According to an AFP report, McDonald’s has pulled the plug on Big Macs in Venezuela.
The fast-food giant claims it is no longer able to provide its customers with the slice of bread that goes in between the two meat patties, AFP reports, citing Venezuelan media.
“McDonald’s Venezuela is working to resolve this temporary situation,” Daniel Schleiniger, a spokesperson for Arcos Dorados, which operates more than 2,000 McDonald’s restaurants throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, told Business Insider.
“Together with our supplier, we are evaluating the best options that will allow us to continue serving high quality food to our customers. For the moment, we offer other menu options such as the Quarter Pounder, CBO and McNífica, among others,” Schleiniger continued.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time McDonald’s has eighty-sixed an item off of the menu in Venezuela. In 2015, more than 100 McDonald’s franchises ran out of potatoes, forcing restaurants to resort to yucca (also known as cassava) fries as a starchy alternative.
“It’s because of the situation here; it’s a total debacle,” Venezuela resident Maria Guerreiro told news reporters as she was leaving a Caracas McDonald’s. Guerrerio said her sole purpose of coming that day was to treat her two-year-old to a Happy Meal, but that her daughter would not eat the starchy root substitute.
McDonald’s reintroduced the classic French fry to its Venezuelan menu in November 2015, but due to difficulties of legally buying potatoes in Venezuela, the fast food chain was forced to price a large serving of fries at $133.
The shortage has forced Venezuelans to make lines for supermarket rations that has left some families waiting for up to eight hours, only to be told that the supermarket has run out of milk, flour, and vegetable oil, along with other common household items. The shortages have also caused violence and looting.
In response to the rising crime rate, President Maduro shipped emergency food supplies to neighborhood Socialist Party (PSUV) coalitions who distributed the food to loyal party members. After several protests, Maduro placed the nation’s Minister of Defense, Valdimir Padrino López, in charge of the rations, with the military at his full disposal to protect food stocks.
After receiving a great amount of criticism, López issued a public statement concerning the military having control over the nation’s food supply. In the statement he claimed that the military would be “disciplining” the distribution of food and medicine, rather than “militarizing” it.
Wilmar Castro Soteldo, the Minister of Productive Agriculture, also issued a statement, “The country is in an abnormal situation,” he said, noting that the military “will be able to tend to agriculture production problems focused on the current war.”
According to Business Insider, conditions have become so bad that the Maduro government has temporarily opened Colombia borers to residents of Táchira, Venezuela for two consecutive weekends. More than 35,000 people crossed into the city of Cúcuta, Colombia to buy oil, flour, and milk, as well as basic medicines on the very first Sunday.
Last weekend, an estimated 90,000 people made the journey, reports BreitBart. Before the legal border openings, hundreds of women banned together on the bridge leading to Cúcuta demanding the right to feed their children.
The International Monetary Fund estimates that Venezuela’s economy will contract 10 percent in 2016 with inflation accelerating to around 700 percent.
“This is wrong, like everything in Venezuela, because of shortages,” Gabriel Perales said shortly after arriving in Caracas on the hunt for a Big Mac. “I just found out there are no Big Macs. They gave me the other burger. Now McDonald’s has problems with flour shortages. Who would have thought?”
[Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images]