In Venezuela, where the South American nation’s economy continues to implode under its socialist government, a video of children and adults scrambling to grab food scraps and refuse showed scenes of hunger and desperation. The video, according to Venezuelan journalist Luis Olavarrieta, was recorded in El Cementerio neighborhood in Aricagua, a town in Portuguesa State of northwestern Venezuela. Adults and children grapple with each other in the video, grabbing what appear to be bunches of rotten bananas and plantains that were dumped in the street by a vendor.
According to Olavarrieta, every day it is more common to see Venezuelans going to garbage dumps to satisfy their growing hunger.
According to Venezuela’s Asopadres — a national group of families — malnutrition among school-age children reached the level of 62 percent in February. Asopadre president Jhonny Martinez told El Diario La Verdad de Vargas that mothers who belong to his organization cannot find enough food for their children, due to the economic crisis. He explained that schools do not provide food either, due to failings on the part of the country national school nutrition program. Martinez said that he would issue a demand for an official investigation of the schools to determine the number of malnourished children, arguing that President Nicolas Maduro’s government is trying to cover up the reality.
The leader of the teachers’ union of Vargas State, Santos Sivira, said that his colleagues had not received any food for their students throughout the month of January. “Our students are malnourished,” Sivira said, “and this has an effect on the learning process because a hungry student cannot perform well in school.” In late February, in an act of apparent desperation, a family left the body of a deceased family member on the steps of the mayor’s office in Turen, a region in Portuguesa State.
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