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Socialism sucks: McDonald's runs out of french fries across Venezuela


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(NaturalNews) The grand socialist experiment in Venezuela begun by the great revolutionary, the late Hugo Chavez, continues to perform as expected in the South American nation -- which is, to say, poorly.

So much so, in fact, that even McDonald's restaurants are now running out of a signature menu item: French fries. And Venezuelans are certainly not "lovin' it."

As reported by The Associated Press:

Forget the French fries. How about a side of yuca with that Big Mac?

Venezuela's more than 100 McDonald's franchises have run out of potatoes and are now serving alternatives like deep-fried arepa flatbreads or yuca, a starchy staple of traditional South American cooking.

The venerable fast food chain is blaming the phenomenon on a contract dispute with American dock workers on the U.S. West Coast, which has caused an export stoppage to Venezuela. AP says the disagreement has led to several days' worth of French fry rationing in Japan in December.

However, Sonia Reseler, a spokeswoman for Arcos Dorados in Argentina, which runs McDonald's restaurants throughout Latin America, would not say why Venezuela's neighbors were not suffering shortages.

"It's a total debacle"

Venezuelans have become accustomed to shortages of food and other basic commodities, and -- the AP reported -- are equally used to complaining about their government when they have to walk away from stores empty-handed. Venezuelans have regularly blamed the socialist government for such shortfalls.

"It's because of the situation here; it's a total debacle," Maria Guerreiro told the AP. She stormed out of a Caracas McDonald's with her family in tow after being told that the restaurant was only serving fries that were made of yuca, which is also called cassava.

She also said that her daughter would not eat the root-based yuca, which is very starchy, and that they had come to the McDonald's to get the two-year-old a Happy Meal.

Meanwhile, Ruseler said her corporation is working to get past the shortages. For now, she said, the company "will continue to give our clients the McDonald's experience, offering 100 percent Venezuelan options."

A McDonald's rival -- Burger King -- stepped up to fill the French fry void; the chain is using social media to remind Venezuelans that it still offers American-style French fries.

The AP reported that John Toaspern, the chief marketing officer for the U.S. Potato Board, said that Venezuela's import of frozen potatoes dropped dramatically long before there was a labor dispute on the West Coast.

He noted that, during the first 10 months of last year, Venezuela only imported about 14 percent of the frozen French fries from a major McDonald's supplier in Washington State that they imported the previous year, according to federal export data complied by the board.

The AP further reported:

Most of the shortages in Venezuela are driven in part by the country's tight currency controls, which make it hard to get dollars at a subsidized rate for imports while creating a thriving black market for currency. As a result, the country either has the most expensive Happy Meal in the world ($27 the official exchange rate) or the cheapest (90 cents at the black market rate).

Government says, "It's not our fault"

Alixa Sharkey, a researcher with Euromonitor International, a market research firm, said the McDonald's chain likely has been dealing with Venezuelan shortages for some time. And though other countries are better equipped to deal with any temporary supply shortages at ports by using alternative transport methods, such as air transport, systemic economic dysfunction in Venezuela makes such compromises impossible.

"This situation probably has little to do with the U.S. port dispute and is mostly the result of Venezuela's very difficult economic situation," she told the AP.

The Venezuelan government has eschewed capitalism, but it seems to note that many Venezuelans like patronizing fast-food chains such as McDonald's because of the particular fare they offer. A government-sponsored news website recently posted a notice ensuring residents that the situation "has nothing at all to do" with any state policy.





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