The disparity of Venezuela’s inflation rate and food shortages have reached a new low: while the president of Venezuela’s Congress, Diosdado Cabello, made a trip to Brazil and dined with the owner of world’s largest meat-packer, two videos surfaced online which show Venezuelan inmates eating cats because the country’s prisons have such a low supply of food.
That’s right — Venezuelan inmates have been eating house cats. It sounds almost too morbid to believe, but the human rights advocacy group, A Window to Freedom, recently posted two videos on their Facebook page to prove that these allegations aren’t false.
According to the PanAm Post, the inmates in the videos are at the Metropolitan Penitentiary Yare 3, 10 km away from Caracas in the state of Miranda. The short video clips, one of which is 10 seconds long and the other just three seconds long, depict “how the inmates rip open a cat.”
These videos only scratch the surface of what Venezuelan prisoners are dealing with, but the videos vividly describe how dire the food shortages have become in the last couple of months.
On August 26, the Wall Street Journal reported that 30% of Venezuelans have been eating two or fewer meals per day in the second quarter of the year, compared to 20% in the first quarter. At least 70% of Venezuelans have stopped buying basic items, either because the items are too expensive or because they aren’t even on store shelves at all.
With this background, it’s easy to see why so many people were infuriated when Congressman Cabello stated that he was traveling to Brazil “to win the ‘economic war’ capitalists are waging against his country,” as Bloomberg Businessreported. However, a new story began to emerge after details of his trip involved three days of visiting JBS SA meat production plants and dining with the uber-wealthy Batista family, which owns JBS.
JBS reportedly has a $2.1 billion contract with Venezuelan authorities, which specifies that the company will provide almost 50% of the red meat consumed by Venezuelans and 25% of the chicken consumed. While most foreign companies have refused to do business with Venezuela thanks to its skyrocketing inflation, JBS knew that Venezuelans would be willing to pay nearly any price just to have some meat.
After President Maduro’s socialist land distribution reforms drove cattle ranchers out of business, it became nearly impossible for private ranchers to make a living. Venezuela began importing more meat, and one year ago, it was the second-biggest cattle importer in the world (which benefited countries like the U.S., where the cattle population is around 89.9 million head).
It hasn’t been easy for Venezuelans to adjust their diets so dramatically, now that meat is so difficult to find and so expensive when it is available.
For the lucky men like Cabello, a good, solid meal is just a short trip away in Brazil. Normal citizens are worried, however, that their pets will be increasingly targeted as meals.