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Venezuela: Urgent measures needed to address shortages of medicine and food

25 October 2016
Venezuela: Urgent measures needed to address shortages of medicine and food

The Venezuelan government has targeted critics of its ineffective efforts to alleviate severe shortages of essential medicines and food while the crisis persists, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on 24 October.

Regional governments should press the administration of President Nicolás Maduro to adopt immediate measures to better address the profound humanitarian crisis, including by exploring avenues for increased international assistance.

The 78-page report, ‘Venezuela’s Humanitarian Crisis: Severe Medical and Food Shortages, Inadequate and Repressive Government Response’, documents how the shortages have made it extremely difficult for many Venezuelans to obtain essential medical care or meet their families’ basic needs. The Venezuelan government has downplayed the severity of the crisis. Although its own efforts to alleviate the shortages have not succeeded, it has made only limited efforts to obtain international humanitarian assistance that might be readily available. Meanwhile, it has intimidated and punished critics, including health professionals, human rights defenders, and ordinary Venezuelans who have spoken out about the shortages.

“The Venezuelan government has seemed more vigorous in denying the existence of a humanitarian crisis than in working to resolve it,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “Its failures have contributed to the suffering of many Venezuelans who now struggle every day to obtain access to basic health care and adequate nutrition”.

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Photo: Human Rights Watch

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