The leader of the Colombian left, Gustavo Petro, recently made some eyebrow-raising remarks in relation to the entry of humanitarian aid by the United States and Colombia into Venezuela. The Colombia Humana party head threw his weight behind arguments put forward by Chavista Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, who said that the food that is intended to be delivered for humanitarian purposes is “carcinogenic.” Therefore, they can not be consumed.
According to Petro, the food rations in the humanitarian aid packages has been “poisoned” by the government of President Ivan Duque, as noted in his Twitter account.
El gobierno omisivo es cómplice del asesinato. El homicidio de José Arquímedes Moreno, a pocos kilómetros de donde Duque piensa enviar ayuda envenenada a un pais extranjero.
— Gustavo Petro (@petrogustavo) February 10, 2019
Argued Petro: “The absent government is the complicit government. The murder of Jose Arquimedes Moreno, mere kilometers from where Duque plans to send poisoned aid to a foreign country.”
The main objective of the message was to attack the Duque government, after the assassination of the social leader in the Catatumbo region, a highly restless and unstable zone, due to the presence of irregular groups such as the FARC, the Pelusos, the ELN, and paramilitary groups.
Petro makes the accusation without any proof that the aid is “poisoned,” and later indicates that the aid that is being warehoused in crowded conditions in Cúcuta is “rotting,” and attaches a picture of inhabitants of the streets in the city of Bogotá, with a caption: “Colombia. This is a country of beggars.” He further argues, “While the so-called humanitarian aid is spoiling in Cucuta, don’t these people need it?”
La ayuda llamada humanitaria se pudre en Cúcuta. ¿No la necesitan ellos? pic.twitter.com/oSMaWupv4w
— Gustavo Petro (@petrogustavo) February 13, 2019
The different obstacles that the regime of Nicolás Maduro has imposed on the entry of humanitarian aid range from the blockade on the border bridge with Colombia by truck containers, to the installation of heavy concrete pieces, and the accusation that the food aid is “contaminated and poisoned.”
Rodriguez suggested that the United States is lacing the food with “chemicals to poison” Venezuelans.
Without offering any evidence, she maintained that what she said has been certified by scientific studies that were never provided. “You must remain vigilant…we could say that they are biological weapons; this is what they intend with this humanitarian aid,” she insisted.
Similarly, he described as a “cheap show” and an “insult” that the opposition and several governments of the region, led by the United States, point out that Venezuela needs aid.
On the other hand, Maduro, openly refused to send humanitarian aid to his country. “Venezuela is not going to allow the show of false humanitarian aid because we don’t ask for handouts from anyone,” said the president a few days ago, defending the ability of his government to provide food, health care, housing, and employment to the public.
For his part, interim president Juan Guaidó called on the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) to take the side of the Constitution and allow humanitarian aid to enter.
Malnutrition in numbers
According to Huníades Urbina, president of the Pediatric Society, “78% of Venezuelan children are at risk of some type of malnutrition,” due to the shortage of food and hyperinflation.
Getting food is a nightmare: a can of milk for newborns has a price equivalent to USD $21, almost four monthly minimum wages.
At the same time, the Caritas Foundation points out that 57% of children under 5 years of age have some type of malnutrition.