It’s illegal to hunt pink flamingos in Venezuela but some people on the “Maduro diet” have no choice but to resort to eating the colorful birds, as well as more pedestrian animals like cats and dogs, in order to survive. From the Miami Herald:
Biology student Luis Sibira stumbled across the first set of gory remains last November: eight pink flamingos, their breasts and torsos sliced out, leaving their heads, spindly legs and vivid feathers scattered across the marshy ground at Las Peonias Lagoon in western Venezuela…
But this isn’t simple poaching, he said. Sibira and other investigators from Zulia University, a public university in Maracaibo, are convinced that the protected birds have become the latest victims of Venezuela’s growing hunger crisis. People have become so desperate, he said, that they are butchering and eating flamingos.
There are other signs that food shortages have led to the slaughtering of animals not generally considered meat: giant anteaters, for one…
In the city’s dump, more evidence of hunger-driven desperation: dismembered dogs, cats, donkeys, horses and pigeons have been found since last year, all skinned or plucked, with signs of having been eaten, according to the city’s garbage teams.
The head of Venezuela’s Scientific Studies Institute tells the Miami Times no Venezuelans have ever made pink flamingos a part of their diet, going all the way back to the Spanish Conquest. This is desperation caused by the rampant inflation and chronic shortages that have been a problem in Venezuela for the past two years.
In a story published today, Reuters compares the situation to “the waning days of the Soviet Union.” Venezuela borrowed $50 billion from China and another $5 billion from Russia with the promise of repayment in the form of cheap oil, but the nation is now falling behind on those deliveries:
The total worth of the late cargoes to state-run Chinese and Russian firms is about $750 million, according to a Reuters analysis of the PDVSA documents.
At the end of January, PDVSA was late on nearly 10 million barrels of refined products that the company owes the firms – with shipments delayed by as much as 10 months, according to the documents. It also failed to make timely deliveries of another 3.2 million barrels of crude shipments to China’s state-run China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).
The article goes on to say that last year’s oil production was the lowest in 23 years, despite plans by the state-run company to increase exports to China. So far, neither Russia nor China are saying anything publicly about the delays.
The wheels continue to come off this disaster of a socialist state. Here’s hoping the collapse of President Maduro’s government happens before too many more people feel forced to hunt pink flamingos to survive.