A Venezuelan university professor and aspiring lawmaker for the socialist party has set social media ablaze by suggesting that her fellow countrymen cope with medicine shortages by planting tylenol bushes in their backyards.
Speaking at a campaign rally televised on state TV last Saturday, congressional hopeful Rona del Valle Gómez called on Venezuelans to deal with the shortages by returning to their ancestral roots and "planting an acetaminophen bush."
Acetaminophen is a synthetic drug used to relieve pain and reduce fever. It's the active ingredient in Tylenol and dozens of other similar medicines. And it doesn't grow on a bush, no matter how good the soil.
The aspiring lawmaker's home gardening advice immediately went viral on Venezuela's social media, where critics of President Nicolas Maduro are constantly trolling the socialist government for evidence of madness and material for mockery.
After days of taking a beating on Twitter, Facebook and the Latin American media, del Valle Gómez released a communique written in impossibly small font explaining that she had meant to be folksy in calling on folks to plant acetaminophen. What she was really referring to was a plant with similar medicinal properties, called "Boldo Paraguayo."
The rest of the educator's barely legible clarification, which was published this morning on her Twitter account then quickly removed, professes her undying loyalties to Hugo Chávez and says something about Venezuelans never surrendering to their adversaries, the "ultra-rightwingers whose only goal is to destabilize our legitimate government."
Venezuela's government has blamed the country's shortages on transnational companies that are trying to force the country into a dependence on foreign imports.