Nearly one third of the Venezuelan population — about 9.3 million people — are food insecure, malnourished, or suffer from hunger. This acute food insecurity is in serious danger of worsening. These were some of the warnings from the United Nations (U.N.) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) in the FAO-WFP “Early Warning Analysis of Acute Food Insecurity Hotspots” report, released in November.
“The macroeconomic crisis further exacerbated by the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19-related measures, is particularly concerning for Venezuela,” the report notes, which projects a 25 percent decrease in the country’s gross domestic product in 2020.
Currently 96 percent of the Venezuelan population is poor, of which 79 percent is under extreme poverty. This scenario is also worsened by hyperinflation, caused by currency depreciation, setting the price of the U.S. dollar at more than 1 million bolívares. This has had a drastic impact on food availability and people’s purchasing power. Currently, the price of 1 kilogram of rice is equivalent to the salary of a Venezuelan citizen earning minimum wage.
The concern is even more alarming for the 5.5 million Venezuelans who in the last few years migrated from the country to neighboring nations, mostly Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. “Venezuelan migrants are among those hardest hit due to their disproportionate reliance on informal jobs, exclusion from social safety nets, and lack of support networks,” the U.N. study indicates.
Harassment of charities
In a move contrary to combating hunger, agents of the illegitimate Nicolás Maduro regime invaded offices and froze bank accounts of the charity Feed the Solidarity. The attack happened in late November, under unfounded allegations that the organization was politically subverting the citizens.
Feed the Solidarity was part of the U.N. humanitarian program in Venezuela, with financial support from the European Union. The institution is responsible for managing community kitchens and serving meals in many regions of Venezuela, reaching 25,000 children, said its founder, Roberto Patiño. According to interviews with the New York Times, the meals served by the organization are often children’s only chance to eat that day.
The U.S. Embassy in Venezuela, now known as the Venezuelan Affairs Unit, which operates out of the U.S. Embassy in Colombia, called the attack on Twitter “a despicable act of the regime.”