Venezuela has been in turmoil for over a year. The economy has hit a major low point and for months the country was crippled by ongoing protests and violence. During that time, the availability of food has run scarce, leading to food shortages and a severe hunger crisis. Last year, Venezuelans on average lost 19 pounds because there is no food available in the country. When food does become available, it is severely overpriced as the country deals with extreme inflation and lines stretch for hours for the chance to buy it. There have even been opposition leaders taken from their homes in the middle of the night to quiet any dissenting voices. Yet, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has not lost weight and recently ate an empanada during a live television address, sparking outrage on social media.
Here is the video that has angered many and garnered the president massive criticism.
Venezuela's president, already mocked for gaining weight amid a hunger crisis, pulls out an empanada from his desk during a live TV address. pic.twitter.com/sPw63dbt83
— Hannah Dreier (@hannahdreier) November 3, 2017
According to a study earlier this year, more than 80 percent of Venezuelan households live in poverty and food is extremely scarce. That’s why a video of President Maduro casually eating an empanada during a live television address has caused a backlash.
Some people think he may blame the video on a conspiracy set up by the CIA.
Ahora sólo hay que esperar que Maduro diga que fue la CIA manipulando el vídeo.
— Naru/Quikbeam (@Asukuuru) November 3, 2017
“Now we just have to wait for Maduro to say the CIA manipulated the video,” wrote one Twitter user.
Maduro has blamed several U.S. government officials and agencies for trying to topple his government. Claiming that the CIA doctored a video of him eating an empanada would obviously be a stretch. However, the South American president has shown such a lack of restraint in the past that people don’t know what to expect.
A couple people used the video to joke about his similarities to the U.S. president.
trump has a red button on his desk to get a coke and this guy has fucking empanadas in his desk drawerhttps://t.co/L6QgKyVE7p
— darth:™ (@darth) November 3, 2017
Granted, President Trump hasn’t taken away basic liberties and freedoms from the American people. But he’s sure trying.
And many are comparing this moment to the infamous and fictitious Maria Antoinette quote.
"Let them eat empanadas"
— MrGenier 🇨🇦 (@MrGenier) November 3, 2017
If you don’t know, “Let them eat cake” is a famous quote that was allegedly said by Maria Antoinette during the French Revolution. It has been debunked that the phrase came from her, yet it is still widely used to this day to characterize the elite and powerful taking advantage of the down trodden.
Even so, most people cannot believe how shameless Maduro is with this latest moment.
— Bárbara (@B4r34r4) November 3, 2017
The Venezuelan people are still suffering and things are getting worse. Maduro has successfully installed a assembly that will be tasked to rewrite the constitution. There is still a severe lack of food and the ruling party is gaining more and more power. This act is the latest in a long running narrative of the Venezuelan government disregarding the needs of their people.