Venezuelan opposition deputy Julio Borges ERIKA SANTELICES/AFP/Getty Images

Justice Without Borders for Venezuela

With Venezuela’s humanitarian catastrophe worsening by the day, governments in the region and beyond are pondering how to respond. But it may be civil society that needs to invent new ways of taking action.

TIRANA – As Venezuela’s humanitarian catastrophe worsens by the day, governments in the region and beyond ponder how to respond. It may be time for civil society to invent new ways of taking action.

According to estimates from MIT’s Billion Prices Project, month-on-month food inflation in Venezuela reached 117.6% in January, or the equivalent of 1,130,000% a year. At the same time, the exchange rate depreciated at an annual rate of more than 700,000%, while the real purchasing power of wages – which barely represented 1,400 calories a day in December – was decimated further. A survey published in early January estimated recent out-migration at four million people, nearly as many as from Syria.

Governments in the Americas and Europe find themselves in rough, uncharted waters. If the problem were simply a matter of gross violations of the Organization of American States’ Democratic Charter – convincingly certified by OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro – solutions measured in months or years could be considered. But Venezuela is not just a political problem; it is a humanitarian catastrophe of unprecedented proportions.

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