Venezuela finds socialist pride in the arepa
Venezuela has long been proud of its arepas, a snack sold from street kiosks across the country. Now President Hugo Chávez has turned them into a rallying symbol of socialism.
Caracas, Venezuela — • A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.
Nearly every morning locals line up alongside a street kiosk for arepas, corn flatbread stuffed with a jumble of meats, vegetables, and cheeses. The Venezuelan specialty has been a source of pride here since the Spanish tried to usurp native corn centuries ago with European wheat. “Arepas are part of our culture,” says Miguel Segovia, clutching a greasy paper sack filled with a warm arepa.
President Hugo Chávez furthered arepa national pride last year by opening up “Socialist Arepera” outlets, whose walls carry posters decrying the evils of the mass-marketed capitalist arepa. Mr. Chávez claims capitalist food producers drive up inflation.
But whatever the political bent of the arepa, Venezuelans will remain loyal.