Caracas, June 16th 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recognized Venezuela as one of 18 countries that had achieved exceptional progress toward reducing the prevalence of malnutrition at its headquarters in Rome earlier today.
Measuring progress from 1990-1992 and from 2010-2012, the FAO determined that 20 countries had cut the proportion of hungry people by half, satisfying the first of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDG) originally set for 2015, while another 18 countries had reached both the MDG and the more demanding World Food Summit Goal of halving the absolute number of undernourished people.
“These countries are leading the way to a better future. They are proof that with strong political will, coordination and cooperation, it is possible to achieve rapid and lasting reductions in hunger,” FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said in a statement.
Among the 18 countries commended for achieving both goals were Cuba, Guyana, Kuwait, Nicaragua, and Perú, in addition to Venezuela.
After receiving a certificate of recognition, President Nicolás Maduro addressed the assembly to ask for FAO support in establishing a system for monitoring the supply and consumption of food in Venezuela and among the regional alliances of Petrocaribe and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA).
The ALBA, launched in 2004, brings together Latin American and Caribbean countries in pursuit of social, political, and economic integration, while Petrocaribe, founded a year later, allows Caribbean countries to purchase Venezuelan oil at preferential prices as part of an effort to foster economic cooperation. Both were the initiatives of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Maduro also requested the organization’s assistance in the implementation of a system of distribution allowing for the continuous supply of food to Venezuelans. The country, which faces shortages in some basic food items, imported 77 thousand tons of food this past week from countries in South and Central America.
“Venezuela currently suffers from an economic attack and an economic war against its food supply [from the opposition], and yet we have still maintained the appropriate calorie levels and the access to food for the population,” Maduro said.
However, the national coordinator of the opposition party Primero Justicia, or Justice First, Julio Borges claimed that Venezuela’s FAO recognition had been “bought” through the former Brazilian President Lula Da Silva, who he claimed had connections within the UN organization.
Widely popular among Latin Americans, Silva was cited by opposition leader Henrique Capriles as a source of inspiration during his unsuccessful 2012 presidential campaign against Hugo Chavez.
Maduro’s visit to the FAO marks the start of a tour through several European countries, which includes a meeting tomorrow with the newly elected Pope, Francis I.