Venezuelan President Eats Empanada On Live TV While Addressing Starving Nation

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro got so hungry during a lengthy, live broadcast to his starving nation Thursday that he pulled out an empanada and started eating.

Already mocked for being overweight, Maduro didn't think the cameras were still on him when he took a big bite of the empanada, a trademark Spanish meat pastry.

But the camera caught his first few bites of the empanada. 

Call it Pastrygate: As Maduro finished his speech, he peered around the room, looked down at his desk, opened a drawer and, like magic, brought out the empanada. He downed half of it in one bite.

To be fair, Maduro's state-mandated broadcasts can last hours, so he might have simply gotten hungry and decided it was empanada time. But the optics couldn't have been worse: Maduro has been widely mocked for putting on a few pounds — maybe it was the empanadas — especially as his country continues to reel from poverty, starvation and a medicine shortage.

Almost daily, protesters demand relief from an economic crisis that has left the country crippled and burdened by the highest inflation rate in the world—a striking 254.9 percent, according to Business Insider. That means a 10 bolivar-priced empanada will cost poor Venezuelans 35.50 bolivars next year.

Stagnant wages and high inflation on all items, including empanadas, have forced some, including doctors, to become sex workers. The lack of medicines have led some to leave the country, which experts say could actually spread disease in other nations

Maduro was elected president in 2013 after the death of Hugo Chavez, who once recommended that his poor countrymen make their empanadas out of capybara, a large rodent.

After Maduro's snack, social media got hotter than an empanada oven.

"While Venezuelans are looking for food in the garbage or starve, @NicolasMaduro eats an empanada on TV," Twitter user Daniel Montero‏ posted. 

"Glad to see Venezuela leader keeping it classy," Jake Wallis Simons‏ posted to Twitter, not referring specifically to the empanada.

"In 2017's Venezuela: As children malnutrition indexes have risen, Maduro has doubled size," Carlos Paredes‏ wrote on Twitter. "There's always a good moment for an Empanada."

If Maduro is a fan of the empanada, it's no surprise. The pastry — stuffed with meat, cheese, corn or basically anything delicious — is a staple in the Latin American diet.

There really is nothing like an empanada.

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