Venezuela dictator Nicolás Maduro’s government agents have raided the offices of a children’s food charity and frozen its bank accounts, The New York Times reported.
“The effect of this will be brutal,” Venezuelan nutritionist and aid activist Susana Raffalli told the Times. “Every social worker will now have fear to continue working.”
Feed the Solidarity has been alleged by the oppressive regime of channeling foreign donations in a political subversion campaign, but the charity rejects the claims and says children that rely on its food are going to be left starving.
Maduro has been attacking his political opponents and targeting organizations he deems politically subverting his regime, according to the report.
Founder Roberto Patiño’s charity runs soup kitchens that serve 25,000 children. For many of these children, this is their only meal in a day, with some even eating only part of the meal to bring it home to their families, sources told the Times.
Patiño told the Times his charity will have to halt service because of the bank account being frozen by private bank Banesco after a raid by regulators and secret police.
“We receive people from all political tendencies, there are no politics in our canteens,” Patiño, 32, told the Times in a phone interview from an undisclosed location. “What hurts me the most now is that all these children will not have their meals next week.”
Police reportedly raided Patiño’s residence and have a warrant for his arrest.
The harassment of a charity was rebuked as “a despicable act” on the Twitter account of the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela.
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