Hace algo más de un año que la comunidad humanitaria internacional empezó un paulatino proceso de instalación en Venezuela, con la aquiescencia del gobierno. Y aunque algunas organizaciones no gubernamentales internacionales y agencias de las Naciones Unidas operan en el país desde hace años, dando respuesta a las necesidades derivadas del refugio colombiano, nunca antes se habían alcanzado los actuales niveles de sofisticación y presencia humanitaria.
En contextos como el venezolano, el espacio humanitario —el ambiente donde operan las organizaciones humanitarias— surge como resultado de complejas transacciones entre los distintos actores y poderes a través de una diplomacia humanitaria de alto nivel y bajo perfil, con capacidad para huir de las ortodoxias y con una visión de proceso.… Seguir leyendo »
Visitar Venezuela hoy en día es atestiguar la forma en que un mal gobierno puede aniquilar un país. Los años que han pasado bajo un gobierno corrupto, incompetente y autocrático han hecho que los venezolanos ahora padezcan hambre y que los niños mueran por falta de atención médica básica. A Daniela Serrano (en la fotografía anterior) se le murió un hijo por desnutrición este año y ahora observa con inquietud cómo le practican un examen médico a su hija, Daryelis, de 3 años, en una clínica asociada a un grupo de ayuda, el Proyecto Nodriza. Algunos venezolanos temen que haya hambruna en su futuro y parece que es más fácil encontrar partidarios del presidente Nicolás Maduro en un campus universitario estadounidense que en Venezuela.… Seguir leyendo »
En los últimos dos años, Estados Unidos ha impuesto sanciones económicas cada vez más severas contra Venezuela. Estas sanciones han restringido el acceso del gobierno al financiamiento externo, han limitado su capacidad de vender activos y, más recientemente, ha impedido que le venda petróleo a Estados Unidos.
Las sanciones fueron diseñadas para cortar las ganancias del régimen de Nicolás Maduro, y sus artífices dijeron que aplicarlas no generaría sufrimiento a los venezolanos. El razonamiento era que Maduro recularía de inmediato o que el ejército lo obligaría a salir antes de que las sanciones pudieran comenzar a surtir efecto.
Se equivocaron. A dos años de su entrada en vigor, Maduro sigue en el poder y su régimen se ha vuelto todavía más represivo y despiadado.… Seguir leyendo »
Los actos de opresión y violencia ocurridos en Venezuela en los últimos tiempos solo pueden ser comparados con los que también hemos visto durante años a través de vídeos y fotos de la guerra en Siria. Cuando creemos que ya no se puede ir más lejos en el horror, surge otra prueba de que la monstruosidad sigue devorando a la humanidad y de que no será fácil escapar de ella.
El 1 de julio el joven venezolano Rufo Antonio Chacón, de 16 años, fue herido gravemente mientras protestaba por la falta de gas en el municipio del estado Táchira donde vive con su madre.… Seguir leyendo »
Nicolás Maduro tiene una gran habilidad para desafiar las profecías sobre su caída.
Cuando fue elegido presidente de Venezuela en 2013, la gente dijo que no duraría ni doce meses en el cargo. Trece meses después, cuando las manifestaciones sacudían a la nación, la gente dijo que sus días estaban contados. Al año siguiente, cuando los partidos de la oposición ganaron la mayoría en la Asamblea Nacional y, de nuevo, cuando pelearon por un referendo revocatorio en 2016 y otra vez con el regreso de las protestas masivas en 2017, la gente dijo que ese sería el fin de Maduro. Sobre todo, se suponía que Maduro no sobreviviría a la campaña que se organizó este año con el fin de derrocarlo: un esfuerzo internacional que comenzó en enero y llegó a un punto culminante el fin de semana pasado.… Seguir leyendo »
This week, we look at how economic issues will affect future peacebuilding efforts.
Trendline: Putting Yemen to Work
Late February brought some hope to Yemen’s embattled population, large segments of which were on the verge of starvation at the end of 2018. The UN announced that it had both raised billions of dollars to pay for its humanitarian work over the coming year and had regained access to the Red Sea Mills, an important food storage and distribution hub outside the port city of Hodeida for the first time in five months. But without a peace deal and, in the longer term, significant economic reform, the most the UN and other organisations can do is arrest the sharp humanitarian decline of the past eight years.… Seguir leyendo »
Nicolás Maduro has a knack for defying prophecies of his demise.
When he was elected president of Venezuela in 2013, people said he would not last 12 months in office. Thirteen months later, when protests racked the nation, people said his days were numbered. The year after that, when opposition parties won a congressional majority, and again when they fought for a recall referendum in 2016, and yet again with the return of mass protests in 2017, people said, this will be the end of Maduro. Most of all, Maduro was not meant to survive this year’s campaign to oust him — an international effort that began in January and reached a peak last weekend.… Seguir leyendo »
On a recent evening, Ali al-Hajori, a man in his 60s, was begging on 70th Square in the western part of Sana, the capital of Yemen. Mr. Hajori, whose lips were parched, would stop by each car pulling over at a public park and raise his right hand in an appeal for help. As the sun set over the war-torn country, Mr. Hajori walked back to a rented room, where he lived with his family, who have been starving.
About three years earlier, after intense bombing by Saudi Arabia, Mr. Hajori fled his home in Mahwit province, 75 miles northwest of Sana.… Seguir leyendo »
Last-ditch diplomatic efforts could not stop the Saudi Arabian and Emirati coalition’s offensive on the Yemeni port city of Al Hudaydah this week. With no real prospect for peace talks of any kind, the city, a fief of the Houthi rebels who control much of the country and a hub for humanitarian assistance for millions of desperate Yemeni civilians, could fall within days.
If the offensive goes according to the Saudis’ and Emiratis’ plan, promptly after that, the Houthis, who also control the capital Sana, will sue for peace. The maritime blockade in place since 2015 could then be lifted. After that, a vast humanitarian operation could unfold, saving Yemen from a devastating famine.… Seguir leyendo »
After more than three years of fighting, Yemen is teetering on the cusp of an even fiercer war. The Saudi Arabian-led coalition is poised for an offensive on the Red Sea port of Hodeidah that could plunge Yemen into greater turmoil, deepen its humanitarian crisis, and provoke a surge in cross-border missile attacks by the Houthi rebels.
The European Union and its member states have a chance to stop the conflict from sliding into a lethal new stage; now is the time to take action. All sides have declared a readiness to engage in talks (with various conditions), but they need to be nudged towards the table before a full-fledged battle for Hodeidah breaks out.… Seguir leyendo »
From Syria to Yemen, from South Sudan to Venezuela, war and political crisis are causing human anguish on a scale unseen in a generation.
That conflict and crisis take a high human toll is hardly new, of course. Yet the scope of suffering today is striking. The number of people displaced globally by conflict and persecution stood at 65.6 million at the end of 2016, the greatest number since World War II. Figures released earlier this month show that there were 11.8 million new internal displacements in 2017, nearly double the 6.9 million in 2016. The number of people facing acute hunger globally due largely to conflict and instability reached almost 74 million across eighteen countries in 2017.… Seguir leyendo »
One of the world’s worst humanitarian crises is unfolding in West Africa’s Lake Chad region, where 11 million people are in urgent need of emergency aid.
Nigeria, its neighbours, and the world are struggling to find an adequate response. Failure to do so will condemn millions to more suffering, and raise the region’s vulnerability to violent extremism.
Donors meeting at the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad region on Friday must seize the opportunity to act more effectively.
Up to 100,000 people may have died in the seven-year Boko Haram insurgency, according to Governor Kassim Shettima of Borno State in Nigeria’s northeast, the epicentre of the fighting.… Seguir leyendo »
Two months after Saudi Arabian airstrikes killed more than 140 people at a funeral in Yemen — the latest in a long string of attacks on civilian targets that have led to accusations of war crimes in the tiny Gulf nation — the Obama administration has decided to curtail American support for Riyadh’s bloody intervention in the Yemeni civil war.
“We continue to have concerns about the conflict in Yemen and how it has been waged, most especially the air campaign,” an unnamed administration official told ABC News. “Consequently, we have decided to not move forward with final approval on some sales of munitions.… Seguir leyendo »
How do you monitor a skeleton of a city bereft of its citizens, who have been bused out after seeing their homes bombed to pieces by barrel bombs from the Syrian regime and bunker busters from their Russian supporters?
