Updated 12:17 PM EST, Sat, Nov 27, 2021

Venezuela President Announces a Humanitarian Crisis Due to Lack of Medicine, Calls for Urgent Foreign Aid 

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Things are looking bleak in Venezuela, with the president calling the lack of medicine an official humanitarian crisis.

This short supply of medicine is due in part to Venezuela's severe financial crisis, and now requires rapid international assistance for their citizens to power through.

Reuters reported that the Venezuelan Pharmaceutical Federation has already listed 150 medicines that have become scarce in the South American nation. This includes medicine for hypertension and cancer as well as basic drugs like prophylactics and antibiotics.

Association president Freddy Ceballos said, "The national government must accept we are in a humanitarian crisis in the health sector, with patients dying across our territory for lack of medicines."

He went on, "It's necessary to activate all mechanisms of international health assistance to solve this crisis as soon as possible."

However, despite the dire need for medicine, the socialist government of Venezuela has accused local groups of exaggerating the problem, saying that the shortage in the country is due to the "economic war" with their foes. Still, this does not change the fact that the long lines outside pharmacies constantly see people complaining about the lack of medicine and equipment.

The Guardian pointed out another problem, which is the issue of smuggling. This puts the country in an even worse situation. According to the outlet, Venezuelans from all walks of life are all trying to make ends meet through the black market, where there is illicit trade of food, medicine, and other such goods already supposedly subsidized by the state.

The government, led by president Nicolas Maduro, said that this illicit trade is becoming increasingly dangerous for Venezuela, as it is now worth over $2 billion a year, and is bleeding their country dry.

Still, Venezuelans see this as a means to an end. One woman said, "We're obliged to engage in contraband... Soldiers, teachers, engineers, doctors, dentists -- all types of professional come here to sell gasoline because salaries aren't worth anything."

Smuggling has become so bad that last year that Maduro closed off the Venezuelan borders to their neighbors, which did not actually help the country fare any better. A shopkeeper in Puerto Santander in Colombia said, "It's impossible to block the border. These are two countries which need each other, like husband and wife."

The Colombian health ministry did not respond to a request for comment amidst the pharmaceutical association's statement. Reuters noted that the socialist government is not too happy about the criticisms regarding its health care system, which was shot to the ground by former President Hugo Chavez due to his lavish spending in other investments.

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