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Venezuela is mad the USA tried to give food to its hungry people

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is refusing to let humanitarian aid of food and medicine into his country.

Things aren’t going super well in Venezuela right now. Two men are battling with each other to be in charge. Both claim the other is an undemocratic fraud. The first man, Nicolas Maduro, has been President since 2013 and won two elections. But only through cheating and coercion, according to his rival Juan Guaido.

Most people don't think Maduro has been a good president. Years of hyperinflation (inflation is when prices go up - or the value of money goes down) means everything in Venezuela currently costs one million percent more than it did just year. Salaries haven’t risen by anything like as much. The result is that in 2017 three-quarters of Venezuelans said they’d lost an average 8.7kg of weight because they couldn’t get enough food to eat.

Some countries, including the USA, have put together a bunch of aid (food and medicines mostly) to give for free to Venezuelan people who are struggling. But Maduro says he won’t accept it - and has shut the borders to prevent the ships carrying the aid from docking in Venezuela. Why?

Well, some people say that aid is bad for struggling economies because it makes them dependent on donors who can then pressure them to do whatever the aid-giving country wants. Maduro says that the USA (who, along with lots of other countries, is supporting Guaido) is indeed trying to manipulate and control Venezuela. He blames the States for creating all the hyperinflation/shortages through economic sanctions (which basically means forbidding Americans to buy from or sell to Venezuela), and says the aid is a ploy to persuade the Venezuelan people to turn against him.

The US does have a history of meddling in other countries’ politics. But it did not tell Maduro to print lots of money (which leads to hyperinflation), or to upend democracy by banning and jailing his political rivals, or to ignore the tens of thousands of his own citizens who are protesting because they think Maduro has done a crappy job of looking after their economy.

Read our explainer on: aid

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