As Venezuelans deal with a historic currency devaluation and the aftermath of a massive 7.3 earthquake which hit the northern coast on Tuesday, residents of Maracaibo have been forced into long lines to buy spoiled meat - as worsening rolling blackouts have caused refrigerators across the country fail, according to AP.
Some people fall ill eating the rotten beef, but at bargain prices, it’s the only way they can afford protein as the country’s crisis hits bottom.
A pungent tray of the ground meat and other graying cuts on display one day at his counter collected flies — and a steady flow of customers. Some feed it to their dogs, said Prieto, yet others cook it for their families.
Across the way in another stall, a butcher — shirtless and smoking a cigarette — offers up trays of blackened cuts.
“People are buying it,” said Jose Aguirre who was unloading spoiled chicken. -AP
"Of course they eat the meat — thanks to Maduro," Prieto said. "The food of the poor is rotten food."
"It smells a little foul, but you rinse it with a little vinegar and lemon,” said Yeudis Luna, who bought darkened cuts of meat to feed his three young boys in Venezuela’s second largest city. "I was afraid that they would get sick because they are small," he said. "But only the little one got diarrhea and threw up."
The rolling blackouts have affected Maracaibo for the last nine months - however things turned dire on August 10 when a fire destroyed the city's main powerline - affecting over 1.5 million people.
Refrigeration units fell idle and meat began turning. At least four butcher shops have been selling spoiled meat in Las Pulgas, Maracaibo’s central market.
Butcher Johel Prieto said the outage turned an entire side of beef rotten. He ground up much of it and mixed it with a fresh, red meat in an attempt to mask the spoilage. -AP
Perhaps all the zoo animals have already been butchered?