As the economic crisis in Venezuela deepens, the country’s presidential couple decided to do a stopover lunch at one of the most luxurious and expensive restaurants in the world, in Turkey – with a dish costing more than US $275.
Images illustrate a dramatic and exclusive performance of chef Nustret Gokce carving the meat in front of Maduro and his wife, Cilia Flores, at Gokce’s restaurant in Istanbul.
This has caused upheaval globally as Venezuelans are currently witnessing some of the worst food shortages, causing weight-loss across two-thirds of the population.
The fact that the president is tucking into US $100 rib-eye steak really does add salt to the Venezuelan’s wound because red meat is especially scarce in the country.
Gokce posted three videos of Maduro’s visit on Instagram, but (for obvious reasons) these were later deleted. Too late, though! The internet never forgets. Unfortunately for him, it doesn’t take long for videos to go viral and social media users around the world immediately re-posted them before the evidence was deleted.
Not too long ago, Gokce was turned into a comical meme after millions witnessed his unorthodox method of sprinkling salt on meat and with that, he became the legend known as “Salt Bae”.
As the chef is carving the meat in the video, the president can be heard saying: “This is a once in a lifetime moment”. Some may argue that saving his country from starvation would perhaps be more of “once in a lifetime moment,” but what do I know.
It gets worse, the video also unveils the president smoking an artisanal cigar from a plaque-engraved-box which further adds to the ridiculousness of this stopover lunch. For the average Joe, a meal-deal from a cafe at the airport would usually do the trick.
Many have taken to social media to voice their anger on the whole ordeal. A Twitter user named Julio Borges, who says is currently living outside of Venezuela out of fear of being arrested, tweeted: “While Venezuelans suffer and die of hunger, Nicolás Maduro and Cilia Flores have a good time in one of the most expensive restaurants in the world, all with money stolen from the Venezuelan people.”
A US Republican senator, Marco Rubio, has ripped into the President and the Turkish chef:
I don’t know who this weirdo #Saltbae is, but the guy he is so proud to host is not the President of #Venezuela. He is actually the overweight dictator of a nation where 30% of the people eat only once a day & infants are suffering from malnutrition. https://t.co/sSNPK9cAAx
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) September 18, 2018
While Maduro and his wife are stuffing their faces abroad, 64 percent of people lost, on average, 11 kg in weight in 2017 as food shortages continue to worsen. Many having one meal a day and watching their children suffer from malnutrition.
Additionally, some creative cartoonists have already picked up their pens and depicted the discourse behind the lunch, making a mockery of the chef and the president himself.
— VENEZUELA (@OpinandoPorAqui) September 18, 2018
In a televised press conference, prior to this eruption of controversy, the president said: “Nusret attended to us personally. We were chatting, having a good time with.”
He also added that the chef “loves Venezuela”. But let’s just say Venezuela probably doesn’t like him that much.
Mientras tanto el gobernante de Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, visita al reconocido chef, Salt Bae, en Turquía y disfruta de un delicioso manjar junto a la “primera combatiente” Cilia Flores. #DimeAlgo pic.twitter.com/tGieG9GV8J
— Yusnaby Pérez (@Yusnaby) September 17, 2018