Venezuela is experiencing the “mother of all protests” over food scarcity and ballooning inflation.
The protests, which are now in their sixth week, may take a messy turn as protesters prepare feces, both human and animal, to throw at security forces.
The new tactic is being called the “Poopootov” — a play on the Molotov cocktails. Venezuelans are also helping each other to prepare fecal cocktails and step-by-step instruction messages are going viral on WhatsApp.
A dentist preparing containers of feces in her home for protesters to launch at authorities said, “The kids go out with just stones. That’s their weapon. Now they have another weapon: excrement. One of my patients is collecting excrement from her child.”
Opposition sympathizers are appalled at the plans to use feces. They are calling it an unsanitary and inappropriate tactic even in the face of a government they despise. They also fear that throwing feces may increase the risk of infectious diseases, which would further worsen the situation.
However, some lawmakers are OK with the smelly new tactic.
“They use their weapons against us, so people are using what they have,” said lawmaker Rafael Guzmán.
Venezuelan streets have been filled with chaos, protests and bloodshed for weeks, as President Nicolás Maduro called for a new assembly to rewrite the nation’s constitution in an attempt to consolidate control. Other political parties who have been excluded from the constitution-writing entity feel that they are being sidelined.
According to Maduro, the new constitution was necessary to overcome the gridlock paralyzing the country so that the nation’s considerable oil wealth could be channeled to the people more effectively. Venezuela was South America's most stable democracy until 1998, with the largest oil reserves in the world. But now, the residents face massive food and medical shortages as inflation rises to triple digits.
Critics opposed the new constitution as a suspicious strategy that will dodge the national assembly.
The crippling humanitarian crisis in the country is forcing Venezuelans, who cannot afford plane tickets, to walk into Brazilian border towns to combat medical care shortages. Low- or middle-income families, who rely on health care with government-set prices, are affected the worst. More than 12,000 Venezuelans have entered and stayed in Brazil since 2014. Many of them have no homes and live on streets in deplorable conditions. Despite that, they say they are better off in Brazil than Venezuela.