Cody Weddle is a multimedia freelance journalist located in Caracas, Venezuela. Originally from rural southwest Virginia, he moved to Venezuela nearly three years ago. He previously worked as an anchor and correspondent for a Latin American international news channel and in local TV news in the United States. Weddle is a 2012 graduate of Virginia Tech, where he holds degrees in journalism and political science. Follow him on Twitter: @coweddle.
The headlines of a new coronavirus arriving in Colombia came as Sr. Johana Rivera Ramos prepared for the happiest and most consequential moment of her life to date. The 33-year-old member of the Hermanas Franciscanas de la Inmaculada (Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate), a Valencian order out of Spain, planned to take her perpetual vows.
As Venezuela's unprecedented economic crisis drags on for a fifth year, the four sisters from the Hermanitas de los Pobres de Maiquetía congregation that run the Providence Asylum nursing home face a heartbreaking dilemma: record demand, but record low resources. The most dreaded part of Sr. Emilia Rivero's day comes each morning. When she opens the door to the nursing home she runs in downtown Caracas, she almost always finds six to eight senior citizens, sometimes with their families, waiting outside, hoping she has space.
Hundreds of Venezuelan children have died amid food and medicine shortages brought about by the country's economic crisis. Two sisters and Catholic organizations like Caritas Internationalis are saving the lives of the children they can reach, but a majority remain in desperate need of help.
Venezuela's dire economic crisis has started to impact the young students of Santo Angel School outside Caracas. According to Sr. Blanca Griselis, the school's social worker, 35 students currently come to school with little to no food. She spoke with GSR about her efforts to keep students fed and in class.