A Venezuelan woman has been identified as the culprit of an attack on Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro this week, in which he was pelted in the head with a mango while driving a truck through a socialist rally. The video of the attack has gone viral, inspiring the hashtag #manguicidio or #mangocide.
In the video, Maduro, who was a bus driver prior to beginning his political career, can be seen driving a large bus through a crowd, when a large yellow ball appears to hit him on the head with some speed. He grabs the ball and holds it up to the crowd, apparently asking who threw it at him.
The ball was later identified as a mango, prompting a wave of jokes on Twitter at Maduro’s expense. Many appeared under the hashtag #manguicidio, a play on magnicidio or political assassination. Maduro has been claiming for months that a number of anti-socialist operatives (and Vice President Joe Biden) have been conspiring to overthrow and assassinate him. Naturally, President Barack Obama appeared in some memes.
— ♚ David Comedia ♚ (@DavidComedia) April 23, 2015
Others used their mangos to send President Maduro a message. This mango’s message is “Go to Hell*”:
President Maduro appeared on television following the mango incident to explain the nature of the event, claiming that it was not hurled at him in protest. Instead, he identified the assailant as Marleni Olivo, a woman requesting assistance finding new housing. He displayed on television what he claimed was the mango in question, which had a phone number on it and the words “If you can, call me.”
“I haven’t been able to sink my teeth into it because it is classified as a letter [to the President],” Maduro joked.
El Nuevo Herald reports that the Venezuelan government claimed it processed the mango as a letter and that Olivo’s request was granted. Her apartment will be handed over within the next week, they allege.
It is not clear how Olivo allegedly procured a mango. Under Maduro’s tenure, food has been strictly rationed by family size, and fingerprints are necessary at many supermarkets to confirm eligibility to buy groceries. Commonly used products such as milk, eggs, vegetable oil, and flour are extremely difficult to acquire, and entering a supermarket at all often takes up to five hours because of the length of lines to get in. Fresh produce is equally difficult to acquire, as are laundry detergent and toilet paper. The lines are so long that some have taken to working professionally as line-standers to hold the place of someone who pays for the service.
*Many Spanish speakers will object that there is no direct translation for the word carajo, and that “Hell” is too tame a definition. For a more detailed look at an exact translation, see Cuban comedian Álvarez Guedes.