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

by admin   |   Posted on Thursday, December 6th, 2018

 

 

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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Tensions spill over in Caracas as Venezuelans take to the streets in an uprising vs Maduro

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

Tens of thousands of people marched in Caracas in support of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido on Tuesday made his strongest call yet to the military to help him oust President Nicolas Maduro, but there were no concrete signs of defection from the armed forces leadership.

Tens of thousands of people marched in Caracas in support of Guaido, clashing with riot police along the main Francisco Fajardo thoroughfare. A National Guard armoured car slammed into protesters who were throwing stones and hitting the vehicle.

Seventy-eight people were injured in the incidents, most of them hit with pellets or rubber bullets, said Doctor Maggi Santi of the Salud Chacao health centre in Caracas. None of the injuries were life-threatening, he added.

Early on Tuesday, several dozen armed troops accompanying Guaido clashed with soldiers supporting Maduro at a rally in Caracas, and large anti-government protests in the streets turned violent. But by Tuesday afternoon an uneasy peace had returned and there was no indication that the opposition planned to take power through military force.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNN that “as we understand it” Maduro had been ready to depart for socialist ally Cuba, but had been persuaded to stay by Russia, which has also been a steadfast supporter.

Maduro did not make a formal speech on Tuesday but said on Twitter: “Nerves of steel! I call for maximum popular mobilisation to assure the victory of peace. We will win!” He said he had spoken with military leaders and that they had shown him “their total loyalty.”

Guaido, the leader of the National Assembly, invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency in January, arguing that Maduro’s re-election in 2018 was illegitimate. But Maduro has held on, despite economic chaos, most Western countries backing Guaido, increased U.S. sanctions, and huge protests.

Venezuela is mired in a deep economic crisis despite its vast oil reserves. Shortages of food and medicine have prompted more than 3 million Venezuelans to emigrate in recent years. (REUTERS)

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

by admin   |   Posted on Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

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 admin   |   Posted on Monday, February 11th, 2019

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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