According to the NY Times:

President Nicolás Maduro has acknowledged that people are hungry in Venezuela, but he has refused to accept international aid, often saying that Venezuela’s economic problems are caused by foreign adversaries like the United States, which he says is waging an economic war against his country.

If it is true that the population is starving: what reason would Maduro have to refuse aid?


If President Maduro publicly accepts international aid, what does that say about him and his administration?

  • It broadcasts a clear signal of weakness and distress.
  • It says that he has failed to properly manage his country and care for his people.
  • It suggests that his "socialist" philosophy and policies are a failure.
  • It suggests that his autocratic form of government is a failure.
  • It gives the opposition a powerful argument for his removal from office.

So, why on earth would he request or accept assistance?

Based on the fact that Venezuela is a country very rich in natural resources, yet there is mass starvation and other forms of suffering across the country, it appears that Maduro's primary objective is simply to stay in office.

Hence, asking for or accepting any form of assistance is a risky proposition. From his perspective, it may be tantamount to admitting failure and defeat.

From another perspective, requesting assistance would make him a responsible and compassionate leader. But if he was that type of leader, Venezuela wouldn't need international assistance in the first place.

My answer above is based solely on logical arguments in consideration of the reality on the ground.

There has been extensive media coverage of President Maduro's rejection of international aid over the years, but none of the articles that I have seen explore the reasoning. Most articles don't even mention the topic.

The reason the media doesn't cover this topic seems to be clear: They can't. The Maduro government hasn't provided any reasons. So one can only speculate.

Here's an excerpt from an article that delved into this subject a bit:

The socialist government has not explained why it has rejected these [international aid] initiatives. But opposition leaders say the president is trying to hide the country’s stark state of affairs. “They don’t want to admit that there is a health crisis in this country,” said Juan Andres Mejia, an opposition congressman who supported the latest health crisis bill.

source: https://splinternews.com/venezuela-blocks-humanitarian-aid-as-crisis-gets-crazie-1793857192


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    Another point is that most of the aid would come from those very same "foreign adversaries like the United States", thus making the falsity of his rhetoric even more obvious. – jamesqf Jan 29 '18 at 19:09
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    While I think this is a good faith attempt to answer the question, there's so little information about the reasoning of Nicolás Maduro and the venezuelan government (and about the extent of the hunger in Venezuela, or its causes) that this is more of a rant against Maduro than a factual answer - which I don't think anyone can provide at this moment. – Rekesoft Jan 30 '18 at 14:06
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    @Rekesoft, thanks. I definitely came at this question in good faith, but it wasn't meant to be a rant against Maduro. I have no passion or other emotions either for or against him. He's just another loser, that's become a dictator, that runs a cruel and oppressive government. History is filled with these types. Soon he'll be gone and will join the ranks of Castro, Ceausescu, Kim Jong-Il, etc. So, not a rant, just an attempt to provide the most complete answer possible at the moment. – Michael_B Feb 1 '18 at 15:10
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    Good answer. The "odd" perspective here is then that accepting aid is seen as a sign of weakness, while starvation and hunger being reality isn't. – Steeven Feb 2 '18 at 10:40
  • DISCLAIMER: it's just a suposion anyone on Maduro's side can make since they are a lot suspicious of some foreign interests.There's the other side of the coin. How much a supposed aid will really aid? If it's solely a action to hit the news you can provide just minimal resources and explore it on the media while giving not real impact in the population situation. So why bother? – jean Apr 12 '18 at 18:57

Foreign aid, when all goes well, is a good thing. The usual metaphor is of neighbors helping neighbors get through a bad patch. International friendship, brotherhood of man, improving all of civilization...

That said, foreign aid does not invariably go well:

  1. it might be incompetent:

    • workers might be sent who are so poorly organized they make things worse, working at cross purposes to natives, or taking command, but so poorly that little is accomplished.

    • large sums squandered exporting domestic methods that can't possibly succeed in a different environment.

    • monies might be mismanaged by donor groups, who pass on only a small percentage to do the job at hand.

    • workers might spread disease, pollution, or import quarantined objects or creatures.

  2. It might be reckless and expedient:

    • Imports which help in the short term, but inadvertently bankrupt native business by indirect and unintentional competition.

    • Farming methods that do not scale.

    • Useful machines that cannot be maintained without an infrastructure that won't exist for generations.

    • dangerous pesticides, parasites, invasive species...

  3. It might be insufferable:

    • Prideful missionaries distributing goods and inferential insults.

    • Well meaning volunteer youths, who can't speak the language, believe anything, and ooze pity.

    • A toxic bureaucracy or two.

  4. It might attract and import criminal elements:

    • Rogue volunteers, abusing the local comforts and customs, seducing and abandoning women and children.

    • Carpetbaggers who buy up the damaged local economy from temporarily distressed sellers, export the valuables and never reinvest locally.

    • Dealers who import/export contraband goods, who do reinvest locally, in bribes and unhappy products.

