The United Nations published a Global Humanitarian Response Plan COVID 19, in which it describes the situation of various countries to face the pandemic, with emphasis on Venezuela. In this regard, the ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the United States, Carlos Vecchio, explained that the UN report confirms once again that dictator Nicolás “Maduro is the only one responsible for the vulnerability and defenselessness of Venezuela in the face of the pandemic,” and not international sanctions as the regime pretends to make out.
The UN report states, on page 67, that “as of March 21st, the laboratory kits have arrived in the country and the technical capacity to carry out tests exists”. In Ambassador Vecchio’s view, this is confirmation that the sanctions do not prevent access to medicines and medical equipment, and humanitarian exceptions are being met. “The UN itself is tearing down the lies of Maduro’s dictatorship with facts.”
The report continues, “The general public health system has limited capacity. This is due to a combination of factors, including shortages of medicines and supplies, lack of regular water and electricity, and the migration of health professionals.”
“In other words, the destruction of the national economy and all public services, especially water and electricity; the complex humanitarian emergency and the migration of professionals, especially health professionals, all generated by the usurper Maduro, and the imposition of a corrupt, mistaken and failed economic, political and social model are the causes of the vulnerability in which Venezuela finds itself today. This situation is prior to the year 2016. It is not generated by the international sanctions that have rather contained the indiscriminate corruption of the dictatorship”, explains Vecchio.
The UN report also clarifies that “the COVID-19 pandemic will probably have an additional negative impact on the economy, which has already experienced five consecutive years of contraction. The national social quarantine, including the closure of fuel stations in some areas, has already increased the price of commodities. Distribution systems for food supplies and other basic goods are under pressure and depend on the government’s ability to import commodities amidst domestic economic constraints.
In this aspect, the Venezuelan ambassador emphasizes that “the same dictator Maduro has recognized that the economic debacle ‘that Venezuela faces is his fault,’ and has even publicly said that ‘it is not the fault of (President) Donald Trump. It was Maduro who destroyed our main industry, the oil company PDVSA, and as a consequence, we no longer produce enough gasoline to supply the internal demand. This, added to the deep worldwide revealed corruption, keeps us in economic contraction and at serious risk in the face of the pandemic. Is that the work of sanctions? No. With them we have managed to stop the embezzlement of the nation and the Venezuelans.”
Finally, Vecchio recalls that “for 20 years, the Chavista-Madurista dictatorship has dedicated itself to attacking and expelling from Venezuela all international organizations, including those specialized in humanitarian and health care and action, remaining only with the supposed limited and retrograde support of Cuba, which is really bleeding Venezuela.”
In the diplomat’s view, this is highlighted by the UN report when it says “The lack of funding for the overall humanitarian response is a key challenge. The limited capacity due to the lack of registration of international NGOs and the ability of WFP to enter the country and operate under humanitarian principles are additional challenges”.
In conclusion, today the UN ratifies that “all the conditions generated by Nicolás Maduro are the causes of Venezuela’s vulnerability to the COVID19 and any other situation. Not the sanctions. Maduro is the problem, the cause, the obstacle and the detriment to Venezuela. In the face of this, the Interim Government of President Guaidó is working with allies and international organizations to deal in the best possible way, within the limitations posed by the usurpation of Maduro and the kidnapping of the Venezuelan State by the dictatorship, with this pandemic. The only possible solution to all the ills in Venezuela is Maduro’s exit and to move towards a transition.
Here is the translation of the UN report on Venezuela:
Impact of COVID-19
Direct impact on the health of individuals and systems
As of March 21st, Venezuela had confirmed 70 cases of COVID-19. The laboratory kits have arrived in the country and the technical capacity to perform tests exists. The Ministry of Health has designated 47 hospitals for response and treatment, and has developed a national prevention and response plan. The Government declared a state of emergency on March 13th and subsequently implemented a national social quarantine, limiting people’s movements and social interactions. On March 17th, the Government formally requested UN support for the COVID-19 response and for addressing its socio-economic consequences.
The general public health system has limited capacity. This is due to a combination of factors, including shortages of medicines and supplies, lack of regular water and electricity, and the migration of health professionals.
The lack of regular and sufficient access to WASH services in many communities will be a challenge for prevention and control.
Indirect impacts on people and systems.
The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have an additional negative impact on the economy, which has already experienced five consecutive years of contraction. The national social quarantine, including the closure of fuel stations in some areas, has already increased the price of commodities. Distribution systems for food supplies and other commodities are under pressure and depend on the Government’s ability to import commodities amidst internal and external economic constraints.
Quarantine can increase the risk of gender-based violence for people living in enclosed spaces and limit access to information and protection services for those most in need. Families, especially women, who are often caregivers, will have to deal with anxiety and stress, which increases the need for mental health and psychosocial services.
The closure of educational facilities has disrupted children’s schooling schedules and their access to school feeding and child protection programmes, and may increase the number of dropouts.
The closure of the borders with Brazil and Colombia is already having health, economic and social impacts: people who depend on cross-border trade for their livelihoods have had to stop their activities; people who require medication and treatment from Colombia, such as people with HIV/AIDS, face difficulties in accessing them; and the use of irregular border crossings has increased, affecting the monitoring of COVID-19. Regional measures taken to control COVID-19 could affect the flow of remittances, an important source of income for many Venezuelans.
Most affected and at risk population groups
The most vulnerable groups include needy people over 60; people with pre-existing health conditions; people with limited access to WASH services; food insecure people; the indigenous population; health workers; and people on the move living in crowded accommodation or collective centres.
Impact on the delivery of humanitarian operations
Many of the 81 humanitarian partners in the country have limited or temporarily suspended their activities due to quarantine measures. Fuel restrictions have led to shortages in certain areas, resulting in higher fuel prices and restrictions on mass gatherings. Humanitarian workers will need to adopt new distribution methods.
Only critical humanitarian personnel are working on site. The UN has facilitated an agreement with the authorities to issue special access passes for critical personnel and vehicles.
COVID-19 Response Priorities
To complement national efforts, the UN and its partners are implementing a COVID-19 intersectoral prevention and response plan, focusing on health, WASH, mass communication and the prioritization of other critical cluster activities.
Response gaps and challenges
The lack of funding for the overall humanitarian response is a key challenge. Limited capacity due to the lack of registration of international NGOs and the ability of WFP to enter the country and operate under humanitarian principles are additional challenges. Movement restrictions due to quarantine can limit operations. Humanitarian supply could be affected and become more expensive due to global demand.