Venezuelans have been aware for a while now that the country’s food supplies have been low — the whole world, really, is probably aware that the country is still running only because residents have been getting supplies through the black market lines from Colombia.
Only recently has President Maduro actually admitted that the food shortages in Venezuela are a problem. A “nutritional emergency” were the words of opposition leader Julio Borges, according to Breitbart News. Venezuelan lawmakers in the National Assembly simply chose to call the situation a “food crisis.”
Maduro also stated that “now that the emergency decree is in place, I’m going to apply a set of measures in the coming days that I was already working on.”
One of his approaches seems to be going after the owner of Venezuela’s largest food company, Empresas Polar SA. Maduro accused Lorenzo Mendoza, the owner of the company, of being a “thief” and “traitor” during a televised speech. According to the Venezuelan President, Mendoza has been conspiring against the current socialist government and has been meeting with political opponents.
“I call on the people to unmask Lorenzo Mendoza in the streets. I’m waiting for you Lorenzo Mendoza,” said Maduro.
It seems to be no coincidence that Mendoza’s company produces items which are in short supply — not because the company itself is faltering, but because Venezuela’s entire economy has fallen so dramatically that no foreign interests are willing to do business with the country.
Another approach that Maduro is promoting, according to NPR, is to have Venezuelans grow their own food in urban gardens. Many Venezuelans have already begun producing their own food when possible because grocery store shelves have been empty for months.
Although Maduro is advocating for more small gardens in urban areas, his government haven’t done much to ease the burdens of traditional farmers. In fact, government prices have caused farmers to sell their products at a loss; this is merely adding fuel to the flame, considering that Venezuela has historically imported the majority of its food supplies.
Critics of Maduro’s urban garden campaign have been quick to voice their concerns. Venezuelans living in cities likely don’t possess the skills to tend gardens, and if they do, they probably don’t have the time.
One thing is certain: Maduro certainly doesn’t have to rely on an urban garden in his home for his meals. If anything, his garden is probably filled with red roses: the symbols, when held in hand, for socialism.