The children of Viviana Colmenares (C) have lunch in a community diner at the slum of Petare in Caracas, Venezuela February 22, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello
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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. 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.According to the government, 6 million families receive the benefit, from a population of around 30 million people.The same study revealed that seven out of 10 Venezuelans had received CLAPs."They [the government] don't care about the food issue, just about getting people something to eat while they get through the elections," said Susana Raffalli, a consultant with charity Caritas.Some Venezuelans fear they would be found out should they vote against Maduro and be punished by no longer receiving food bags. Another Petare resident, mother of three Yaneidy Guzman, said she dropped from 68 kilograms to 48 kilograms last year, despite receiving the CLAP.
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