Venezuelans Accuse Socialist Regime of Selling Red Cross Humanitarian Aid

People queue to receive water drums and water purification tablets from the Red Cross in Caracas, Venezuela, on April 16, 2019, after the first shipment of Red Cross humanitarian aid arrived by plane from Panama
AFP/Matias Delacroix

Venezuelans protested at the Red Cross headquarters in Caracas on Monday accusing the government of selling some of the organization’s recently arrived humanitarian aid.

The Red Cross made its first delivery of emergency aid to the country last week after the Maduro regime finally caved in to international pressure and accepted aid. The regime had previously denied the existence of any humanitarian crisis and rejected offers of food and medicine. There are already signs the socialist regime has meddled with the aid’s distribution, leading many to believe they have sold it for a profit.

“The children’s hospital was one of the hospitals visited by the Red Cross to assess the needs of each institution and it wasn’t put on the list to allow the entry of humanitarian aid,” Margoth Monasterios, President of the Doctors Union, told reporters at the protest. “What happened is they met with the Ministry of Health, who determined which hospitals and centers the aid would go to.”

The second round of humanitarian aid is expected to arrive on May 8, which includes surgical equipment they hope will be able to benefit around 650,000 Venezuelans.

“This humanitarian aid that is arriving at institutions specifically for use in operations,” contended Monasterios. “The medicines have not yet arrived, despite the fact that on the 8th May a ship is arriving with new equipment.”

Juana Gomez, whose child is suffering from cancer, also said the medicine had not arrived for her daughter’s treatment. “I just arrived at the hospital, and they said there was no medicine because it had not arrived,” she told the media. “I really need this medicine to arrive because my daughter is very sick with cancer.”

The Red Cross supplies were allowed into the country following an agreement reached between the international organization and the regime. Up until now, Maduro has repeatedly rejected and physically blocked humanitarian aid shipments funded by the U.S. and other regional contributors, meaning that they can only help those who reach checkpoints in neighboring Brazil and Colombia.

Questions surrounding if the aid will be held back or sold will likely be troubling to the charity’s leaders, who last week pleaded to political leaders to not politicize the aid they are providing. “Every time there’s an attempt to politicize this aid it prejudices the work we’re doing,” said local Red Cross President Mario Villarroel.

In Cuba, which has deployed tens of thousands of government agents to Venezuela to control and profit from the socialist regime, was recently subject to similar accusations of profiteering from humanitarian aid. According to various investigative reports, local communist officials in Havana sold food, intended as aid, to locals in the aftermath of a tornado that devastated much of the capital.

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