As Food Crisis Continues, Venezuelans Turn to American Friends and Relatives for Help

"If the bourgeoisie hide the food, I myself will bring it to your house," President Nicolas Maduro promised. That's not what happened.



With the economy in freefall and hunger widespread, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has vowed to wage an "economic war" on the enemies of his country's socialist experiment.

"If the bourgeoisie hide the food, I myself will bring it to your house," Maduro said in March.

It hasn't worked out that way. Hungry Venezuelans are now depending on relatives and friends in other countries to send food.

"People are dying of hunger now," Tere Caicedo, a Venezuelan immigrant to Los Angeles, recently told The Los Angeles Times. Caicedo has been sending rice, beans and sugar to the country when possible.

"Before it was out of enjoyment, a Christmas gift," Caicedo recalled. "Now it's necessity."

For years, Venezuela's economy was propped up by high oil prices. Now oil is selling at $50 per barrel, and inflation has soared to more than 700 percent. Food and other basic goods have become scarce. Many Venezuelans in the U.S. are scrambling to send aid to their friends and family back home. Venezuelan schools have shortened their hours because so many children are malnourished that they struggle to go through a full school day, and many people have resorted to scavenging for food in dumpsters.

Several charity organizations have stepped in to help too, including the South Florida–based Humanitarian Aid for Venezuela Program, which has donated 450,000 pounds of supplies in the last couple of years.

Caritas Internationalis, a Catholic poverty relief organization, has detailed the damage the food shortages have done. According to Caritas' surveys, one in 10 Venezuelan children under the age of 5 currently suffers from malnutrition.

"So what has happened is that lots of children get to school practically fainting, because they haven't eaten anything all day," Jesi Urbano, a Venezuelan mother, told The New York Times.

Venezuelan children have missed an average of 40 percent of their usual class time, according to the Associated Press. And even when students are fed, their teachers often cancel classes to wait in line for food rations.

Over 10 million Venezuelan parents skip at least one meal so that their children can get the nutrition they need, according to a survey conducted by several Venezuelan universities. The same study found that 75 percent of Venezuelans lost an average of 19 pounds in 2016.

The government is now encouraging citizens to raise rabbit livestock. Some people have started stealing zoo animals for food. According to Caritas, one in 12 Venezuelans survive by scavenging for leftover food in the garbage bins outside restaurants and grocery stores. The New York Times documented such a case in a recent video, where a Venezuelan mother goes through a supermarket's trash in order to feed her family.

Susana Raffalli, a humanitarian specialist in Venezuela, talked with Caritas this past April, detailing the inequities she's witnessed while working in the capital city of Caracas. "You still see fancy restaurants and people living a normal life in the capital," she says. "But even in those areas, in the early morning, you see people going through trash bins looking for food."

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  1. Venezuelan schools have shortened their hours because so many children are malnourished that they struggle to go through a full school day, and many people have resorted to scavenging for food in dumpsters.

    So we can safely say that Maslow is another thinker that Venezuela has never heard of? Good to know they have their priorities straight.

    1. I’m completely befuddled as to why the entire economy isn’t run on bitcoin and Maduro isn’t completely helpless to do anything about any of it. Why anyone would just put up with 700% inflation when they could be sitting pretty with 600% inflation increase in value is beyond me. I’m sure, once these people get their priorities straight, they’ll sort out their network infrastructure and bandwidth issues and get back on track economically.

      1. Bitcoin Sells at $9.5k in Zimbabwe as Venezuela Gains ‘100k’ New Bitcoin Miners

      2. It’s because the government has literally cracked down on mining bitcoin with guns in Venezuela. They view it as theft of the ‘free’ electricity they ‘give’ the citizenry as they are using more than ‘their fair share’ and getting around their socialist policies which can, simply put, not be allowed.

      3. Running the economy on bitcoin, or American dollars, doesn’t mean much when the government still has physical control of the means of production. Black markets can set prices accurately, but they can’t hire workers and open factories and collect profits from those factories as long as government troops are occupying them.

        1. Amen! One cannot eat bitcoin, one cannot turn soil with it, or carve wood, or mix concrete, or do ANYTHING useful in the physical world!

          As soon as one creates or secures anything in the physical world, socialists and other thieves can steal it. Other than defending ourselves from socialists and other thieves, not much can be done about this. God knows that socialists and other thieves do NOT listen to reason or logic!

      4. I guess I needed a /sarc tag.

        1. In time honored Reason tradition, I stopped reading after 1.5 sentances.

  2. …Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has vowed to wage an “economic war” on the enemies of his country’s socialist experiment.

    A war on reality? A war on human nature? It’s the statist’s quagmire.

    1. An economic war on dissenters? So a repeat of Holodomor?

      How many more people have to die before the socialist experiment can be concluded a failure?

      A few hundred million more? Noam Chomsky? Please respond. You’re gonna have to deny a few more genocides.

  3. I know oil has dropped to $50 a barrel, but what about Venezuela’s other important export, beauty queens?

    1. Not to mention exporting lies and propaganda, but those aren’t finding cash buyers, even among the Hollywood ignorati.

    2. Actually, don’t some Venezuelan beauties travel to nearby countries and engage in the world’s oldest profession?

  4. Ok, I can’t gloat anymore. It’s sickening to think of children starving as a result of this man-made, and totally preventable (if not for the fucked up retardation of the left) famine.

