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Out of sight is so easily out of mind – and those presiding over humanitarian disasters often prefer that intense suffering should be kept out of sight. Praise God for the courage, skill and persistence of journalists like Alex Crawford and Stuart Ramsey who have done outstanding work for Sky Television in lifting the lid on people’s suffering and bringing their plight to the attention of the world.

This link to their video, Inside Venezuela provides a really insightful and graphic glimpse inside Venezuela – a country which was given its name by Spanish sailors (as a diminutive of Venecia – Little Venice). The waters have risen very high here: this beautiful country so needs the power of God to break through.

Do watch, and let the Lord expand your heart in prayer for the people of this country.

Something like four million citizens have made the heart-breaking decision to leave their nation and find a way to make a life for themselves as best they can in a neighbouring country.

For many who have not been able to leave their plight is still worse who are left behind.

This is a nation where inflation is expected to reach a mind boggling 10,000,000% next year. What does that look like in practice? By the time someone has taken an item off the shelves at the back of a supermarket and made their way to the checkouts, it has tripled in price. A few rolls of toilet paper cost so much, it can be cheaper to use paper money instead.

This is what was witnessed over three months ago: ‘Lines of more than a 100 people were formed in front of bank machines. The Venezuelan government limits cash withdrawals to 3,000 bolivars, the equivalent of one US dollar, at a time.

A local resident told me that due to hyperinflation, there are never enough banknotes in circulation, no matter how much money the government prints. 3,000 bolivars get you three rides on the public bus system. People have no choice but to line up regularly at bank machines.

There was a crowd in front of a bakery, too. Purchases are limited to two loaves of bread per person each day, and one loaf costs about 3,000 bolivars, compared to 30 bolivars a few years ago. Prices have risen 100-fold over several years. Public servants earn an average of 18,000 bolivars a month, so they can only afford six loaves of bread a month. People are surviving on very small rations of commodities like wheat.’

From: NHK World

‘Messianic’ hopes

Venezuela is suffering one of the greatest humanitarian crises of our times: people are scavenging through dustbins and drinking from sewers in order to avoid starving to death, medicines are non-existent, and the homicide rate is terrifyingly high (73 Venezuelans died a violent death for every day of 2017.) In the face of such challenges,

It is normal for people in despair to look for a Messiah-like figure and, having found one, to invest great hope in them. We all know the hopes that people have invested in Juan Guaido in their hope that he will take over from President Maduro, and that the sheer number of people protesting will turn things round. Inside Venezuela includes images of him in church with his wife, and a brief interview with him.

Juan Guaido himself is well aware of the need for help from the international community. Endorsements for him personally have come from far and wide. The attempt to bring in aid from overseas however failed lamentably. Only the Lord knows what will come of the hopes they have invested in Juan Guaido, elected leader but not permitted to take office.

Venezuelans appear to be a very proud people, who truly long for their nation to be strong and united. In the face of immense desperation, many are showing remarkable resilience.

There are many, of course, who continue to support President Maduro, sincere in their desire to continue Hugo Chavez’s policies.

Cuba is continuing to provide extensive support for President Maduro, and Russia to a lesser extent. Maduro’s armed ‘enforcers’ are above the law and highly dangerous. As to the much-mooted question of whether American military intervention would help, see this article in USA Today concerning the advisability or NOT of America trying to enforce regime change.

We are fortunate enough to be able to watch this video of the sufferings of the Venezuelan people and then resume our normal lives. For the millions of those who have left the country, their plight is extremely difficult, and this comes across well in this video.

Prayer

Jesus, we lift the future of Venezuela to You now. Come close now to all who are suffering, all who have lost loved ones due to lack of food, medicines or through acts of violence.