Missionary maddened at TD’s denial of hunger in Venezuela

Missionary maddened at TD’s denial of hunger in Venezuela Clare Daly TD

An Irish TD’s downplaying of the humanitarian crisis and severe food shortage in Venezuela is “absolutely” false according to an Irish missionary.

Fr Tom Jordan MSC, who has spent over half a century ministering in the beleaguered nation, said the situation is deteriorating. Already over three million people have left Venezuela according to the UN, in what has been described as the worst crisis the country has faced.

“It’s got worse, more people are getting out of it – those who can – and the electricity situation makes it worse. If your refrigerator goes in a climate like that you have no food, it’s wasted,” said Fr Jordan.

“Then the escalation of prices to high heaven, and the income is virtually useless to buy food because the income hasn’t increased worth a damn.” He added there’s little maintenance of the electricity supply leading to many outages which sometimes take over four hours to fix.

According to the Sunday Times Clare Daly TD said in a YouTube video that “even in these difficult days the poorest people get a box of basic food essentials every month”.

She said although citizens have to register to receive the package there are no political strings attached, which Fr Jordan disputed.

“He [Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] gives out a little food maybe once a month and only to the ones who recognise him as the boss,” he said. “…For somebody like that to come back to Ireland and say there’s no shortage in Venezuela, it’s very irritating.”


Ms Daly said in the Dáil that the election process in Venezuela is legitimate and the instability is mainly caused by US sanctions.

However, Fr Jordan told this paper the elections are consistently “rigged” allowing President Maduro to retain power. Currently the Venezuelan government haven’t published statistics on poverty and hunger for almost four years.

International humanitarian aid to Venezuela increased in 2018, after a shift in the government’s discourse from entirely denying the humanitarian crisis to recognising an economic one.

In an assessment made by Human Rights Watch they “found a health system in utter collapse with increased levels of maternal and infant mortality; the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles and diphtheria; and increases in numbers of infectious diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis (TB)”.

Venezuelan organisations and universities document high levels of food insecurity and child malnutrition, and available data shows high hospital admissions of malnourished children. A Living Conditions Survey, Encovi, found that the average weight lost by Venezuelans in 2017 was 11kg.

Fr Jordan returned to Ireland a few months ago due to health issues. He ministered in Maracaibo and Caracas.