereignty of the state of Venezuela.

For the international community, is more difficult to intervene when a state doesn’t declare the state of emergency or the presence of a humanitarian crisis. Moreover, in Venezuela, the government refused to accept medicines coming from abroad, putting the population in an even worse situation. The government promoted the production of medical supplies and primary needs inside the country but for the population is difficult to believe how it could be possible while having no access to food and medicines.

caracas proteste telecaprinews.jpgPhoto Credits: Tele Capri News

Early this week, President Nicolás Maduro expressed the will to recall a constituent-popular assembly to re-write the Constitution of Venezuela, since the last one has been write in 1999 and allows to convene a new assembly to “transformar el Estado, crear un nuevo ordenamiento jurídico y redactar una nueva Constitución” (transform the State, create a new legal system, and redact a new Constitution).

However, the 1999’s Contitution was written by an assembly which members were elected by national ballot, and not by sectors as Maduro is proposing nowadays. In fact, Maduro affirmed that the assembly “Va a ser una Constituyente electa con voto directo del pueblo para elegir a unos 500 constituyentistas: 200 ó 250 por la base de la clase obrera, las comunas, misiones, los movimientos sociales (…) Los movimientos de personas con discapacidad van a tener a sus constituyentes propios electos, los pensionados” (is going to be an elected Constituent with a direct vote of the people that are going to choose about 500 constituents: 200 or 250 from the working class, communes, missions, social movements (…) The movements of people with disabilities will have their own elected constituents, the pensioners “).

According to the information owned by the CNN, the decision that has been undertaken by Maduro to write a new Constitution – composing the assembly by sectors and not how it has been done in 1999, came from the will to limit the opposition and its powers. In fact, the opposition is standing with the protesters since the movements arisen in early April. Additionally, the opposition believes that Maduro wants to declare a kind of indirect or self-coup with the writing of the new Constitution. Julio Borges, the leader of the National Assembly, believes that what is happening is a coup and, mostly, he believes that “(…) Nicolas Maduro [is] dissolving democracy and dissolving our republic. Faced with this, the Democratic Unity Party and the members of the National Assembly call on the Venezuelan people to rebel and refuse to accept this coup”.

At this moment, two key situations are characterizing the scene in Venezuela: the intrepidity regarding what is going to happen with the eventual re-writing of the Constitution and which measures are going to be undertaken for what concern the evident humanitarian crisis that is affecting the population – of course, if any.

Sara Belligoni

Featured Image Credits: Today