While most eyes in the west are focused on the shambolic Brexit negotiations or the never-ending saga that is Trump, there is a deathly crisis in Venezuela that is being largely ignored. Political unrest and blackouts lasting days have left millions starving and many dead. Problems in Venezuela have been mounting, with millions of Venezuelans leaving the country in the past few years. The country has been crippled by the gutted economy and hyperinflation reaching 800,000% under President Nicolás Maduro — but in recent months and days the crisis has reached a head. Though Maduro blames the opposition, many countries around the world are currently working to have him removed — something he has criticized as neo-imperialistic. Currently, around 70 percent of the country is affected by the blackouts and images, like this stunning photo series from Vox, have started to flood the internet.
Warning: Contains Graphic Image
But one image has made the human cost of this horrific crisis resonate, summing up the despair of the current situation in Venezuela. “A shocking viral image shows a severely malnourished 19-year-old girl dying in her mother’s arms after doctors were forced to turn her away due to the power outage,” News.com reports. “The heartbroken mother, Elizabeth Diaz, was forced to carry her daughter’s body — which weighed just 10kg — to a morgue. According to The Daily Mail, she had visited a local Integral Diagnostic Centre in the northern city of Valencia on Saturday night, but was turned away. She was advised to take her daughter, who suffered from cerebral palsy and chronic malnourishment, to another medical centre where she was assured they would treat her. But the girl died in her arms shortly after they arrived.”
#9Marzo Esta señora llega con su hija de 19 años muerta en brazos a la morgue de Valencia en el Estado Carabobo. La niña de apenas 10 kg no pudo ser atendida en el CDI de Trapichito por no contar con servicio eléctrico. #Valencia #Venezuela #Apagón #MegaApagón
Vía: Lizeth Heber pic.twitter.com/C0ylL4Qypa
— VPItv (@VPITV) March 10, 2019
Reportedly, 80 babies have also died in hospital due to the blackouts. The truth is, we’re not even beginning to understand the true toll of this crisis and it’s unclear how the situation will be resolved. Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has been recognized by dozens of countries, but others point out that this self-proclaimed President — who has been claiming the position since January — has not been officially elected and refuse to recognize him. In the meantime, the crisis rolls on with the most vulnerable paying the price.
Report that at least 80 neonatal patients have died at University Hospital in Maracaibo, Zulia, since the blackout began on Thursday in #Venezuela.
Unimaginable tragedy. Heartbreaking. https://t.co/1M6PCxyMdh
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 10, 2019
Even those of us who know we’re in an echo chamber, who know that our headlines have been hijacked by hot-button issues like Trump and Brexit, are guilty of turning a blind eye. Hospitals without power and children dying in their mothers’ arms should not come at the bottom of your mental feed. Lives are being lost and the children of Venezuela are suffering. We need to turn our attention where it’s needed most.