My native country of Venezuela is starving

My native country is starving and it is time the elected representatives of my adopted country, and our proud democracy, spoke out.

Today, Venezuela is hungry, poor, and dangerous, but there is something we can all do about it.

First, a few facts.

Venezuela’s health services have reached a new nadir.  One in three patients taken into hospital in Venezuela dies, while statistics show that there are 15 deaths for every 1,000 births – double the rate in the US.  Just five years ago, one children’s hospital in Venezuela had a waiting list of approximately 200 patients. Today, that same hospital has close to 6,000 children waiting for life saving operations.

The Washington Post recently reported how a scraped knee almost killed a 3 year old, simply because Venezuela’s medical system is lacking even the most basic provisions. In the last few years, 13,000 doctors have left the country. Venezuela has been stripped of medical expertise when it needs it the most.  Newborn babies are kept in cardboard boxes.  One in every fourth child is now suffering from malnutrition.

Meanwhile, rule of law in Venezuela is now worse than in Iraq and Zimbabwe.  Prisoners in Venezuela are starving to death, with pictures echoing some of the worst human catastrophes of the last century.  Caracas now holds the ‘honorable’ title of officially being the world’s most murderous city.   In September alone there were 474 killings, outdoing Baghdad and Kabul.

On a macro level, the economy is tanking.  The IMF is predicting that inflation will rise to nearly 500 percent this year and potentially by 2,200 percent next year.  The state-run oil company, PDVSA is struggling to swap its bonds.  The President, having mishandled the economy so dramatically thus far, continues to undermine the opposition-led NationalAssembly by recently passing a budget by executive decree,disregarding (yet another) basic constitutional obligation.

And as President Maduro destroys his own economy, he arrogantly mocks the United States.  Last week Venezuelan prison guards forced an American attorney, Joshua Holt, a Utah man, to strip naked and perform exercises, in blatant violation of international law.  In the same week, Maduro announced the creation of the “Hugo Chavez Award for Peace and Sovereignty of the Peoples”, and awarded the dubious honor to none other than Vladimir Putin.

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