A Portrait of Poverty and Desperation
A confidential U.N. report details the daily struggles of Venezuelans.
Assessing the scale of human suffering in Venezuela has proven increasingly difficult since 2015, when most institutions in President Nicolás Maduro’s government ceased publishing socioeconomic statistics. But a confidential United Nations report drafted last month based on independent data provides a glimpse of just how bad the situation there has become.
The 45-page report, titled Venezuela: Overview of Priority of Humanitarian Needs, describes widespread hunger, and diminishing access to education, clean water, electricity, and health care in a country that was once one of Latin America’s richest.
“[D]ue to an increasingly contracted economy and political unrest, the Venezuelan population is facing unprecedented challenges in accessing essential services, including protection, health care, medicines, vaccinations, water, electricity, education and access to food,” says the report, drafted by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
It says Venezuela’s inflation jumped from 21.1 percent in 2012 to 10 million percent this year.
The report, which was obtained by FP, estimates that 7 million Venezuelans, out of a population of 28.8 million, are in dire need of assistance. It predicts that some 1.9 million Venezuelans will flee their homeland this year, in addition to the 3.4 million refugees who have already swamped neighboring countries.
The U.N. has been reluctant to release its findings in part because of concerns they would complicate efforts to secure cooperation from the government on international humanitarian relief efforts. The world body also worried that opponents of Maduro, including the United States, would use the report as part of their effort to bring down his government. The New York Times first cited the findings in a story last week.
The number of undernourished people from among an estimated current population of 29 million people (adjusted to reflect the 3.4 million migrants believed to have fled Venezuela).
The number of cases of malaria in 2017 according to the World Health Organization, a 69 percent increase from 2016, and the largest increase in the world.
The number of people in transit
The number of people abroad
The homicide rate per 100,000 inhabitants in 2018, according to the Venezuela Observatory of Violence.
The rate of infant mortality in 2015-2016, according to Venezuela’s Ministry of People’s Power for Health.
Colum Lynch is a senior staff writer at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @columlynch