Venezuelans fed up with President Nicolas Maduro and the country’s economic chaos are blowing off steam by playing a new video game that mocks the president for giving an apartment to a woman who hurled a mango at him in public.
The goal of "Maduro Mango Attack" is to rack up points by trying to hit the Venezuelan leader with mangos as he darts around the screen. A techno beat plays in the background, periodically interrupted by shouts of encouragement from one of Maduro’s leading political opponents.
The game app, available on Google Play, was developed by two Venezuelans who moved to Argentina last year to flee Venezuela’s economic turmoil, which has been marked by a bruising recession, runaway inflation and shortages of basic goods like milk, toilet paper and shampoo.
"Throw your rage!!! Enjoy the non-stop fun and relieve all your stress produced by … [the fact] you cannot find medicines or it is impossible to buy a chicken for lunch," the game developers urge players in a description on Google Play.
The game, which has more than 10,000 downloads in one week, is based on an incident last month when a woman tossed a mango at Maduro while he was driving a bus through a crowd of supporters.
Days later, Maduro held up the mango during an appearance on national TV. He said it had a handwritten telephone number with a message that read “If you can, call me.” He said the woman was seeking help to get a new home, and then announced his government would give her one.
Inspired by the woman’s ability to get the president to act, Venezuelans have since started sending Maduro messages on social media in what they're calling "mango mail" or "mango texts." They range from the serious to some very sharp political commentary.
"Hi Mr. President, can you help me? I'm 63 and use a wheelchair, if you could answer me, it'd be good for my health. Thank you."
"Please end the insecurity, corruption and long lines."
"If we could throw a mango at the president to highlight each of the country's problems, how many would we need?
One prominent opposition figure, Maria Coria Machado, sent a more direct message to the president, urging him to step down because of the country's problems.
"Let's see if you we speak the same language, if he (Maduro) understands me: resign."
After the mango incident, Maduro's supporters started playfully throwing things at him during some of his public appearances, and initially he seemed to embrace the idea. However, during a May Day address to thousands of supporters, the president was forced to duck when someone in the crowd threw a white object past his head.
"You have to be careful, comrade," he said.
The president is no longer encouraging people to throw stuff at him. But if you missed your chance, you can still play Maduro Mango Attack.