Venezuela, food as a political weapon

Midday yesterday we heard that Venezuela closed its maritime border with Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire and that no boats were allowed to leave the Falcon pier, destination Aruba. Flights were also prevented from coming or going to the ABC island.

At first, there was no date set to end that border closing. Then I saw a video clip of Maduro declaring he is restructuring Venezuela’s economic needs, and he said for 62 hours.

It’s all about food, and ‘humanitarian aid,’ on the surface, but it is really not that simple. And while Maduro has nothing to worry on our end, he is anxiously looking at Cucuta, on the Colombian border, and the famous bridge he blocked by shipping containers.

This Humanitarian Aid business is very political, and I understand we now have billionaires and rock stars involved in the polemic, is it a trick or a ploy, or is the assistance given at face value.

Let’s say, this humanitarian aid is indeed humanitarian aid.

BIG QUESTION: How will it cross if Maduro is determined to keep it AND the world out?

Venezuelans are no beggars, he said.

In the parallel reality, Venezuela’s interim president Juan Guaido sees a long chain of people, carrying it across, people and more people, a very poetic and symbolic image of individuals helping each other.

Maduro has always recognized food as a powerful weapon. Over dinner last week a few new Venezuelan friends described how during elections Maduro used to remind the crowd: Give me your vote and I will give you food, and how all Chavistas in Venezuela, holders of the Homeland ID Card always had access to products, and CLAP boxes – government subsidized food products – and how members of the opposition got none, losing an average of 24 pounds on the Maduro diet, last year.

Guaido promised food, he’s got people’s hope up, if he doesn’t deliver, he is toast!

So, all eyes are on Cucuta and on the Simon Bolivar International bridge.

Guaido was quoted on EURONEWS yesterday:

“The priority is to let humanitarian aid into the country on February 23rd. It will help us to contain the emergency. With this we are also testing the armed forces to see whose side they are on: are they on the side of the citizen, the Constitution, or someone who today usurps functions and who even keeps the professional troops of the armed forces and middle managers hungry. They cannot live on their salary. Today the minimum salary of the Venezuelan is $6 per month. So, nobody can live with $6 a month, they can barely survive. So, I don’t think a military man, a civilian, a nurse, or someone who belongs to the transport union likes this situation. So the situation in Venezuela is very tense, because a small group keeps abducting part of the arms of the Republic, the state bureaucracy, and every day makes reconstruction more expensive – reconstruction of the oil industry, the process of assembling, or reassembling, the rule of law, of freedom of expression, of a truly free election in the short term…..we are going to do everything possible to kick out of this dictatorship.”

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February 20, 2019
Rona Coster