by Tom Lewis, Gold Telegraph:
If one were an extreme optimist, one could say the good thing about Venezuela is that you won’t get food poisoning because there simply isn’t any food to be had.
Venezuelans have no reason to be optimistic. Food has turned into an extreme luxury, and many Venezuelans are starving. Days can crawl by without food, and many depend on handouts for any morsel to eat. Others rummage through garbage. Within two decades, Venezuela has gone from being one of the richest regions in South America to one of the poorest. One-third of Venezuelan citizens get by one a single meal a day. They are probably the lucky ones. Since President Maduro took office, the country’s economy has decreased by 50 percent. And he was recently re-elected for six years. As an optimist, you could say that at least one person in Venezuela has a job.
Thanks to Maduro’s economic policies, inflation is at 1 million percent. It is likely to soar to 10 million by next year. Maduro keeps gleefully announcing economic success and wage increases when in fact stores are empty, people are starving, and the entire country is on a rapid downward spiral. A wage increase was announced in December with major fanfare as a “gift.” Except that a single traditional ham bread sells for 4,892 bolivars in a country where the minimum monthly wage is 4,500 bolivars. Merry Christmas.
With stores mostly devoid of food items, Venezuelans stand in long lines hoping for rice or soup from some charity organization. A fortunate 8 percent of the population may get some protein each day. The average store lacks about 72 percent of needed food items, and the cost of whatever drugs may be available has increased by 305 percent. It doesn’t really matter whether Venezuelans can’t find food or can’t afford food. Starvation makes no such grammatical distinction.
Lack of nutrition has brought about any number of infectious diseases such as malaria and measles. But the country’s Ministry of Health is no longer issuing its annual health-related reports, so no one knows the severity and number of infections that currently exist. In order to treat the sick, desperate doctors exchange whatever information they have on the sly After all, according to the government, everyone in Venezuela is happy and healthy. It wouldn’t do to disagree with official dogma.
It’s difficult to tell which children have been vaccinated and which have not, thus increasing diseases which were previously very treatable. Children are getting sick at a rapid rate, and few parents can afford medicine. As an example, measles has been controlled for some time. But in 2017, Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, saw 1,500 new cases of measles.
With so many people fleeing Venezuela, the disease is crossing borders and infecting other countries. Health officials in Brazil are already witnesses an increase in the disease. In less than a year, there have been 10,000 reported cases of measles in Brazil alone.