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World Leaders Shut Eyes to Venezuela’s Hunger Games

By: Antonella Marty - @AntonellaMarty - May 19, 2016, 12:11 pm

EspañolVenezuela is tearing itself apart but no one is speaking up. There isn’t a single Latin American president raising his or her voice against starving Venezuelans suffering under the country’s communist, Chavista regime.

In Venezuela, poverty, death, and “hungerism” prevail, the inevitable consequence of communist, socialist or Marxist ideologies.

The earthquake of corruption and shortages that has been shaking the country for almost two decades has left it in ruins, and there are plenty of numbers to show for it:

  • Inflation in Venezuela is predicted to reach 700 percent within the year, which would be the world’s highest.
  • According to the Confederation of Venezuela Industry, in the Chavista era, approximately 8,000 businesses have closed.
  • More than 70 percent of Venezuelans believe President Nicolás Maduro should step down.
  • There were 2,138 protests and more than 170 lootings between January and April this year, according to the Venezuelan Observatory for Social Conflict. That’s about 18 per day.
  • Venezuela has one of the highest murder rates in the world. There were 28,000 in 2015. That’s 76 violent deaths per day and three per hour.
  • According to an Encovi survey, 87 percent of Venezuelans can’t afford to buy food.
  • According to the National Federation of Farmers, 2015 saw Venezuelans reduce their meat consumption by 42 percent compared to 2012 — the largest drop in 55 years.
  • Ninety percent of citizens said they buy less food due to scarcity.
  • According to polling group Datanálisis, there are shortages of basic food in 80 percent of supermarkets and 40 percent of homes.
  • While Latin America’s infant malnutrition rate hovers around 5 percent, the Bengoa Foundation found that it was near 9 percent in Venezuela as of 2015.
  • Public medical systems have reported that 44 percent of operating rooms are non-functional, and 94 percent of labs do not have sufficient supplies.

The Venezuelan people have no medicine, electricity, food or water. What they do have, and plenty of it, is street crime and homicide.

Normally, when we’re missing something from the fridge, we grab the keys off the counter and make a run to the supermarket. Not in Venezuela.

Venezuelans get in line at dawn for food. The appearance of a food truck causes pushing, piling up, running, looting.

People have lost their patience. They skip meals. Food is now a luxury.

Some of the scarcer products are regulated with price controls: oil, grains, sugar, juices, coffee, chicken, beef, pork, milk, shampoo, detergent, corn, cornmeal, toothpaste, fish, deodorant, diapers, toilet paper, chlorine and razors, among other things.

The reality that the Chavista ruling elite doesn’t want to admit is that the price controls they enacted is exactly what’s causing the widespread shortages. If there is hunger in Venezuela today, it is the government’s fault.

“We need food,” one woman said. “How long will this situation last? It’s too much. A child cannot endure hunger, the children need to eat to grow.”

In a country with one of the largest oil reserves, how is it that electricity, water, medicine and so many other basic products are running out? The answer is simple: Corruption, bad management, and socialism.

One must be pretty naive, to say the least, to believe that price controls can result in anything good. It’s fine for a governmental entity to claim to know the most about needs and lives of its people, but not to impose strict regulations that ultimately eliminate the things that fulfill those needs.

Price control is a policy that has always failed wherever it has been tried.

Shortages Kill People

As one could expect, the scarcity also affects the supply of medicine in Venezuela.

People suffering from high blood pressure, respiratory problems, diabetes or infections are turned away at the pharmacy because there simply isn’t enough medication to go around. They die in their homes from something that is curable in virtually every other country.

“Here, the majority of patients who wind up unemployed will die,” said an expert at the University Hospital in Caracas.

Newborns die, the elderly die, the sick die. Those who survive do everything they can to set foot in the airport in hopes of finding a better future.

They are all victims of Chavismo. It’s high time that we denounce the real culprits and their failed ideology.

Antonella Marty Antonella Marty

Antonella is founder and project coordinator of the Youth Foundation for Liberty in Argentina. She has worked as an intern at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, Cato Institute, The IFEF, and Cedice Libertad. Follow her @AntonellaMarty.