The good news is that McDonald's is selling french fries again in Venezuela for the first time in 10 months. The bad news is that Venezuela's economy is in such shambles a large bag of fries costs about 10% of a monthly minimum wage.

The "new" fries, which are now being sourced from Venezuelan farms because it's too difficult and costly to import potatoes, were introduced this week with a cheeky social media campaign,that displayed them as somewhat of a mystery item that's coming to a McDonald's near you.

But many Venezuelans aren't impressed. Some argued on social media that the McDonald's french fry drama is just another example of how their country's economy is falling apart thanks to excessive government intervention. And bringing fries back won't fix things.

For the past decade, the socialist run nation has been implementing strict currency exchange controls that prevent people from taking their money out of the country. These government imposed limitations on banking, also stop companies from purchasing dollars at a decent rate without government approval, stalling imports of all sorts of basic goods, from milk to chicken, to potatoes and toilet paper.


So, even though the reintroduction of McDonald's french fries has generated dozens of positive headlines this week, some Venezuelans are taking a more cynical view of the matter.

"Socialism makes you appreciate the small things in life, like fries at McDonald's or being able to buy sugar," tweeted Freddy Montes.


"Venezuela: the country where Mc Donald's selling french fries is breaking news," quipped another Twitter user.

In January, McDonald's was forced to replace its fries with a greasy substitute made from fried Yuca because currency controls made it too difficult to import potatoes. The starchy tropical root wasn't very popular with some customers, who also complained that burgers were being sold without tomato or lettuce.


Now the fries are back, but few can afford them in Venezuela's screwy economy. A a large serving of fries costs 800 bolivares, which calculated at the government's official exchange rate, is a whopping $133.


At the black market currency exchange rate, the same fries are worth $1.15. That's almost $132 in savings, but either way the cost of fries in Venezuela is pretty expensive, considering the monthly minimum wage is worth around $12 at the black market rate.

To cut costs, you can always skip the fries and go for the "Mcduo", a cheaper combo sold by McDonald's Venezuela that includes only a burger and a coke. Buen provecho!


Manuel Rueda is a correspondent for Fusion, covering Mexico and South America. He travels from donkey festivals, to salsa clubs to steamy places with cartel activity.