And what will be left to watch when — and if — the monitors ever arrive?
In the best-case scenario, the United Nations observers in Aleppo may find out.
In a rather realistic one, the world will never know.
At long last, the United Nations Security Council has been able to agree on something.
That something is the monitoring of the evacuation of the children and parents, men and women left alive in Aleppo, after the siege of their city — starved on the ground, bombed from the sky and sealed in without any refuge or non-lethal path to escape — grew inhuman enough to prick the world’s conscience and puncture its longstanding indifference to Syria’s carnage.… Seguir leyendo »
Over the last five years, Syria has been descending into a hell on Earth. Over the last four months, the lowest depths of the inferno have been on display in Aleppo, an ancient city, once among the most diverse and dynamic in the Middle East. On Friday, in the final press conference of his presidency, Barack Obama addressed this still-unfolding humanitarian and strategic catastrophe.
“So with respect to Syria,” he said, “what I have consistently done is taken the best course that I can to try to end the civil war while having also to take into account the long-term national security interests of the United States.”… Seguir leyendo »
“Responsibility for this brutality lies in one place alone, with the Assad regime and its allies, Russia and Iran,” President Obama said last week of the barbarity in Aleppo, Syria, “and this blood and these atrocities are on their hands.”
My journalism students and I here in Dubai follow the news together closely to talk about stories and how they’re reported. We followed this one with some disappointment, however, because the president would not acknowledge the consequences of his own lack of action in Syria. And when his U.N. envoy, Samantha Power, talked about shame, my class could only wonder whether she had looked in the mirror recently.… Seguir leyendo »
The world is at last, reluctantly, looking at the horrors unfolding in Aleppo. The dictatorship of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, with the support of Iran, Russia, Hezbollah and other Iran-organized Shiite militias, has all but pulverized parts of the city, deliberately attacking hospitals and homes and targeting non-combatants and civilians.
They are carrying out a new form of ethnic cleansing, with Shiites expelling Sunnis and making it impossible for them to return to their destroyed homes.
This is hardly unexpected. It’s been unfolding gradually, for all to watch. The immediate culprits are the direct perpetrators, let that be clear. But this episode marks a supreme failure of our 21st century society, our leaders, our institutions and the people who claim to care about more than their own well-being.… Seguir leyendo »
Seventeen years ago, Kofi Annan stood before the United Nations and apologized.
The then-secretary-general acknowledged that the UN had failed the people of Rwanda during the 100-day genocide in which almost a million people were killed, and pledged to ensure that the UN would «never again» fail to protect a civilian population from genocide or mass slaughter.
In Aleppo today, Annan’s promise is inaudible beneath the roar of bombs and the whimpers of children trapped under rubble, their faces caked with blood and dust.
After years of images from this atrocious war being screened around the world, they are faces we know well.… Seguir leyendo »
Some 70 months ago, unarmed, ordinary Syrians rose peacefully against a regime whose incompetence and corruption they had come grudgingly to accept. It was their rulers’ detention and beating of children that provided the tipping point. The same regime seeks now to capitalize on a bloody victory in Aleppo, where children again have been targeted. But the actual and prospective costs associated with the deliberate slaughter of civilians in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria are steep, and everyone connected with this abomination will pay, especially those who have stood by and watched.
For Syrians hoping for a future free of the Assad family and entourage, the price of Aleppo is bitter.… Seguir leyendo »
To complete the infamies of 2016, now comes Bashar al-Assad’s impending victory in Aleppo – today’s Guernica, even if there is no Picasso to depict it. Events in Syria define the arrival of a new barbarism. Even in the most terrible days of 20th-century conflict, combatants would respect minimum rules. Civilians were not surrogates for the enemy. Organisations such as the Red Cross – independently and impartially alleviating suffering on either side on the basis of no other value than human need – were allowed to do their work.
No more. Aleppo completes a new, dark contemporary arc that trashes respect for humanitarian principles that once seemed inviolable.… Seguir leyendo »