[Ed. – We’re not yet in the territory of the infamous Holodomor in Ukraine, the starvation genocide caused by Josef Stalin in 1932-33. But Venezuela is too close for comfort. It is appalling to think of a people being so immobilized under a thuggish government and armed gangs. Knowing how to give to their relief can be tough; too much in most cases is diverted to the cronies of the Maduro regime. The Red Cross is not the best bet at this point. Some churches are able to get aid directly to the suffering people; the Salvation Army and Samaritan’s Purse may be able to as well. Note that Maduro announced at the end of April that Venezuela would be withdrawing from the Organization of American States. Just more evidence of the outlaw nature of his regime.]
Jean-Pierre Planchart, a year old, has the drawn face of an old man and a cry that is little more than a whimper. His ribs show through his skin. He weighs just 11 pounds.
His mother, Maria Planchart, tried to feed him what she could find combing through the trash—scraps of chicken or potato. She finally took him to a hospital in Caracas, where she prays a rice-milk concoction keeps her son alive.
“I watched him sleep and sleep, getting weaker, all the time losing weight,” said Ms. Planchart, 34 years old. “I never thought I’d see Venezuela like this.” …
Venezuela has the world’s highest inflation—estimated by the International Monetary Fund to reach 720% this year—making it nearly impossible for families to make ends meet. Since 2013, the economy has shrunk 27%, according to local investment bank Torino Capital; imports of food have plunged 70%.
Hordes of people, many with children in tow, rummage through garbage, an uncommon sight a year ago. People in the countryside pick farms clean at night, stealing everything from fruits hanging on trees to pumpkins on the ground, adding to the misery of farmers hurt by shortages of seed and fertilizer. Looters target food stores. Families padlock their refrigerators.