Venezuela, now a dictatorship, is one step away from a full-on humanitarian crisis. 82% of households live in poverty. Shortages of food, medicines and other products reach 87%. This is already causing the death of the most vulnerable: newborn babies, children, the elderly and people with diseases like cancer, AIDS, diabetes and heart conditions.
The few products that are available are unaffordable. Venezuela has the highest inflation in the world. 2016 closed with a rate of 800%, which is expected to double by the end of 2017. A steep devaluation of the Venezuelan currency and rising unemployment have made the situation worse.
Venezuela has one of the highest homicide rates in the world. During 2016 there were 28,479 homicides. That is an average of 78 murders per day. Human rights organisations report that less than 10% of these crimes lead to convictions.
The government headed by Nicolás Maduro is not respecting the will of the people. It is acting against democracy, human rights, the constitution and international law. In December 2015 the opposition gained a 2/3 control of the National Assembly. Yet, the President and his allies in the Supreme Court have disregarded all laws approved by the legislative body. Maduro has now called for a National Constituent Assembly that will be packed by government supporters and will re-write the Constitution. This is illegal.
Peaceful protest is being met with violent repression. Dozens of protesters have died, hundreds have been assaulted, hundreds more have been arrested and, in another violation of Venezuela’s Constitution, they have been taken to military tribunals and prisons. There are dozens of political prisoners behind bars and the scarce independent media still operating in the country is constantly pressured.