Venezuela’s food chain is breaking, and Million Go Hungry

Anna Noise, a retired municipal worker in western Venezuela, says her diet often consists of just a few corn-flour pancakes, known as airspace.

Even when she has the money to buy groceries at Maracaibo’s teaming flea market, she said that “instead of quality food they sell waste like animal hide and rotten cheese.”

The widespread shortage of gasoline is the last blow to domestic food in Venezuela, preventing goods from entering the market and preventing farmers from loading their tractors. Food production in this oil-rich nation, led by a socially prosperous president, Nicolas Maduro, was already plagued by a shortage of seeds and agrochemicals, which led to government seizures of crops and farms and food-processing plants.

Venezuela is not hungry. The Cotid-19 epidemic has hit the whole of Latin America economically, pushing millions out of work and into poverty. United Nations agencies say people from Mexico City to Santiago are ignoring meals, sitting in soup kitchens begging.

A recent UN-sponsored report found that 9.3 million people in Venezuela lack adequate safe and nutritious food for normal human growth and development. A soup kitchen in Caracas.


Ariana Cubillos / Associated Press

But the situation in Venezuela, which suffered the worst economic weakness in its history before the epidemic, is extremely dire.

A recent UN-sponsored report described Venezuela as the world’s fourth-worst food crisis, behind only war-torn Yemen, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A report released in April by the global network August Food Crisis and the Food Security Information Network states that about a third of Venezuela’s population – .3. Millions of people lack enough safe and nutritious food last year for normal human growth and development. It found that 13% of Venezuelan children under 5% are stunted and 30% are anime.

Despite having the world’s largest oil reserves, Venezuela is currently one of the hotspots for food insecurity, the report said.

That’s partly because staples like milk can’t make it in stores. Armando Chalk produced 400 gallons of milk a day on his farm, but no gasoline is meant to be loaded into a transport truck. Mr. Chakan’s black-market fuel – which costs 10 gallons per gallon – cannot afford to deliver milk on its own.

Gasoline has become scarce due to the collapse of Venezuela’s oil industry.


Scar B for Wall Street Journal

Instead of watching her spoil, she turns her milk into a craft cheese that can be stored longer and is easier to transport than milk.

“We are buried because of the gas shortage,” said Mr Chack, president of the Venezuelan Pastoralists’ Association.

In a fertile area near the Colombian border, tractors and compounds sit idle while some farmers move their produce on mule backs. In the low-lying areas near Lake Maracaibo, farmers lack gasoline to run water pumps and have lost thousands of acres of crops, said Jose Urdaneta, who farms 100 acres near the city of Sucre.

Because it now costs $ 140 to fill his Ford shop, Mr. Urdaneta cut back on his farm trip. He eventually used fertilizers and pesticides and his yield was reduced by 30%.

“In farming you have to do everything on time,” he said.

Venezuela relies on food imports due to domestic production of food, supplying 85% of the food. But these days, Mr Maduro’s dictatorial government has less cash to import food due to a breakdown in oil production, which accounts for almost all of the country’s export earnings.

U.S. sanctions on Venezuela’s oil sector under the Trump administration make it illegal to trade or trade with Venezuela’s national oil company. This means that it is more difficult for the country to import the required gasoline.

Venezuela relies on food imports due to domestic production of food, supplying 85% of the food. A market in Maracaibo.


Luis Bravo / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images

“While the food crisis did not begin with U.S. sanctions, there is no way you can say that sanctions are nothing to increase,” said Geoff Ramsay of the Washington office in Washington, DC. “We are very concerned that the country is on the brink of a reversible catastrophe.”

The Maduro government provides basic foodstuffs to millions of residents, but deliveries are not frequent and U.S. Investigators say the program is rife with corruption. Last year, the U.S. The plaintiff accused Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman and Maduro ally, of using shell companies to steal millions of dollars from a food handout program.

In June, Mr. Saab was arrested in the African island nation of Cape Verde, whose government has accused the U.S. of extraditing him. Weighing the request.

Mr Saab’s lawyer did not respond to emails seeking comment.

Maduro rule U.S. Accused of trying to kidnap Mr. Saab, he says he is working on a humanitarian aid mission to Caracas.

The Ministry of Information, which handles requests for comment for the Venezuelan government, did not return phone calls and emails.

People were waiting outside a gas station in Maracaibo recently.


Henry Chirinos / EPA / Shutterstock c

Even when supermarket shelves are stocked, hyperinflation and high unemployment, which hit 500,500,000% last year, mean that millions of Venezuelan families cannot afford to eat. The UN report says the monthly minimum wage is just a few dollars to buy less than 5% of the basic food needed by the average family.

“We have been rescued by avocados and bananas growing near our home,” says Carcass Alonso, a 35-year-old farmer in the western state of York.

Others rely on sending money from relatives living abroad, but this cash transfer has been cut in half between the Covid-19 quarantine and the economic shutdown, said Susanna Raffalli, Venezuela’s food safety adviser. He said Mr Maduro was reluctant to accept the scope of the crisis or allow the World Food Program and other international aid groups to distribute large quantities of Venezuelan food.

“This is not a drought yet, but we are in a food crisis,” she said. Ruffalli said. “The food-supply system is completely broken.”

Maria Planchart once lived comfortably in Caracas and has aspirations to become a lawyer. In this WSJ Films documentary, we follow her struggle to feed her family

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