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Venezuelans Are Fighting Their Government With Photos of Their Empty Fridges

Attacking government policy with hashtags and empty fridge pics has been dubbed “the opposite of food porn,” but it is also far more than that.
May 29, 2016, 1:00pm

Venezuela is hangry. With a 700 percent inflation rate brought on by low oil prices and reckless monetary policy, even basic ingredients like flour have become too expensive for the average Venezuelan. Not surprisingly, bread lines, looting, and reports of people eating cats are all on the rise in the South American country.

And with politicians taunting the populace by telling them to eat fried rocks, Venezuelans are taking not only to the streets, but to social media to protest a worsening food shortage.

READ MORE: Venezuela's Food Shortage Crisis Is Getting Worse

#NeverasvaciasenVenezuela hasta cuándo tanta miseria… pic.twitter.com/jN2XEb1cJd

— Kenerly Escalante (@kaec86) May 22, 2016

One way for a very hungry population to share the severity of food scarcity with the outside world has been hashtag #NeverasVaciasEnVenezuela, which translates to "the Empty Fridges of Venezuela." Over the last few weeks, social media users across the country have been using the hashtag in concert with photos of themselves standing next to their empty refrigerators.

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#NeverasVaciasEnVenezuela pic.twitter.com/nL3H57UEA3 — Myteks Media Labs (@myteks) May 22, 2016

The result is as sad as it is effective in communicating the desperation of a nation where one meal now costs as much as three did before inflation got out of control. According to Fusion, the online protests began after Reuters photographer Carlos Garcia Rawlins published a photo essay entitled "Venezuela's Empty Fridges" with striking imagery of food shortage and human misery.

#NeverasvaciasenVenezuela hasta cuándo tanta miseria… pic.twitter.com/jN2XEb1cJd

— Kenerly Escalante (@kaec86) May 22, 2016

By appropriating the title of Garcia Rawlins' work, Venezuelans have found a new voice that has allowed them to place blame squarely on the government, with captions like, "This is my pathetic fridge, a product of 21st century socialism" and "This is what my house's fridge looks like thanks to [President] Nicolas Maduro."

Attacking government policy with hashtags and empty fridge pics has been dubbed "the opposite of food porn," but it is also far more than that. With the government clinging to power with emergency measures and printing currency into oblivion, Venezuelans are only getting angrier. And if history has shown us anything, it's that the shit hits the fan when bread gets too expensive.