As one of the countries most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Peru is at the forefront of discussions and media attention regarding the effectiveness of their response and community aid. Unfortunately, the lack of health infrastructure and governmental issues have made Peru ill-equipped to manage the virus. More importantly, this crisis has aggravated the weaknesses in the national food system. Combined with previous food insecurity among all residents of the country, COVID-19 and the growing influx of Venezuelans constrained the capabilities of the Peruvian government. Ultimately, existing discrimination and xenophobia towards Venezuelans led to an ineffective response from the Peruvian government, bringing hunger and food insecurity to unprecedented levels.
This paper aims to show how even though the Peruvian government claims to fulfill the human right to food, there is a lack of government assistance at the local level, leading to high levels of food insecurity. Through the case of Venezuelan migrants and refugees, Peru’s disjointed response during the pandemic comes to light and illustrates a governmental absence which, in return, has caused NGOs and international organizations to step in to implement aid. This suggests a broader underlying issue of discrimination and xenophobia against non-nationals in Peru. Through a combination of ethnographic fieldwork, literature reviews and media publications, this paper examines Peru’s application of the human right to food and its exclusivity to Peruvian citizens at the expense of migrants and refugees. This work will shed light on the underlying dynamics between NGOs, the Peruvian government, and Venezuelan migrants and refugees that are at the heart of great hunger and human suffering, and point to future research in order to make Peru compliant with the human right to food and ensure proper support for Venezuelan migrants and refugees.
Schmitt, Abigail, "The Peruvian Government’s Exacerbation of Food Insecurity among Venezuelan Migrants and Refugees during COVID-19" (2021). Anthropology Department Honors Papers. 19.
The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.