A million children left behind as Venezuela crisis tears families apart

As the country battles economic collapse, parents have been forced to migrate, leaving their offspring in the care of family, neighbours or sometimes alone

It has been four months since Isabel Carrasco skipped her crumbling country, entrusting her daughters to a neighbour to join modern South America’s largest ever exodus.

Carrasco’s destination was Guyana, although the woman now raising her children isn’t sure which part.

It’s survival. It’s necessity. It’s this president of ours.

Related: Venezuela’s gold fever fuels gangs and insecurity: ‘There will be anarchy’

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Venezuela: a year on from the failed uprising

Tom Phillips, the Guardian’s Latin America correspondent, is back in Venezuela a year after the start of a dramatic, but so far unsuccessful, attempt to topple Nicolás Maduro. While conditions in Caracas appear slightly improved, outside the capital conditions in schools and hospitals are appalling – and getting worse. Also today: Jess Cartner-Morley on pockets

A year ago, the crisis in Venezuela reached a new pitch as the politician Juan Guaidó led an attempt to overthrow the country’s president, Nicolás Maduro. As the bulk of Venezuela’s military remained loyal to the president, the attempt failed and Maduro maintained his grip on power. In the months since, he has boasted that Venezuela has enjoyed “the highest levels of nutrients and access to food”. But outside of the capital Caracas, the story is very different.

The Guardian’s Tom Phillips tells Anushka Asthana of his journey through the crisis-hit country and how the worst effects are being felt by children. Hospitals are falling into disrepair, schools are being repeatedly looted and some parents have fled the country, leaving their children behind.

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‘All we have are walls’: crisis leaves Venezuela’s schools crumbling

Schools across the country in dire straits as teachers abandon the profession or skip the country amid one of the worst economic downturns in modern history

There are 723 pupils at the José Eduardo Sánchez Afanador school but no electricity, no computers, no tables and no chairs.

The windows lack glass, the toilets have lost their sinks and its metal classroom doors have been plundered by thieves, allowing pigeons to colonize several of the filthy spaces.

Related: ‘A slow-motion catastrophe’: on the road in Venezuela, 20 years after Chávez’s rise

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‘It’s a pain you will never overcome’: crisis in Venezuela as babies die of malnutrition

As Venezuela enters its seventh year of a crushing depression, doctors are seeing a rise in infant mortality rates due to deprivation

Her coffin was little larger than a shoe box. Her life had lasted three short months.

“She was a calm little thing,” the girl’s grandmother, Yamilet Zerpa, remembered as mourners filed into her sitting room to say their last goodbyes.

Related: ‘A slow-motion catastrophe’: on the road in Venezuela, 20 years after Chávez’s rise

Related: Venezuela crisis takes deadly toll on buckling health system

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For the new right, Hungary is now what Venezuela once was for the left | Nick Cohen

Across the world, conservatives are taking inspiration from Orbán, embracing extremism

When the death of Roger Scruton was greeted with genuine sadness by Tory England, I did not make the nasty but accurate observation that the philosopher had betrayed whatever good was in him. It was not the time to show how he had gone from being the brave man of the 1980s, who had defied the Soviet dictatorship in eastern Europe by delivering lectures to dissidents studying in underground universities in Prague, to the degraded figure of 2019 that accepted “honours” from Viktor Orbán, who is busily turning his corner of eastern Europe into a corrupt, ethno-nationalist dictatorship.

Politeness is a curse as well as a courtesy. Scruton’s journey from opponent to courtier of tyranny has been taken across western conservatism. Respect for the friends and relatives of the dead should not stop you showing where they could take the rest of us. Nor should it stop you realising that Hungary is the Venezuela of the new right, the grim terminus of its twisted logic.

Politicians everywhere are learning that the old morality no longer applies

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US threatens Venezuela with ‘crippling’ measures after Trump-Guaidó meeting

  • US rolls out red carpet for Venezuela opposition leader
  • Trump administration to take unspecified steps within 30 days

The United States has warned it was preparing “crippling” and “impactful measures” designed to force Nicolás Maduro from power as Donald Trump rolled out the red carpet for the Venezuelan leader’s challenger, Juan Guaidó.

Guaidó, who has spent the last year battling – so far unsuccessfully – to topple Maduro, arrived at the White House on Wednesday afternoon and was met by the US president.

Related: Why Trump’s ‘maximum pressure’ foreign policy yields minimum results

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Airport meeting lands Spanish minister in Venezuela controversy

José Luis Ábalos met Venezuela vice-president, who is banned from EU, on plane in Madrid

Opposition parties in Spain are calling on the government to explain why one of its ministers met Venezuela’s vice-president in a secretive encounter onboard a private jet at Madrid airport.

It emerged on Thursday that José Luis Ábalos, the transport minister in the leftwing coalition government and a senior member of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ party, met Delcy Rodríguez in the early hours of Monday morning.

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Venezuela’s Guaidó in Davos plea for help to overturn ‘dictatorship’

Juan Guaidó says country facing refugee crisis on a par with Syria as millions flee

Venezuela’s opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, has urged the world not to turn its back on his struggling country and the millions of people who have fled across its borders to escape poverty and political turbulence.

Addressing the World Economic Forum on Thursday, Guaidó said the international community had a duty to help those suffering in Venezuela and those trying to leave.

Related: A year on, Juan Guaidó’s attempt at regime change in Venezuela has stalled | Tony Wood

Venezuela’s current plight can be traced to a revolution that went terribly wrong.

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A year on, Juan Guaidó’s attempt at regime change in Venezuela has stalled | Tony Wood

An underestimation of Chavismo’s resilience means the US-backed drive to topple Nicolás Maduro has fizzled out

A year ago, on 23 January 2019, Juan Guaidó, chairman of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled national assembly, proclaimed himself president of the country and vowed to remove Nicolás Maduro from power. Guaidó’s pretender government was swiftly recognised by the Trump administration, as well as by the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Brazil, and eventually some 50 countries in total. As street protests flared in Caracas, it seemed to many outside Venezuela that Maduro’s days in office were numbered – and with them those of Chavismo, the radical left-populist movement that first surged to power in 1998 under Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chávez. Yet, one year on, Maduro remains firmly ensconced in the presidential Miraflores Palace. And not only has the US-backed attempt at regime change failed to dislodge him, but it is now Guaidó’s position at the head of the Venezuelan opposition that is looking shaky.

The fact of US backing for Guaidó’s coup attempt was itself a major factor in rallying support for Maduro

Related: Aid workers toil amid crisis and corruption to give Venezuelans the drugs they need

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Armed rebels impose brutal rules in Venezuela-Colombia border region

Human Rights Watch report finds rape, murder and kidnappings on both sides of border, where people are unable to move freely

Guerrilla groups have supplanted state rule on both sides of the lawless border between Venezuela and Colombia, where they impose their own brutal rules on civilians, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

In Colombia’s eastern Arauca province and the neighbouring Apure state in Venezuela, civilians are unable to move freely, forced to obey a strict curfew and taxed on virtually all economic activity. HRW documented abuses including murder, kidnappings, disappearances, child recruitment and rape.

Related: Peace is war as armed groups roil Colombia’s lawless border region

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