Crisis humanitaria

Caracas, febrero de 2019. Credit Meridith Kohut para The New York Times

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 »

A Yemeni man walks carrying food aid provided by a local charity to families affected by the ongoing conflict, in the capital Sanaa on 14 February 2019. MOHAMMED HUWAIS / AFP

This is the sixth weekly briefing note in Crisis Group’s Yemen campaign. 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.…  Seguir leyendo »

People in Caracas walk by graffiti that says, in Spanish: “Together we can take down hunger.” Credit Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

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 »

Una venezolana aguarda frente a una oficina de migración de Colombia el 20 de agosto de 2018. Credit Luis Robayo/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Las imágenes se multiplican con aterradora velocidad. Cada día hay un reportaje nuevo, con distintos y difíciles testimonios. La tragedia ha dejado de ser solo venezolana. A cada momento, con cada paso, sus límites se extienden. ¿Cuántos kilómetros hay que caminar para llegar desde Venezuela a Colombia, a Ecuador o a Perú? ¿Cuánta desesperación hay que tener para emprender un viaje de ese tipo?

Según la Agencia de la ONU para los Refugiados (ACNUR), el actual éxodo venezolano es uno de los movimientos masivos de población más grandes en la historia de América Latina. ¿A dónde fue el famoso Plan de La Patria, ideado por Hugo Chávez, que anunciaba que en 2019 Venezuela debía ser una gran potencia económica?…  Seguir leyendo »

A Venezuelan and his son waiting at a border control office in Pacaraima, Brazil, last month to apply for refugee status.CreditCreditNacho Doce/Reuters

Images showing masses of people fleeing Venezuela by foot seem to increase by the minute. Every day, we hear new heart-wrenching accounts about refugees. Venezuela’s crisis has become a regional problem that grows by the day.

How long is the journey by foot from Venezuela to Colombia, Ecuador or Peru? How desperate must a person be to embark on such a journey?

The flow of people out of Venezuela is one of the largest mass migrations in the history of Latin America, with more than 1.6 million people having fled the country since 2015. What has become of the Program for the Homeland, a national development plan proposed in 2012 by President Hugo Chávez whose aim was to transform Venezuela into an economic powerhouse by 2019?…  Seguir leyendo »

Venezolanos cruzan la frontera entre su país y Colombia, separados por el puente Simón Bolívar sobre el río Táchira. Credit George Castellanos/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Una mañana reciente de agosto, en un comedor comunitario administrado por una iglesia de Cúcuta, Colombia, Carolina, una refugiada venezolana, describió su apremiante situación. Su tono de voz dejaba ver su conmoción y agotamiento.

En Venezuela, dijo: “Tenía un buen trabajo como archivista y mi esposo tenía terrenos”. “Nunca nos imaginamos que podríamos terminar así”. Sentada, con ropa desgastada y la mirada perdida en la distancia, sostenía un pan y una pequeña taza de café con leche.

Nicolás Maduro, el presidente venezolano, ha puesto a su país en una posición preocupante. Este verano, la crisis política y social alcanzó nuevas dimensiones.…  Seguir leyendo »

A building in Yemen, with protest graffiti painted by the artist Thiyazen Al-Aalawi, that was destroyed allegedly by a Saudi-led airstrike.CreditCreditYahya Arhab/Epa-Efe, via Rex and Shutterstock.

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 »

Pro-government fighters in Yemen carrying explosives thought to have been dropped by Houthi rebels, around Al Hudaydah, this month.CreditNabil Hassan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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 »

Yemeni women and children wait during food distribution in the province of Hodeida on May 30, 2018. Hodeida port, Yemen's largest entry point for aid, is now in the crosshairs of the Saudi-led coalition which is intent on cutting off the Huthi rebels from alleged Iranian arms shipments. The United Nations has warned that any operation aimed at seizing Hodeida itself would disrupt the entry of aid shipments to Yemen, 70 percent of which flow through the rebel-held port. / AFP PHOTO / ABDO HYDER

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 »

People walk with their belongings as they flee the rebel-held town of Hammouriyeh, in the village of Beit Sawa, eastern Ghouta, Syria 15 March, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki

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.”

An estimated 500,000 dead, 11 million displaced, millions more living in fear, sorrow and pitiful poverty, Iranian forces backed by Russian forces occupying the heart of the Arab world — yet no-drama Mr.…  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 »

Today, more than 250,000 Syrians remain trapped in besieged eastern Aleppo with limited access to food, clean water and medical supplies. Living under constant aerial bombardment, residents in the eastern part of the city have nowhere to go. Eastern Aleppo is expected to run out of food and medical supplies in 20 days or less, after which we risk losing more than a quarter-million people to mass starvation and restricted access to lifesaving medical care.

Of the quarter of a million people stuck in Aleppo, 100,000 are children. These children cannot eat or sleep without incapacitating fear. Every day, they experience unparalleled levels of trauma and anxiety, making them an especially vulnerable group with only 29 doctors remaining to care for them and their families.…  Seguir leyendo »