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Without gas for cremation, even dying is a struggle in Venezuela

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, 6 December 2018 09:44 AM

 

 

A cemetery at Maracaibo, Venezuela | REUTERS

Cemeteries in Venezuela are unable to offer cremations because they lack natural gas, which is in ever shorter supply even though the OPEC nation holds some of the world’s largest energy reserves.

Venezuelans are also unable to afford to leave their relatives’ remains in the morgue while waiting for gas supplies. Each extra day costs more than a month of minimum wage.

Many are resorting to leaving bodies in unmarked common graves at the edge of cemeteries, an area traditionally reserved for unclaimed bodies.

The decay of Venezuela’s oil industry burdened citizens for months with long gasoline queues and shortages of cooking gas, and has now hit families bidding farewell to loved ones.

Venezuelans have shifted toward cremations, which cost about a third of burials, but growing demand has crematories struggling to obtain natural gas.

Members of a dozen families said in interviews they now wait as long as 10 days.

Shortages of wood and metal for coffins and cement for graves have complicated traditional burials. Some families wait for crematories to obtain propane gas. But the wait also boosts costs, with annual inflation nearing 1 million percent.

Shortages of medicine, food and basic goods have been constant since the 2014 collapse of oil prices battered Venezuela’s socialist economy. Around 3 million people have emigrated since 2015, according to the United Nations.

President Nicolas Maduro blames an “economic war” led by political adversaries with Washington’s help. The Information Ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment on cremations. — Reuters

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Venezuela opposition delivers first cargo of humanitarian aid -Guaido; Maduro presents government strategy

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, 12 February 2019 10:41 AM

Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido surrounded by students in a meeting in Caracas, Venezuela on February 11, 2019 | Reuters

Venezuela’s opposition leader, Juan Guaido, said on Monday (February 11) his team had delivered a first cargo of the humanitarian aid that has become a flashpoint in his tussle with President Nicolas Maduro, without specifying how it had received it.

Guaido, who has been recognized by most Western nations as Venezuela’s legitimate president over the past month, tweeted a photo of himself surrounded by stacks of white pots of vitamin and nutritional supplements. He did not say from where or whom they came.

Venezuela’s opposition has been coordinating an effort by Western nations, companies and organizations to deliver aid to Venezuela where malnutrition and preventable disease have proliferated in recent years as the economy has nosedived.

Maduro has said this is part of a U.S.-orchestrated strategy to undermine and ultimately overthrow him. He says he will not allow this “show.”

Maduro on Monday launched a government programme to consolidate Venezuela’s identity, aiming to improve exports. Under the slogan “Venezuela open to the future,” it aims to enhance the tourist, commercial, economic and advertising activities of the country.

The United States last month recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate leader after he declared himself president. Guaido argued Maduro’s re-election last year was a sham. The United States has since been joined by a majority of Western nations. — Reuters

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Venezuelan doctors demand government allow aid into country

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, 11 February 2019 10:36 AM

Venezuelan doctors demonstrating on the Colombian side of the border near where the humanitarian aid is being stored to demand Venezuela allow it into the country | Reuters

A group of Venezuelan doctors demonstrated on the Colombian side of the border on Sunday (February 10) as they demanded President Nicolas Maduro’s government allow humanitarian aid into their country.

Amid a hyperinflationary economic collapse that has caused malnutrition and the exodus of millions of people, humanitarian aid has become a flashpoint in an intensifying political crisis.

Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido said last week a global coalition that includes the United States was sending food and medicine to collection points in Colombia, Brazil and an undisclosed Caribbean island before delivering the aid into Venezuela.

But Maduro denies there is even a crisis, saying it is part of a U.S.-directed plot to undermine and overthrow his government and has said his government will not let the aid in.

Venezuela’s opposition has so far only publicly announced the arrival of aid in the Colombian border town of Cucuta, where it is now being stockpiled as Venezuelan authorities have made it clear they will not allow it to enter the country.

Doctors at the demonstration said the food and medicine from the aid could be immediately used to befit their patients. — Reuters

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Venezuela’s Guaido seeks humanitarian aid for OPEC nation

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, 6 February 2019 10:19 AM

Venezuelan opposition Leader Juan Guaido | Reuters

Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido and opposition lawmakers on Tuesday (February 05) called for humanitarian aid to be allowed into country, as the OPEC nation grapples with shortages of food and medicine.

Guaido’s statements come after the United States has sent food and medicine toward Colombia’s border with Venezuela, although it is still unclear how the aid will get past the objections of President Nicolas Maduro, who has blocked shipments in the past.

U.S. officials said trucks carrying the aid, including high-protein foods, would arrive in Cucuta this week at the request of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who last month declared himself to be the South American nation’s interim president.

But Maduro has spoken out against aid coming into Venezuela.

Pressure is growing on President Nicolas Maduro to step down after more than a dozen European Union nations, including Britain, Germany and France, joined the United States, Canada and a group of Latin American countries in recognising opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate leader.

As of late last year, Venezuela is suffering from a roughly 85 percent shortage of medicines, decrepit hospital infrastructure, and an exodus of doctors during a brutal recession. — Reuters

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