    And yet, the necessary precondition for aid has to be a regime change. We can’t prop up a government that continues to pursue the policies that led to this disaster.

    1. How can you believe in imperialism when you don’t recognize that nations and states exist?

      1. I didn’t say that regime change meant military intervention.

        1. So you believe in withholding food from starving people as a matter of U.S. foreign policy in order to encourage regime change in their home nations?

          How is that better than imperialism?

          1. There might be some way to deliver aid via non governmental channels. Definitely I would not have the US government delivering aid that passes through Venezuelan government hands

            1. How would providing non-governmental aid achieve your ends of regime change, then?

              1. It’s not intended to.

          2. Also, I mean, aside from food aid, currency stabilization help or loans cannot be provided with a change of government.

          3. The thing is I would want a serious accounting of where any of this aid goes. Chavez and now Maduro ensured that the military was well fed and had all the comforts they require. You will not find the military and their families suffering right now. Where do you think all that is coming from? Do not be surprised of that aid government or private isn’t being diverted to keep the military happy so Maduro stays in power.

  5. This isn’t real socialism: real socialism is capitalism.

    1. This isn’t real socialism. If it was real socialism it would have been way worse. (But there’s still time!)

    2. This isn’t real cucking real cucking is Trump.

    3. O’Neil is commonly on-target, but he seems to be wedded to his presumption that Marxism was at one time about freedom or prosperity, and has been ‘subverted’.
      In defense of such intellectual tom-foolery, he has invented a new term (“Bonapartism”) to avoid admission that Venezuela is but one more in the long line of socialist disasters:
      It would be amusing if it didn’t represent the harm caused to both the people of Venezuela and the concept of intellectual honesty on his part.

      1. Some people are more interested in not being wrong than in the human misery they have created.

  6. In the last paragraph, “Caritis” should be “Caritas.”

  7. There are few things more tragic than people held hostage by the political ideology of the powerful elites.

  8. If we hung everybody who uses the word “bourgeoisie” non-ironically, the world would be a much better place.

    1. I guess it’s cheaper than helicopter fuel.

  9. But hey, let’s have open borders so all the people in Latin American who love socialism like this can come here and vote for it!

    1. Umm, right. Excuse me I don’t lie awake at night worrying about all those socialists swarming across the U.S.-Venezuela border.

    2. Yeah, because obviously people who love socialism are going to flee to the most capitalist country in the hemisphere.

  10. If socialism is to blame then why isn’t this happening in Europe, Vietnam, China? I’m not defending anything just wondering. Those places seem to be rocking and rolling. China is commie and they’re kicking ass in a GDP sense. Set me straight.

    1. China stopped starving to death the moment they abandoned their Marxist principles and privatized essential industries. Europe is primarily a market economy with burdensome taxation, though still less burdensome than nationalization.

      1. Yep. Regulation is far more important than taxation (well, they’re related but that relationship is complicated) as far as this sort of thing goes.

        1. Yes. It’s possible to get away with a big welfare state at least for a while, but you fuck with the price mechanism at your peril. What destroyed Venezuela was the attempt to control prices and the subsequent nationalizations of failing industries.

    2. “Rocking and rolling? You mean like Greece, Italy and Spain? Maybe you mean places such as Russia and most of the continent of Africa. The more socialism; the more the pain and suffering.

      Perhaps you’re referring to N. European “socialism” such as in Sweden and Denmark, where there’s a $3/gallon tax on petrol and the 60% income tax begins on incomes of $54,900? In defense of Sweden, they do have a corporate income tax of only 22% (US: 35% plus) and universal educational vouchers for government and private schools.

      Where socialism is successful, it’s because they allow lots of capitalism, and they hold folks responsible for their own lives. In Sweden, for example, unemployment decreases the longer it’s received, encouraging folks to find work.

  11. If Venezuela was put in charge of the Sahara desert, they would soon develop a shortage of sand.

    1. *wreckers and saboteurs would soon ensure a shortage of sand

  12. Aside from “this isn’t real socialism”, what more can be said about Venezuela?

  13. “‘If the bourgeoisie hide the food, I myself will bring it to your house,’ Maduro said in March.”

    What a whimsical little world he seems to live in. “Now, remember, children, throw salt over your shoulder every time you walk through the door, or the capital-fairies will follow you in and eat all the food in the cellar.”

  14. Now oil is selling at $50 per barrel,

    Which is still more than twice, after adjusting for inflation, what the price of oil was the year Chavez became president. If Venezuela is worse off now than in 1998, you can’t blame the price of oil.

    1. Well, that’s inflation. They can’t help it that the evil capitalist devalues currency.

  15. Just did a search, and recently Sean Penn, Danny Glover, Harry Belafonte, Stone, Chomsky and the rest of the left-ignoranti seem to have little to say about Venezuela. Perhaps, like O’Neil, they are searching for some new label they can use to avoid admitting that socialism, once again, has fucked with the people it is supposed to help.

  16. I feel like in that situation, I would kill some cops/government agents and eat them. Two birds with one stone. Plus at least if you’re gonna die, which you might if your start a rebellion, at least yoh won’t have to suffer through hunger anymore.

    I’m only half joking. Actually more like only 30% joking. Bitch I ain’t starvin I’m gonna eat somethin

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