If socialist Bernie Sanders ran a media outlet, we might see the above headline on a story about how starving Venezuelans have been eating tasty roadkill, vermin, and municipal waste in order to survive.
Don’t laugh. Remember that Sanders said breadlines are a good thing.
“You know, it’s funny. Sometimes American journalists talk about how bad a country is when people are lining up for food. That’s a good thing. In other countries, people don’t line up for food. The rich get the food and the poor starve to death,” Sanders said years ago.
Venezuela, by the way, has an estimated annual inflation rate of 700 percent, and Venezuelans are being sent to forced labor camps.
As 15 percent of Venezuelans admit they can only survive nowadays by eating “food waste discarded by commercial establishments,” it is clear that Venezuela is on the verge of famine. Almost half of respondents in a study in South America’s largest food desert say they have had to take time off work to scavenge for food.
The study — conducted by More Consulting and published in the Spanish-language Diario de las Américas — reflects a reality that has become the signature of President Nicolás Maduro’s tenure: a food and medicine shortage that forces most in the nation to wait in supermarket lines that can last up to eight hours. On many occasions, after the wait, they find that there is nothing left to buy.
The More Consulting study found that three out of every four Venezuelans (72 percent) was unable to feed themselves an optimal diet of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 24.2 percent say they rarely eat protein, living off of local tubers like yuca and malanga and some fruit. More than half of Venezuelans (52.3 percent) buy their foods through the black market, from private individuals who have stocked a surplus of an item they need.
53.9 percent of Venezuelan respondents said they had gone to bed hungry, 48 percent say they have been forced to take time off work to scrounge for food.
The numbers align with previous surveys taken earlier this year, following the declaration of a “nutritional emergency” by the Venezuelan National Assembly in February. In June, The New York Times cited a poll by Simón Bolívar University finding that nearly 90 percent of Venezuelans did not have the money necessary to buy food for three full meals a day. The Times estimated then that an average of 50 violent incidents involving supermarkets, food cargo trucks, or other food sources had occurred within a two-week span of time.
President Maduro created a socialist rationing system in April 2014. Police and soldiers are going after people who hoard food or try to purchase more than their fair share.
Venezuelans are using a new euphemism for starvation. They call it “Maduro’s diet.”