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Venezuelans face hunger and poverty on the eve of the presidential election

As Venezuela’s presidential elections approach, the country’s persistent economic crisis continues to hit impoverished communities in the western part of the country, where families face hunger and poverty on a daily basis.

In Maracaibo, capital of Venezuela’s largest oil-producing state of Zulia, Anais Diaz aspires to a better life for her nine children but faces financial obstacles.

Of Diaz’s nine children, her six-month-old twins have been diagnosed with malnutrition, while her two-year-old is underweight.

On the shores of Lake Maracaibo, the largest lake in Latin America, in a neighborhood of stilt houses, Anabel Camejo’s family depends on what her husband catches to feed their six children.

Camejo, 22, said two of her children are in a nutritional recovery program because they are underweight.

Both Diaz and Camejo rely on local foundations that provide meals and medical assistance to the region’s most vulnerable families.

Venezuela votes for its next president on July 28 – and the hardships many people face will be at the forefront of people’s minds. Despite a recent economic recovery that has been widely praised by the Maduro government, many families are going hungry and relying on food aid to feed themselves.

Over the past decade, Venezuela’s gross domestic product has shrunk by about 73%. Although Maduro relaxed currency controls and other regulations to boost the economy in 2019, Venezuela suffers the second-highest level of hunger in South America, after Bolivia, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Some 5.1 million people out of an estimated 30 million do not have enough to eat, the UN says.

Source: CNN Brasil

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