The dire humanitarian crisis in Venezuela appears to be worsening, with starving residents now resorting to stealing and even killing in order to survive.
Food shortages, looting and protests continue in the country, and the European Union has now imposed economic and travel sanctions against seven Venezuelan officials who are accused of human rights crimes, according to reports.
The looting and protesting began to escalate at the beginning of the new year, as food shortages and an already out-of-control inflation rate continued to rise.
Residents have taken to breaking into warehouses, ransacking food trucks and invading local farms as a means to obtain food.
Last week, local university professor Antonio Jose Vargas posted a video to Twitter of empty shelves at a grocery store, captioning the post, “En #Venezuela no hay comida,” or “In Venezuela, there is no food.”
— Antonio José Vargas (@AbogadoAntonioV) January 22, 2018
Thieves have even stolen and slaughtered horses and cattle grazing in fields.
The situation is so bad that a fishing boat returning to Margarita Island with a catch of sardines was raided by a desperate, hungry mob that waded out to sea, Vargas wrote on Twitter.
The fishermen did not resist the aggressive crowd full of men, women and even children, Vargas said.
En Margarita saquean una lancha llena de sardinas.Los pobladores de la zona se tiraron al mar con tobos y antes de que la lancha anclara se llevaron la pesca.Los pescadores no opusieron resistencia ante la agresividad de la gente (hombres,mujeres y niños) con hambre y desesperada pic.twitter.com/DNhnPoMdOD
— Antonio José Vargas (@AbogadoAntonioV) January 18, 2018
“We either loot or we die of hunger,” Maryoli Corniele, one of the looters, told local newspaper Diario la Verdad.
Despite the unrest, the government continues to claim that nothing is wrong. President Nicolas Maduro’s government denies the existence of a “humanitarian crisis” and blames the lack of food and medicine on sanctions imposed by the U.S. Meanwhile, physical cash in the country is virtually nonexistent and people are dying from treatable diseases due to the lack of medicine. To add insult to injury, Maduro’s office recently released a “100 per cent Natural Health Plan,” which seeks to “rescue of historic and patrimonial health, knowledge of the old ladies.
“I am curing a terrible flu that hit me at the beginning of the year with camomile, aloe, lemon and a little honey,” Maduro said from the presidential palace.