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The Public-Health Case Against Nicolás Maduro

As severe malnutrition engulfs Venezuela, there are strong public-health grounds for international criminal charges against President Nicolás Maduro. With diplomatic efforts to remove Maduro seemingly at a standstill, such an approach could offer another route toward changing the country’s leadership.

NEW YORK – In medical school, we learned about the ghastly effects of severe protein-calorie malnutrition. But we thought that conditions such as kwashiorkor and marasmus were mainly of historical significance, the scourges of long-ago wars and prison camps. We did not expect to witness them in our lifetimes. 

Yet today, severe malnutrition is engulfing Venezuela, with catastrophic consequences for the country’s people and its future generations. The recent standoff at Venezuela’s border with Colombia, in which Venezuelan government forces fired bullets and tear gas to prevent 80 tons of humanitarian aid from entering the country, is evidence that the regime is deliberately starving its own people.

That is why I believe there are strong and urgent public-health grounds for international criminal charges against President Nicolás Maduro and officials in his government. And with diplomatic efforts to remove Maduro seemingly at a standstill, such an approach could offer another route towards changing the country’s leadership.

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