From 172 to 115 Pounds: The Faces of Venezuelan Hunger

BloombergMuch has been written about Venezuelan hunger since the oil-rich country sank into economic chaos a few years ago. The strict food rationing, surging malnutrition and, in some extreme cases, starvation.

But if you’re not there on the ground, it’s difficult to comprehend what it truly looks and feels like up close—to see an old neighbor’s round face slowly hollow out or notice how your father’s favorite T-shirt hangs loosely on his shrinking frame.

So we photographed five Venezuelans—predominantly from the blue-collar neighborhoods that have been hit the hardest—and asked them to share pictures of their old, fuller selves. The changes in their physiques are stark. One person has lost 63 pounds. Another 78. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

Unfortunately, in recent years, continued progress in these areas has been threatened, not least by the radical populist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and elsewhere. These governments have instituted retrograde agendas that include the propagation of class warfare, state domination of the economy, assaults on private property, anti-Americanism, support for such international pariahs as Iran, Russia, and even transnational criminal organizations.

We are a group of concerned policy experts that fear the results of these destructive agendas for individual freedom, prosperity, and the well-being of the peoples of the region. Our goal is to inform policymakers and international public opinion of the dangers of these radical populist regimes to inter-American security.