As the headless and non-corporeal specter of Marie Antoinette would be all too happy to inform you, there is pretty much nothing your disenfranchised subjects like to hear more from your delicately celestial lips than an insightful remark about how any hunger they might feel is solely due to their own ineptitude at recognizing what they can actually eat.
Unfortunately for Venezuela's increasingly hunger-stricken populace, Francisco Rangel, governor of the state of Bolívar, seems to have at least this in common with the iconic and decapitated Queen of France. The governor actually had the gall to tell listeners of his radio program this Tuesday that Venezuelans should not "yield to temptation" in the face of widespread food shortages. In fact, the governor said, they totally shouldn't worry about a lack of flour, sardines, or anything else seemingly fit for human consumption.
Instead, the former president of the state-owned mining conglomerate, Corporación Venezolana de Guayana, said that the exorbitant prices of foodstuffs in Venezuela were due to governmentally "induced inflation" and part of an ongoing economic war between the current government—run by Nicolas Maduro, who had previously served as Vice President under Hugo Chávez—and the opposition party. "Now that prices are sky-high, we need to fight against this together. Let them not feel like they have beaten us," said Rangel enthusiastically.
So, what in the hell are patriotic Venezuelans to eat in desperate times? Why, rocks of course. Lots and lots of rocks. "Let them take away whatever they want. We are capable of eating a stick, or instead of frying two eggs, fry two rocks, and we will eat fried rocks," he stated. "But no one can beat us."
Venezuela is currently home the world's highest level of inflation with basic food costs having increased almost 19 percent in August alone. According to the Cato Institute's Troubled Currencies Project, the annual cost of living is increasing at an unheard of rate of 633 percent.
Just in case you were wondering why in the hell, after making these remarks, Rangel is still running the state of Bolívar and doesn't have his head on a pike, you should know that Venezuela apparently has a history of politicians saying these sorts of things. Late former president Hugo Chávez is also known to have given speeches that oddly mirror the sentiment of Rangel's. "It doesn't matter if we have no clothes to wear, or no food to eat," Chávez said in a speech in 2007, "this is about saving the revolution."
Maybe it's time to ditch that tired, old Che T-shirt in favor of one with a picture of some patriotically delectable fried rocks.