AN ESTIMATED 6.5 MILLION VENEZUELANS
WILL HAVE FLED TO ESCAPE POVERTY BY THE END OF 2020
(New York Times)
IN ABANDONED BABIES IN 2018
90% OF THE POPULATION
LIVE IN POVERTY
WHAT IS HAPPENING?
Venezuela has been in the throes of what the United Nations has called one of the worst humanitarian crises. In fact, according to the U.N. World Food Program, 9.3 million people — nearly one-third of Venezuela’s population — are unable to meet their basic dietary needs. The recent COVID-19 outbreak has only worsened overall conditions, as access to food, resources, safety, and adequate education are increasingly out of reach. For women in Venezuela, however, another heartbreak is present.
Under socialist president Nicolás Maduro, Venezuelan women are encouraged to have as many children as possible to heal the economy, a solution with fatal results. For most families, the crippling economic situation means that caring for the children they already have is a struggle in itself. More children means more mouths to feed, resulting in older children being kicked out of their homes or voluntarily sleeping on the streets to find food for themselves.
With the 2020 demand to re-populate, more women are forced to give up their newborns or live on the streets to survive. From warning signs to not abandon children in trash cans to beggars on the streets, Venezuela’s economy is increasingly declining, even with additional births.
WILL THE SITUATION IMPROVE?
With Venezuela in the midst of an ever-worsening economic crisis, the problem can only worsen. With an urgency to reproduce, women are forced to give up a child they can’t provide for, become homeless, or leave the area in attempts to find a new life. Children are often left behind with neighbours, other family members, or simply abandoned when their parents leave the country or region in search of better prospects (The Guardian). As a government-wide authorisation (U.N. Population Fund 2019), 17,000 hormonal contraceptives have been distributed at hospitals and clinics to prevent pregnancy. For those not receiving the implant, however, pregnancy is still possible. Once a child is born, the vicious cycle of reproduction, homelessness, and malnourishment begins all over again.