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Venezuelan Government Using Food, Health Care As ‘Mechanisms Of Social And Political Control’

New York Times: Hostages of Hunger in Venezuela
Tamara Taraciuk Broner, senior Americas researcher at Human Rights Watch, and Rafael Uzcátegui, director of Provea (This article has been translated from Spanish to English by HRW.)

“…In Venezuela’s upcoming presidential elections, many voters will go to the polls hungry and sick because their country is wracked with shortages of food and medicine. More than 1.5 million Venezuelans have fled their country, and for many who remain, getting food and urgently needed medicines have become daily preoccupations. … Venezuelans with [government-issued] IDs can get … food boxes, and also some medical procedures, housing, school supplies, pensions, and special Christmas bonuses, among other benefits. And now, President Maduro wants to reward them for voting. … The government denies that the humanitarian crisis exists, but uses hunger and health as mechanisms of social and political control. … [G]overnments that have already expressed interest in addressing Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis should urgently convene a high-level meeting with representatives from the Americas and Europe, as well as from key international cooperation organizations, with the sole purpose of establishing an effective mechanism to open a humanitarian channel so there are no more hostages of hunger in Venezuela” (5/14).

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