Venezuela crisis: Caracas citizens experiencing starving, worthless currency, infant mortality and death reported by Adriana Diaz – CBS News


Venezuelan starbing

Political unrest in Venezuela sparks humanitarian crisis

Citizens picking food out of discarded garbage bags. A mother mourning the death of her infant, lost to malnutrition. A young boy uses paper currency to create a handmade purse, simply because inflation has made money so worthless.

These are some of the scenes witnessed by CBS News’ Adriana Diaz as she walked through the streets of Caracas, Venezuela. As opposition leader Juan Guaidó continues to challenge President Nicolás Maduro’s claim to be the rightful leader of Venezuela, it is the people who suffer from political violence and a crippled economy.

On Sunday, thousands of Venezuelans held a vigil for five people killed in protests that were sparked after Guaidó called for a military uprising last Tuesday. But the high-level military defections Guaidó was counting on never materialized, and Diaz described the protests that followed over the weekend as “lackluster.”

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Traveling through Caracas, Diaz documented scenes of people digging through bags of half-eaten garage for their next meal, their only choice considering the exorbitant cost of food. With inflation at more than 1 million percent, money is basically worthless. One boy showed CBS News how he folds and weaves paper bills to build a makeshift purse, explaining that the money is more valuable as material to make a purse rather than as currency to carry in it and spend.

Perhaps most affecting are the scenes of families wracked by poverty and death. The child mortality rate in Venezuela has more than doubled since 2008. In the best cases, children are fed by humanitarian groups, but not all are so fortunate.

Diaz spoke with Nairobi Sortaga, whose infant son died two months ago from malnutrition and meningitis, weighing only 13 pounds at the age of 1 year old. Inside her impoverished home, a cupboard contained a small bag of lentils to feed Sortaga and her two daughters.

“It’s not my fault,” she said, wiping away tears.

Stories of Hunger in Venezuela
A boy in Caracas, Venezuela, eats soup donated by the Alto Restaurant on April 12, 2019. Local NGOs offer food to those in need, especially elderly people and children, amid the country’s economic crisis. Getty

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