For Poor Venezuelans, a Box of Food May Sway Vote for Maduro

CARACAS — A bag of rice on a hungry family’s kitchen table could be the key to Nicolas Maduro retaining the support of poor Venezuelans in May’s presidential election.
The contents of a CLAP box, a Venezuelan government handout of basic food supplies, is pictured at Viviana Colmenares’ house in the slum of Petare in Caracas, Feb. 23, 2018.
For millions of Venezuelans suffering an unprecedented economic crisis, a monthly handout of a box of heavily-subsidized basic food supplies by Maduro’s unpopular government has offered a tenuous lifeline in their once-prosperous OPEC nation.
The 55-year-old successor to Hugo Chavez introduced the so-called CLAP boxes in 2016 in a signature policy of his rule, continuing the socialist government’s strategy of seeking public support with cash bonuses and other giveaways.

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