Opposition demonstrators take part in a women’s rally against Nicolas Maduro’s government in San Cristobal. Photo: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters.

Venezuela has been in the midst of a deep and crippling recession since 2014. This recession and the subsequent political and economic policies enacted in the Latin American country have had a devastating impact on women and girls. Stories that come out of the country are heartbreaking. In February, a nine-year-old girl died from diphtheria, a treatable infection for which there is a vaccine. The girl went to four different hospitals where there was a shortage of medicine and later died

Daniela, a 14-year-old girl with cancer, could have gotten diagnosed earlier. Instead, doctors decided to amputate her leg to save her life — all because of a severe shortage of medicine. Her doctor told CNN that the usual survival rate is 70 percent. But because Venezuelan doctors lack the necessary resources, that figure drops to 30 percent.

Anti-government protests have been rocking the capital of Caracas for months. Earlier this spring, the Venezuelan Supreme Court stripped the National Assembly of power. They transferred all legislative powers to the Supreme Court, which is controlled by people loyal to President Nicholas Maduro. Read this for an overview of the Venezuelan crisis.

The political and economic turmoil has a severe impact on women and girls in the country. Mothers are paying smugglers to transport their young daughters over the Colombian border in hopes of a better life. Humanitarian aid is not allowed into the country, effectively starving millions of people who are unable to buy basic necessities. Mothers and fathers are crossing the border into Colombia to buy items like baby formula and to seek medical care for themselves and their children.

Women and girls are suffering because of the Venezuelan crisis. That has long-term effects for a generation of girls and the region as a whole. This photo blog has some striking images of women and girls throughout the turmoil. The crisis is affecting everything from education and family planning to something as simple as buying fruit at the grocery store. With all that is going on in the world right now, sometimes it might be easy to retreat into our own separate bubbles, as it were. We must keep being vigilant, educating ourselves and working to end preventable humanitarian crises like these.

-Sage Daugherty
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

 

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