Red Venezuela, Pink Flamingos, and the New Hollywood Diet

Red Venezuela, Pink Flamingos, and the New Hollywood Diet

Recently, I joked about political diets, noting that actress Lena Dunham complained that the “soul-crushing pain and devastation and hopelessness” of the new Trump presidency had caused her to lose weight.

On the other hand, Barbra Streisand and others in Hollywood claim their unease about President Trump is triggering them to overeat and gain weight.

Then, I compared these Trump-inspired diets to the “Maduro Diet.”

The Maduro Diet, you ask? That’s the namesake of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, the socialist successor to the late Hugo Chávez. Maduro is presiding over the complete economic collapse of what, prior to socialism, had long been the richest country in South America.

Nonetheless, last September, President Maduro joked, “The Maduro diet, that’s the one that makes you tough. You won’t even need Viagra now.”

In response to the dictator’s comedic chauvinismo, the Venezuelan newspaper El Estímulo published a list of people who have died “in various parts of the country because of the rigors of the diet that bears his name.”

“Having nothing to eat is felt by the millions,” added the paper. “A study by More Consulting for the opposition National Assembly says that more than 53 percent of Venezuelans have gone to bed once without trying food thanks to the ‘Maduro diet.’”

A recent Living Conditions Survey — a collaborative effort that included the Andrés Bello Catholic University, the Central University of Venezuela, and the Simón Bolívar University — concluded that nearly three in four Venezuelans lost on average 19 pounds in 2016. Consistent malnutrition does mean spectacular levels of weight-loss, of course, and people can decide for themselves about the benefits or lack thereof.

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A month ago, the Miami Herald informed that, “People have become so desperate,” according to biologists and biology students at Zulia University, “that they are butchering and eating flamingos.”

The Herald also reported: “In the city’s dump, more evidence of hunger-driven desperation: dismembered dogs, cats, donkeys, horses and pigeons have been found since last year, all skinned or plucked,…