Sadly, the economic problems in Venezuela have grown so large that the nation’s food and medicine supply is virtually non-existent. Essential supplies like food, fuel, and life-saving medicines are becoming impossible to find anywhere but the black market, despite the assurances from President Nicolas Maduro that everything will be fine.
Now, President Maduro is hinting that he’s reached a surprise deal with “Comrade Trump” to import food from the United States.
“We are bringing products imported by the revolutionary government from several sister nations: Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua … and even the United States. Comrade Trump is offering me [basic food products] at a good price,” Maduro said Sunday on his weekly TV show.
In the United States, fully 82% of American adults are taking at least one medication, while about one in four are taking five or more medications regularly. In Venezuela, drug shortages have forced countless sick Venezuelans to go without vital medications.
But according to President Maduro, President Maduro is closing a deal with Comrade Trump that would allow much-needed food to reach the hunger-stricken nation. Unfortunately, both presidents are known for their often unreliable relationship with the truth.
Although tensions between the U.S. and Venezuela have been high for years, Maduro seems to be sympathetic toward Donald Trump and is looking forward to working alongside him.
“If you ask me, I would say I do not want a fight with Mr. Trump,” Maduro said. “No. I say it [on behalf of] Venezuela, I want a relationship of respect, [and] of dialogue.”
In addition to the shortage of food and other essentials contributing to Venezuela’s crisis, the majority of its citizens are so poor that they cannot even afford these items thanks to runaway inflation.
The 2016 Encovi Living Conditions Survey, which analyzed the eating habits of 6,500 Venezuelan families, found that 32.5% are only able to eat once or twice a day, and even less often for the extremely poor. Wholly 93.3% of Venezuelans involved in the Encovi survey reported that their income was not enough to cover even their basic food needs.
Venezuela, a once wealthy, oil-producing powerhouse, has fallen on dire financial and humanitarian times since Maduro took office. Around that time, oil prices plummeted, which sparked the ongoing economic crisis.
According to a report from Fox News, 75% of the Venezuelan population has lost an average of 19 pounds over the past year due to food shortages. And 19 pounds is only the average, as the extremely poor individuals in Venezuela have lost even more than that, which is an alarming and unhealthy amount of weight to lose.
“There is a change in eating habits patterns from 2014,” said Maritza Landaeta, a researcher with the Venezuelan Health Observatory. “Previously, Venezuelans consumed primarily rice, breads and pastas; now it’s tubers.”
Malnutrition and hunger lead to other health problems as well. For instance, a quarter of new mothers will express breast milk between five and fifteen times a week. But when these mothers are unable to get enough food for themselves, they become unable to express breast milk at all.
“In our qualitative studies, we observed mothers who say that they fed their children only with bananas or auyamas [a kind of pumpkin] to satisfy their feeding needs,” Landaeta added.
The lack of food, although a very serious issue, has earned an infamous nickname, “The Maduro Diet.”
So when can Venezuelans expect to start seeing the promised food imports?
Unfortunately, Maduro left details to the imagination, saying only that there were “going to be surprises.”