Food writer Stefan Gates visits Venezuela, where President Hugo Chavez is promising a redistribution of land and subsidized food handouts for the poor. Chavez claims more than half of the country's oil wealth will go to projects for the poor.
Police shoot tear gas at protesters outside the restaurant where Gates is having dinner. He speaks with the protesters who are asking for better housing. More than 40% of Venezuelans live in poverty despite the country making billions in oil revenue.
Many of Venezuela's elite believe Chavez is using land and food programs to buy people's votes. During the election subsided food stores were well stocked, but shortages have become common since Chavez took office.
The riches 5% of land owners own 80% of the country's land. Chavez is encouraging landless people to invade the land and claim it to increase farming and reduce reliance on foreign imports for food. More than 150 people have been killed in violence between landowners and landless people.
Gates visits a co-op set up by landless invaders. The co-op, like many others, is not producing any corps and their food is bought in town. The people still support Chavez and believe his reforms are helping the country.
Credits: Cooking In The Danger Zone: Series 2: Venezuela
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In Venezuela, Stefan Gates discovers a precariously polarized country and sees how President Hugo Chavez uses food as a political tool. He cooks in the slums’ soup kitchens, investigates food shortages, and meets on of the richest men in the country.
Length: 29 minutes
Copyright date: ©2007
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