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Collapse is not fought with fatigue

Recently, the team of the humanitarian analysis platform HumVenezuela published its Newsletter No. 8, dedicated to the collapse, that is, “the decline of the country’s capacities to guarantee the population’s right to access to dignified and risk-free living conditions that threaten their lives, integrity, security, subsistence and freedom of action to seek solutions to the individual or collective problems they face”.

The data that served to put together this analysis was collected between November 2022 and June 2023, in a period in which, according to official propaganda, Venezuela was in clear recovery. HumVenezuela’s findings go against this government narrative and are reflected in various indicators that account for the scope of this multidimensional crisis.

A first observation is that the collapse did not occur overnight, and neither was it a direct consequence of unilateral coercive measures. The study locates a time line that began nine years ago in which “the collapse of almost 70% of these capacities and a large-scale Complex Humanitarian Emergency occurred for 7 of those 9 years, with devastating impacts on the population”, according to HumVenezuela.

During this time, the collapse has meant the exhaustion of the population’s survival resources. People are consuming their material and emotional reserves without expectations of replenishment, leading between 2019 and the present in greater social deprivation and submission to the dynamics of an underground economy, which have led to overtiredness and human insecurity, to the extent that that people are exposed to higher levels of uncertainty and vulnerability.

All this happens in a context in which the structural reasons that gave rise to the crisis are still present and signs of recovery are non-existent, since the supposed improvement referred to in official propaganda is based on restricted data, unsustainable in time and that, in the best of cases, reaches an insignificant portion of the population that does not exceed 5% of the country’s inhabitants.

Faced with this situation, any resource, however modest, can mean the difference between life and death for those who find themselves in the deepest layers of collapse. Thus, the Social Protection Fund for the people of Venezuela announced in November 2022 seemed like a small light at the end of this nine-year tunnel. However, nothing has happened. The government, the opposition, the US and the UN have spent months pointing to each other as responsible for the obstacles to advancing in the channeling and use of the more than 3 billion dollars announced.

In view of an emergency that is far from over and the stagnation of the social fund, at the end of July a group of civil society organizations demanded the urgent creation of said fund, to begin responding to the complex humanitarian emergency.

Meanwhile, the troubled negotiating spaces between the government and a sector of the opposition have focused almost exclusively on elections and sanctions. Although these are issues that require an urgent approach, this collapse in which an alarming majority of the population finds itself trapped is no less pressing.

On the other hand, abroad we are increasingly hearing more about the fatigue experienced by international actors in the face of the situation in Venezuela. It is a depletion caused by the perception that there are fewer and fewer options and spaces to try to find solutions to the crisis in Venezuela. It is the feeling that the crisis has become something endemic with which we simply have to learn to live.

Turning the collapse into a landscape is not an option for those who suffer from it every day. The international community must take a new breath to unlock the social fund and reactivate the space for negotiation in Mexico, since the fatigue of cooperation and international actors does not correspond to or equal the suffering of the population, which has not ceased.