Sarah-Leah Pimentel, South Africa •
In a country facing severe food and medicine food shortages due to rampant hyperinflation and poor governance, humanitarian aid is a necessity. It is a crime against humanity to burn that food which could save thousands of lives.—
There is not enough food in Venezuela to meet the basic daily needs of more than half of the population. Countless people have died of preventable diseases because the hospitals have run out of medical supplies and medicines.
For a moment let us put aside the politics and the reasons why the president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, does not want the food convoys to come into the country. For a moment let us put aside the international community’s posturing to support either Maduro or the opposition leader, Juan Guaido. For a moment, let’s forget about who is right and who is wrong.
Let us focus on what happened this weekend. Millions of people are desperate for food and medicine. Trucks full of supplies have been waiting for weeks at Venezuela’s borders with Colombia and Brazil. Those trucks are the hope of the starving people of Venezuela. But these trucks are also part of an international tug of war between Maduro and Guaido and their allies. Finally, after weeks of posturing the first trucks came over the border where thousands of volunteers were waiting to meet it and take the supplies to a safe place.
Instead of allowing the humanitarian corridor, the national police – under orders from Caracas – set fire to three trucks filled with precious food and medicine. Riots broke out and people died. The rest of the trucks returned over the border to safety. The people of Venezuela are still hungry.
Any president who allows his people to starve to settle political scores is a murderer. It is heart-breaking to see how a once rich oil-producing country has been brought to its knees because of pride, power and greed.
Pope Francis – even though he has refused to take sides – has also appealed for a solution that prioritizes the needs of the people and not partisan interests.
The people of Venezuela are not alone. As Schoenstatt we join in the solidarity of prayer for our Venezuelan brothers and sisters. We pray that the food aid will finally reach the people who need it so desperately. We pray that the political situation may be resolved. We pray that there will be no bloodshed.
We are confident that our prayers will be heard. The Blessed Mother has made her home in Venezuela. Several pilgrim mothers visit the homes of those who are hungry for food, those who are hungry for change, those who are hungry for peace.
Mary is a mother. She hears our prayers, she hears the cries of her children. In childlike confidence we entrust the nation of Venezuela to our Mother.