Videos of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro feasting on steaks at an upscale restaurant have sparked worldwide outrage on behalf of the poverty-stricken people of his country.
One video show celebrity chef Nusret Gokce, also known as "Salt Bae," carving meat for the president and his wife, Cilia Flores, at the Nusr-Et restaurant in Istanbul, where each cut of meat can cost hundreds of dollars.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio slammed the chef who was filmed with the "dictator," who was shown eating "a five-star gourmet meal, smoking fine cigars while the people of Venezuela are literally starving."
"It’s an outrage, disgusting ... this is a man starving human beings and [Salt Bae] is celebrating him as some sort of hero – I got pissed,” Rubio told the Miami Herald on Tuesday.
"I don’t know who this weirdo #Saltbae is, but the guy he is so proud to host is not the President of #Venezuela. He is actually the overweight dictator of a nation where 30% of the people eat only once a day & infants are suffering from malnutrition," Rubio tweeted Tuesday.
I don’t know who this weirdo #Saltbae is, but the guy he is so proud to host is not the President of #Venezuela. He is actually the overweight dictator of a nation where 30% of the people eat only once a day & infants are suffering from malnutrition. https://t.co/sSNPK9cAAx— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) September 18, 2018
The senator also tweeted the address and phone number of the chef's restaurant in Miami, which is home to scores of Venzeulan-Americans and Cuban-Americans who despise the socialist leader.
This guy @nusr_ett who admires dictator @NicolasMaduro so much actually owns a steakhouse in, of all places, #Miami. It’s called NUSR-ET STEAKHOUSE MIAMI located at 999 Brickell Avenue, Miami, FL 33131 The phone number is 1 305 415 9990 in case anyone wanted to call. https://t.co/7CDkgHVZWh— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) September 18, 2018
Opposition leader Julio Borges, who lives in exile in Colombia, tweeted: "While Venezuelans suffer and die of hunger, Nicolas Maduro and Cilia Flores have a good time in one of the most expensive restaurants in the world, all with money stolen from the Venezuelan people."
Mientras los venezolanos sufren y mueren por hambre, Nicolás Maduro y Cilia disfrutando de uno de los restaurantes más costoso del mundo, todo esto a costa del dinero robado al pueblo venezolano. pic.twitter.com/ScRZHAsYYM— Julio Borges (@JulioBorges) September 17, 2018
The once-wealthy oil-producing nation has been in an economic crisis for the past five years. The turmoil has left many Venezuelans struggling to find food and medicine and driven masses to flee to other South American countries.
According to the United Nations, more than 2 million Venezuelans have fled since 2014.
A Meganalisis poll published in the Miami Herald last month found more then 30 percent of Venezuelans say they only ate one meal a day, nearly the same number report eating “nothing or close to nothing” at least one day a week and a staggering 78 percent said they had trouble finding enough food.