HAVANA TIMES — What is happening today in Venezuela is a great display of just how moldable the human mind is, especially if this is a collective of human minds.
The price of an egg here already far exceeds the daily income of any worker. Inflation is destroying small businesses. The government doesn’t give any real support to farmers and, instead, continues to give million dollar pay-outs to large private companies, many of which produce very little or nothing. Medicines continue to become more expensive and more and more are missing from pharmacy shelves every day. Transport has gotten so expensive, to the extent that in many states, it costs more to go to work than what you would earn in a minimum-salary paying job, without taking into account the fact that it can cost more than what you are allowed to withdraw from an ATM. And while the country continues to be overtaken by chaos, the “pork revolution” began.
It’s a tradition here in Venezuela to eat a meal of hallacas (a kind of seasoned cake or tamale), chicken salad and a ham and roasted pork for the holidays at the end of the year. This Christmas, many Venezuelans weren’t able to enjoy this meal, not even in part.
The president announced that pork legs would be sold to the population via the CLAP (food distribution program run by the Army).
However, this pork never came.
If this were to result in less pigs being killed to fulfill a strange, almost global tradition (celebrating a seemingly new cycle by killing and eating living beings); this delay in receiving pork would be fantastic. But, that’s not what’s happening here.
Even though the country could be encouraging national production of this meat, the government and its business partners prefer to buy it outside of Venezuela. Dead pigs are being bought in dollars, at the “official” dollar rate, to be sold to the privileged, because there isn’t a pork leg for every family normally.
However, this pork never came.
Maduro and his media have created a whole myth about what has happened to these missing pork legs. That they are on a boat being obstructed God knows where, that there are I don’t know how many being held on the border by the enemy government. The “pork blockade” is even beating the myth of baby Jesus. Pork, my comrades, has been sabotaged, sniff…sniff, little Nicolas laments.
And here, it’s been the people’s call to arms, and I’m struck by how nearly no one is protesting because there isn’t enough cash money, because transport prices are sky high, because of businesses speculating, or because of the government’s neoliberal practices. People’s protests have come to life because of pigs!
If Gabriel Garcia Marquez were alive, he would be left with his mouth hanging wide open, almost like those roasted pigs with an apple on the end of their snout. People are protesting because pork hasn’t arrived? It seems that people cling onto their traditions with a lot more force in times of crisis.
Does that mean to say that if this piece of meat was distributed to the population before January 1st, everyone would go home in peace?
Does this mean to say that the absence of pork reminds Venezuelans that too many people are going hungry?
Will pork be incorporated into the next battle cry?
And what about comrade Maduro, comrade Cabello, the clique of comrades and their entourage of private businessmen; did they have this traditional meal on their tables or do their diets also include less folkloric foods?
Will this uprising go down in history as “the pork conspiracy”?
Will Maduro’s advisers advise Maduro to go on TV dressed up as a pig in order to calm people’s anger?
Or has he already done this?