Restaurant Challenges Venezuelan President by Selling Empanadas

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The Hernández sisters were initially shocked. But they had filmed their interaction with regulators and sent it to one of their daughters. The young woman decided that she could share the family’s experience with some friends.

The video quickly spread online and soon outraged supporters were visiting the restaurant as if they were making a pilgrimage. Donations appeared at the door: spices to season the filling of empanadas, a 33-pound bag of cornmeal. Then funds began to arrive from Colombia, Brazil, Mexico and even Germany.

Many people sent in orders for empanadas, along with instructions for families to distribute them to locals in need.

Recently, in her restaurant, Corina Hernández thought that Mrs. Machado might have been sent by God himself. The government’s retaliation had become, paradoxically, a blessing.

“Our lives changed after María Corina came to buy our empanadas,” she said. “Everything got better.”

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