Venezuela is now in the throes of a major Health Crisis. The beleaguered country is seeking help from the United Nations to alleviate a drug shortage that is putting vital medications out of reach. The president of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro has made overtures to UNDP, the UN's development program in an effort to regularize things in hospitals so prices will be affordable. The agony in Venezuela is not separate from conditions and possible conditions elsewhere in the world. Indeed, merely outlining the problem as it has emerged illuminates the essential role of help as a global watchword.

The US is involved in two ways

The US has been consistently opposed to the current regime in Venezuela. This stance follows the binary logic of past US involvements, opposing one form of oppression with another. President trump has given no indication that this is under review. More subtle but equally dangerous is the possibility that cuts in the Trump budget could jeopardize the US and its neighbors to the south by withdrawing support from efforts to stop the spread of infectious airborne disease. Security in an interconnected world is a matter of reducing harm across all borders.

Help is not charity

When a country is beset with as many challenges as Venezuela, it is not helpful to turn it into a whipping boy.

The country needs enablement to reach a state where stability and progress are not at odds. This is a challenge that confronts all nations., but with the cost of goods prey to triple-digit inflation, life-saving drugs are out of reach for most Venezuelans.

Maduro problem

Venezuela's problems are such that they cannot be addressed without considering the record of President Maduro.

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Under his questionable leadership, a country that was already in trouble has become a failed state with little room to move in any positive direction. When this condition is present the best help is to move away from it and that is what many Venezuelans are doing. Thousands have fled.

Mismanagement is no help

Any objective assessment of Venezuela's difficulties would fault mismanagement.

Blaming socialism per se does not solve anything. And there is really no solution in sight. At that point, the best help is to stop and consider the least harmful option. That would be a process by which Maduro, who has displayed little talent as a leader and administrator, is replaced by a centrist government that is not wed to the ideology of either the left or the right. Unfortunately, there is enough noise on both extremes that a more measured and sane approach is unlikely. It is only in this context that it is good to have UNDP and the means to provide tangible help when all else has failed.