As lockdown hurts, desperate Venezuelans turn to cow blood soup

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Since Venezuela went into its coronavirus lockdown, dozens of needy people have been lining up at a slaughterhouse in the western town of San Cristobal to pick up the only protein they can find for free: cattle blood.

Mechanic Aleyair Romero, 20, goes twice a week. He lost his job at a local garage and says boxes of subsidized food from the government of President Nicolas Maduro arrive too slowly.

“I have to find food however I can,” said Romero, holding a coffee thermos dripping with blood the slaughterhouse gives away.

Though cow’s blood is a traditional ingredient for “pichon” soup in the Venezuelan Andes and neighboring Colombia, more people have been seeking it out since the COVID-19 crisis.

In a proudly carnivorous nation, few are happy about eating more blood instead of meat – a kilo of which costs about two times the monthly minimum wage.

Increased consumption of cattle blood is, like stripped mango trees, a striking symbol of hunger as Venezuela’s economy, already suffering six years of hyperinflationary implosion, has been nearly shuttered in response to the pandemic. – READ MORE

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