Target: Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela
Goal: Send urgently needed food supplies to Venezuela.
Venezuela has been suffering through an extreme food shortage since plummeting oil prices devastated the economy in 2014. The government led by President Nicolas Maduro has failed to address corruption within its ranks which has incentivized creation of a black market for staple foods at prices which are out of reach for most citizens. This has contributed to soaring levels of malnutrition as many are forced to skip meals, eat garbage or rely on over loaded assistance programs.
The food shortage crisis has had an almost immediate impact on the day-to-day lives of many Venezuelans. An annual quality of life survey conducted in 2016 found that 32 percent of respondents reported consuming two or fewer meals per day, which represented a 20 percentage point increase from 2015. Over 300,000 people reported consuming garbage on a daily basis, a practice which was virtually unheard of during the oil boom of the early 2000s. Food availability has been a constant concern as staples such as rice, beans and fruit are increasingly offered at an enormous mark-up. The Atlantic interviewed several new mothers in Caracas who indicated the price for powdered milk, a growing necessity as increasing numbers of women are unable to produce breastmilk due to poor nutrition, had shot up to $7, or the equivalent of a week’s pay at the federal minimum wage.
There has not been a substantive response to this situation from the Venezuelan government. For several years President Maduro refused to admit food shortage was a legitimate concern, and resisted growing pressure from many in the country to request foreign aid. He also has refused to allow urgently needed shipments of medical supplies and food to enter the country. This has held back international aid organizations such as the United Nations from providing material support. For example, Venezuela has not yet been included in the United Nations World Food Programme, which specializes in responding to crisis-level food shortages.
It is time for those in the international community to demand that President Maduro take steps to help his own people. Please sign the below petition calling on the Venezuelan government to allow for entry of international aid organizations into the country.
Dear President Maduro,
I am writing to demand that you allow international aid organizations to provide urgently needed food and medical supplies to the people of Venezuela. As you are aware, the food shortage crisis has already impacted the health of many.
Your continued refusal to recognize the depth of this problem will only increase the suffering for those most vulnerable citizens. As you face almost certain defeat in the upcoming presidential election, this may be your last opportunity to avoid a legacy defined by corruption, starvation and human suffering.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: ZiaLater