c-RTS1N6PS-Marco Bello

A box of food—costing 25,000 bolivars, or $0.12—could help Maduro win Venezuela’s election

$0.12

Thanks to a food box, Venezuela’s upcoming presidential election could swing in favor of current president Nicolás Maduro.

Published   |  Photo by Reuters/Marco Bello
c-RTS1N6PS-Marco Bello
$0.12

The boxes contain rice, cooking oil, grains, and powdered milk, among other items, and are distributed monthly to six million families. They may seem humble, but they wield power in a country of only about 30 million people—where many are hungry.

c-RTS1N6PS-Marco Bello
$0.12

The box comes with the face of both Maduro and former president Hugo Chávez printed on it.

c-RTS1N6OP-Marco Bello

Reuters/Marco Bello

c-RTS1N6PS-Marco Bello
$0.12

Freddy Bernal, chief administrator of the social program, is open about its role. “They are an instrument of the revolution,” he told Reuters, saying the boxes have “enabled us to win elections and to keep winning them.”

c-RTS1N6PS-Marco Bello
$0.12

The boxes are not free, but they are heavily funded by the government, and each one costs its recipient 25,000 bolivars, or $0.12.

c-RTS1N6PY-Marco Bello

Reuters/Marco Bello

c-RTS1N6PS-Marco Bello
$0.12

Almost 90% of Venezuelans are living in poverty, and many are losing weight—an average of 9 kg over the past year—because they’re unable to buy food—prices have spiked 6,150% over the past year, according to the opposition.

c-RTS1N6PS-Marco Bello
$0.12

Hundreds of thousands have left the country—250,000 Venezuelans in search of greener pastures have relocated to Colombia since August 2017.

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