Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro announced a plan to install orchards and chicken coops in every classroom as a means to combat the hunger epidemic that his socialist policies created, Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional reported Wednesday.
Maduro, who ceased to be the legitimate head of state of Venezuela in January after the National Assembly used its constitutional powers to replace him with President Juan Guaidó, has urged Venezuelans to install chicken coops in their homes in the past and claimed that he only eats eggs that his chickens produce.
Venezuela is facing an unprecedented hunger crisis that has left upwards of 80 percent of the country without the necessary funds to buy three meals a day for their families. Under late dictator Hugo Chávez, and then Maduro, extreme government property theft (“nationalization”) and micromanagement of agriculture dramatically reduced food production. Economic mismanagement has made the bolívar one of the world’s most useless currencies and a combination of nationalizations and oil giveaways to fellow leftist countries has destroyed the oil industry, the country’s most important.
On a broadcast on Venezuelan state television Monday, Maduro suggested installing chicken coops in classrooms as a way to feed starving children, a rare recognition of a humanitarian crisis that Maduro has repeatedly insisted does not exist.
‘I’ll leave the school orchards to you kids,” Maduro said. “Every school has a space, some have big spaces. Whoever has a big space should also put animals there, some 200 hens, 300 hens.”
“You guys can make your own [chicken] coops and every school has 300 hens,” Maduro suggested, noting that he has chicken coops in his home and often uses them to produce food.
Maduro said it was necessary for people to learn how to develop their own resources.
“Human beings developed, evolved, because they learned to use their hands, and with their hands, working, developed the brain,” Maduro suggested.
Maduro said he would aim to infuse classrooms with a million chickens total.
Maduro announced the plan spontaneously and his regime has not at press time indicated when, if ever, it would implement its chicken coop plan or where Caracas would get 1 million chickens to populate the nation’s classrooms.
In the same broadcast, Maduro also promised “smart classrooms” with the latest technological developments for children. Maduro’s education ministry will allegedly implement tablets in every classroom with “autonomous education” materials from first through sixth grade. Maduro did not explain how Venezuela – a country that does not have the money to produce or import the amount of food necessary to feed its population, will buy millions of schoolchildren the latest model tablets containing educational materials Caracas will presumably have to pay an education company for.
Maduro first suggested Venezuelans find and keep chickens in urban communities during a 2016 broadcast, deep into the Venezuelan hunger crisis.
“It’s time to develop a new culture of production,” Maduro suggested. “Cilia and I have 50 egg-laying chickens, and all the yolks we eat, we produce.”
“Anyone can have their productive orchard and you can produce lemon, tomato, pepper, have your egg-laying eggs,” he claimed.
Much of Caracas is extremely densely populated and covered in heaps of trash, which the city’s poorest dig through for any edible material. Maduro did not at the time address the lack of useable land in the hands of individuals not connected to the government in Caracas and other cities nationwide.
Venezuela was Latin America’s wealthiest country before Hugo Chávez, taking the lead from Cuba after its communist revolution in 1959 led to similar food and good shortages and widespread political repression. According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 21.5 percent of Venezuelans in 2018 went hungry in 2018, up from less than five percent before Chávez. A quality of life survey taken last year found that 80 percent of Venezuelan homes face food insecurity and general poverty afflicts over half of homes in the country.
“The consequences of this will be felt in the short, medium, and long term. In another 20 years, we will still be seeing the consequences of this if there is not an immediate intervention,” Marianella Herrera, a medical researcher at Central Venezuelan University, told the Argentine outlet Infobae in August, noting that the number of chronic diseases that future generations will suffer will increase significantly due to decades of malnutrition.
Maduro’s loyalists have for years denied any food crisis in the country and rejected humanitarian aid. His current vice president, Delcy Rodríguez, told viewers on state television in February not to eat any food aid that came from the United States because America was deliberately using “carcinogenic” food to kill Latin Americans. Maduro himself has joked about widespread starvation – which Venezuelans wryly refer to as the “Maduro diet” – saying in 2016, “Maduro’s diet gets you hard – no need for Viagra!”
The FAO gave Nicolás Maduro an award for reducing his country’s hunger in 2014 despite skyrocketing levels of food insecure people in the country a year into his tenure.