The government has alighted on a brilliant new solution to our food crisis and the twist is that it will come from the most unlikeliest of places: jail.
Prisons Minister Iris Varela announced last week that four of the six new prisons being built right now will be set up to produce food inside their premises.
Here’s the plan in her own words:
In Sucre (State), for example, the coconut is being lost… so, we’re going to industrialize it. From carpets to coconut oil… We’ll also install a seafood production plant so we can pack sardines, tuna in the penitentiary center we’re building…
In all prisons we will have pig and poultry farms… The production that the inmates are carrying out allows for the reduction of costs and prices of some products.
The biggest news to me from this article: carpets made out of coconut are real. #TheMoreYouKnow
You might expect me to pivot now to a little rant about how, having expropriated so many food companies only to do nothing with them, the government is maybe not exactly swimming in credibility when it comes to handling the food crisis. Or the fact that they could simply stop the endless harassment of the main private food maker in the country. But not this time.
Let’s focus instead on the way Prannation stands to gain from all this. As we know, prison gang overlords (pranes) now control just about everything that happens inside most Venezuelan jails. Last year, a press report noted it was easier to find groceries (including CLAPs bags) inside the infamous Tocorón Prison than in the local markets.
As it stands, Tocorón is already a city within a city: You can find anything you need inside, from a bank branch to a… [BONO VOICE] Discotheque! (Congratulations, now you have this 20-year old song stuck in your head just like me!)
Iris Varela has a point though: “We have to do something about them”, referring to the 56.000 inmates currently in our prison system. It’s just that her definition of rehabilitation is all wrong.
Take for example what Colombia is doing: The San Diego women’s prison in Cartagena now has one of the trendiest restaurants in town, thanks to a private foundation initiative. Instead of opening the Nth revenue stream for the Pran, they’re teaching prisoners job skills they can take to the job market when they get out! Imagine that!
As those prisons are yet to be built, the government’s food distribution program faces another “distraction”. Apparently, the CLAPs are too busy with their plans to make its own radio and TV show. Well, they have a magazine already. By next week, they’ll be making movies.