OPINION -The people in the South American country, Venezuela, are starving. But the last week of September the socialist President Nicolas Maduro announced his brand new plan. Just like a modern age Marie Antoinette, he declared let them grow rabbits.
The lack of food and medicines has been around for a while now, but as time has passed the situation has become worst. Just when Venezuelans thought they already couldn’t find food at all, another product leaves the shelves from the supermarkets. Although the situation has lead to innumerable protests, the government seemed to be ignoring its citizens until they brought up their plan. “El Plan Conejo” or the rabbit plan, proposes that people living in poor areas raise rabbits in order to eat them. They received cages with baby rabbits that would eat, fatten up and then be slaughtered to provide starving people proteins.
15 communities received the promising animals that would soon take them out of their misery or at least that’s what Maduro promised. In a statement, he assured that “they will breed as rabbits” while acting completely oblivious to shortages in primary food sources like bread, milk and even sugar, a former export of the country. Many of the big companies who are still private like Polar have been fighting against all odds to try to bring food to the Venezuelan’s tables. But the rise of strong controls, weakness of the currency and lack of foreign exchange makes it more and more difficult. Still, for Maduro, the rabbits don’t work like the market’s forces.
During a visit from the minister of urban agriculture, Freddy Bernal to the families who discovered that their plan had its flaws. On a cabinet meeting broadcasted on TV, Bernal told the president what the problem was: “They are naming the animals and bringing them to bed with them”. He affirmed that the population needed to be re-educated. Rabbits, according to Mr. Bernal, are meant to be seen as 2 kilos of meat, not pets. That is why the minister launched a campaign to make the people understand that loving that bunny means you are against “Chavismo”, their ideology. Other commercials flow around social media and tv-channels teaching people how tasty and beneficial it is to eat the meat of a rabbit. An odd thing to ask when rabbits were rarely eaten in the country, not to mention found in supermarkets.
I ask myself a few questions: How many rabbits do you think Maduro and Bernal have in their homes? What about the other people eating from the garbage, why don’t they get bunnies? How do people who can’t find food for themselves, feed the bunny? Are rabbits as well the plan to cure diseases? If the international community doesn’t react to this, would at least animal rights organization PETA say something?
One of the opposition’ s leaders asked Bernal if he thinks “Venezuelans are stupid” and assures “Maduro would never eat a rabbit and if he did, it would be a gourmet preparation of a chef”.
For the Spanish speakers: