MiradorSalud wishes to share with its readers a recent document that includes the position of Civil Society Organizations, institutions and interested individuals, in relation to the most recent international reports exposing the food and nutritional situation in Venezuela, namely, the UNICEF statement (2018) and 2019, the statement of the Special Rapporteurs of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (2018), the Food Security Assessment (FSA) to estimate the needs and vulnerabilities of Venezuelan households of the World Food Program (WFP, 2019), the Global Humanitarian Overview, the Global Report on Food Crisis (2020), the report Potential Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Food Security in Latin America (2020), and the Global Nutrition Report (2020).
The aforementioned documents report on the precarious food and nutritional situation in Venezuela, representing one of the worst food crises in the world, in immediate need for external food aid for the 9.3 million Venezuelans in acute food insecurity by 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic may further aggravate this situation.
In spite of the above: the country has received inexplicable recognition from international agencies for alleged progress in food security, figures used to describe on the nutritional status of children under five years of age which are five to eleven years overdue, and the food distribution system by the Local Supply Committees (CLAP), has been considered an example in mitigating the disruptions expected in food distribution in the context of Covid-19. It should be noted that this distribution system that has been investigated for corruption following complaints from the Venezuelan government itself and from the governments of Mexico, Colombia and Argentina, flagrantly and customarily, violates the Right to Food of Venezuelans, especially of the most vulnerable, due to its marked exclusionary nature.
The efforts of international agencies and organizations to expose the information on the Venezuelan case are diluted due to inadequate handling of the information, which is contradictory, outdated and incomplete. In our country, this violates the constitutional mandate, article 58, which states that “the information must be truthful, timely and impartial.” The above, together with the secrecy and opacity regarding the situation of hunger and malnutrition in Venezuela, has had a negative impact on the estimation of the humanitarian needs of the population, and has thus delayed the activation of response mechanisms, the mobilization of funds and relevant humanitarian planning that could be achieved through the humanitarian architecture of the United Nations, installed since 2019 in Venezuela.
The international agencies present in Venezuela must make greater efforts to achieve a realistic and updated understanding of the food and nutritional situation in the country; actions must be taken to solve the serious complex humanitarian emergency that the Venezuelan population is suffering, and strategies for operating in fragile states on the brink of broad-scale humanitarian damage must be adopted.
Organized civil society, universities, academies, etc., have kept a constant watch on the situation and have noted the problem of inadequate information on the situation in Venezuela. A range of documents which have not been duly taken into account are available. Examples are the Venezuelan Living Conditions Survey (ENCOVI, 2014-2017), joint statements by academies, universities, NGO and unions that have been sent to FAO, and even to the then United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, in view of the silence of the agencies regarding the Venezuelan crisis; also, a riposte was issued due to the unassertive presentation of the Venezuelan situation in the 2017 Global Food Crisis report, as well as the various sessions on health and food in Venezuela held at the IACHR, the OAS, and the UPR and ICESCR reviews, and most recently, the exhortation sent to UN-HABITAT for excluding Venezuela from the regional response to the pandemic by COVID-19.
On the basis of technical and scientific evidence, the systematic failure of the Venezuelan State to comply with its obligations and responsibilities in the area of food and nutrition, through actions and omissions, has been repeatedly denounced, since they constitute a violation of the human rights of the population which have resulted in food insecurity as well as in acute and chronic malnutrition.
We, the undersigned, raise our voice to demand greater efforts for a real and updated understanding of the food and nutritional situation in the country, so that actions aimed at solving the serious food and nutritional crisis in Venezuela are taken. We are monitors and witnesses of this accelerated and irreversible deterioration, and also, we are mourners and holders of the human right to life, health, food and freedom of information, therefore, we offer our capacities and the presence we have on the ground, to keep the international community informed about the concrete situation of the populations with which many of the signatories are working.
As a colophon, it is essential to comment that the food and nutritional situation in Venezuela is so serious that it has produced different reactions from various sectors of society, one of the most recent is the joint statement of the Academy of Physical, Mathematical and Natural Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine, which consider that currently, the most serious public health problem that is affecting the majority of Venezuelans is hunger, and the consequent malnutrition, which determines a high vulnerability to various pathogens and diseases such as the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19). They make an urgent call to the National Government to direct its efforts to correct the serious illness that malnutrition means, with special attention to that affecting our children.
Here the document:
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