  5. It might be corrupted by native criminals:

    • Resources might be diverted into a black market economy, or even exported.

There are schools of thought that argue foreign aid can be, and is, harmful in a more general sense:

  1. Aid is sometimes used as a kind of economic cold war weapon. That is a small nation between warring empires, will be aided, abused, and advertised to whatever degree suits those empires' conflicting strategies.

  2. Some argue that even sincere aid has been based on an impractical model, which prolongs those very conditions it's intended to assist.

Since Venezuela already regards itself as being abused by such efforts, and holds the US as a direct cause of its food shortage, it therefore would look upon such aid as a further hazard, and disdains it for the same reasons children are taught to refuse candy from strangers in vans.

  • This seems like a good answer, but it would benefit from a few real-world examples. It would also be useful to make some connections to the current situation in Venezuela. – Philipp Feb 3 '18 at 11:10
  • I up voted your answer, which is, in part, very similar to mine. "Foreign aid . . . is, sometimes used as a kind of economic cold war weapon." This is actually very elemental for anyone who really understands politics. The U.S. and its allies have used a wide range of strategies for destabilizing countries for generations, ranging from war to bogus foreign aid. Keep in mind that the IMF and World Bank like to promote themselves as friends of impoverished countries, while Monsanto and Bill Gates tout GMO as a well-meaning strategy to feed the hungry...who might not be so hungry. – David Blomstrom Feb 4 '18 at 19:40

It's called Trojan Horse Syndrome. If you accept foreign aid from the United States or nations allied with it, you'd better take a close look at it.

To put it in perspective, think of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund which cruelly exploit poor countries while pretending to help them. (Peru's embattled president worked for both.)

My answer above is based solely on logical arguments in consideration of reality - a reality that's become a pattern over more than a century. Think about the Monroe Doctrine, the U.S. embargo on Cuba (where the U.S. is still torturing prisoners at Guantanamo), along with the countless invasions, coups and destabilizations the U.S. has engineered in Latin American countries.

In other words, it's common sense.


Philip wrote,

In order to make this a proper answer to this question, please explain which clauses of the proposed foreign aid to Venezuela are "Trojan horses" and why. Preferably with sources.

Sources? Like asking the White House to reveal all their secret dealings?

As it is currently written, this answer is just an unjustified allegation based on past foreign policy of the US which wasn't even related to foreign aid.

PAST foreign policy? It's ONGOING foreign policy, and saying it wasn't and isn't related to foreign aid is absurd. If you're really that ignorant about U.S. foreign policy, you should ask Vladimir Putin for some advice.

Putin Bans Undesirable Human Rights Groups and NGOs

Or do some research on Pablo Kuczynski, who worked for the World Bank and International Monetary Fund before becoming president of Peru, where he showed his true colors.

(P.S. "Some research" means moving beyond the Wikipedia link I posted. You might want to check out this article, for example.)

You could also do some research on the missionaries and religious groups that work in countries around the world. No warts there, huh?

In a similar vein, one might ask if Bill Gates is really helping African farmers by giving them free chickens, or is he actually making money from those "free chickens"? Surely, it has nothing to do with the genetically modified food plantations Monsanto is seeding in Africa, with Bill Gates' help. And we wouldn't want to speculate why Gates doesn't help cocoa farmers build their own chocolate refineries so African countries can actually make a respectable profit, rather than just ship tons of cheap chocolate to European refineries.

Closer to home, perhaps you could explain why the Sierra Club supports corrupt politicians in "progressive" Seattle.

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    –1. When you want to criticize another answer, write a comment and possibly downvote it. – chirlu Jan 30 '18 at 6:47
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    This is an interesting response: it needs references to explain the terminology (Google was not helpful here). If humanitarian aid is counter to Venezuela's interest, a detailed explanation is needed to understand the situation – gatorback Jan 30 '18 at 17:14
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    In order to make this a proper answer to this question, please explain which clauses of the proposed foreign aid to Venezuela are "Trojan horses" and why. Preferably with sources. As it is currently written, this answer is just an unjustified allegation based on past foreign policy of the US which wasn't even related to foreign aid. – Philipp Feb 1 '18 at 14:56
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    Downvoted because it seems to be rather biased personal opinion, not noticably related to fact. E.g. the link re Pablo Kuczynski doesn't show anything particularly bad (IMHO). Missionaries & religious groups are as much a problem in the US as elsewhere (and most of the world has plenty of home-grown ones). The opinions re GMOs have little, if any, basis in fact. Don't know about Bill Gates' chickens, but what does he want with more money? And the Sierra Club might be supporting those "corrupt" (evidence needed there!) politicians because they support environmental issues... – jamesqf Feb 2 '18 at 4:15
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    The more you add to this answer, the further you move it away from the actual topic at hand. The question is about Venezuela and the consequences of them accepting foreign aid. – Philipp Feb 2 '18 at 9:57

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