Report by a CAM contact in South America
Coronavirus restrictions in Venezuela increase complications. CAM had been supporting a soup kitchen in Colombia for fleeing Venezuelans. This work has now transitioned to distributing food parcels to help with the current pressing needs. These food parcels are given to the most vulnerable people of Venezuela and Colombia.
The anti-American attitude of the present regime in Venezuela makes it unadvisable for us to venture into the country. We work with Venezuelans, but we have not gone into Venezuela. CAM operates near the Venezuelan border in Colombia, and depends on Venezuelans to inform us about conditions inside their country.
Hunger is the leading concern of Venezuelans
A recent visit with a pastor from Venezuela confirmed what we had been hearing: Like other parts of the world, lockdown has done damage to the economy and has increased poverty. The pastor shared that the virus is not the main concern. He is hard pressed to name anyone who contracted the illness. The hunger of people already living on the edge is the leading distress.
The corrupt nature of the government in Venezuela multiplies the problem. The perceived threat of the coronavirus has been especially useful to the regime for suppressing protests and controlling its populace. They already had people depending on them before COVID-19. Now, the continued need for government assistance encourages loyalty to the ruling regime.
CAM provides aid and Gospel literature
CAM’s aid has no strings attached. Instead, it is accompanied by New Testaments and Gospel literature that is blessing many souls. Venezuelan churches in needy areas supplement the rice and beans we provide with perishables available locally, such as meat, eggs, fruits, and vegetables. By doing this, they can feed twice as many people than what our original gift could.
At the beginning of the lock-down, we heard of Venezuelans scavenging for herbs to make a tea that might alleviate their hunger. Now some of those same people are able to eat soup, thanks to generous supporters.
Police tell us people tend to get violent when they haven’t eaten for three days. They have been receiving many more calls per day from areas where unrest is stirring. They thank us for the parcels that help them avert public disorder.
We have been able to provide food that is the equivalent of 3,000 meals per day. We provide the food on a rotating basis each week to the neediest in each area. It is hard to estimate how many thousands have benefited from this food since coronavirus restrictions in Venezuela increased suffering.
God could wipe out poverty in a moment, and He has done so at times when men allow their difficulties to draw them to Himself. Let’s pray that suffering Venezuelans would seek God’s kingdom and righteousness during hard times, and that their material needs would be supplied.