Venezuela is encouraging its citizens to breed and eat rabbits as it battles food shortages. Opponents say that's nonsense. Fred Katayama reports.
Maria Galindo loves her furry friend, Lola, and she's not about to put her on the dinner table despite what the Venezuelan government says. President Nicolas Maduro's "Rabbit Plan" aims to boost the food supply by encouraging citizens to breed rabbits and eat them as the country battles chronic food shortages. He says his country is a victim of an "economic war" fueled by U.S. President Donald Trump's sanctions. Urban Agriculture Minister Freddy Bernal: SOUNDBITE: FREDDY BERNAL, URBAN AGRICULTURE MINISTER, VENEZUELA, (ENGLISH VOICEOVER OVER SPANISH), SAYING: "A rabbit is not a pet; it's two and a half kilos of meat that is high in protein with no cholesterol." Nonsense, say Maduro's opponents. They say the real problem is a socialist economy financed by oil. Maria Galindo disagrees with the government. SOUNDBITE: MARIA GALINDO, HOUSEWIFE, (ENGLISH VOICEOVER OVER SPANISH), SAYING: "I raise rabbits here to keep myself entertained and to care for them because animals need to be cared for. That's why we have them. To look after and feed them and all that. I don't like to eat them." Raising huge numbers of rabbits would be difficult in Venezuela. Stringent currency and price controls have produced constant shortages, so the rabbit industry would struggle to find materials - everything from feed to metal and wire for breeding cages.