15] CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan officials claimed a world record
Saturday for the world's largest pot of soup, a giant cauldron of
stew prepared by President Hugo Chavez's government.
The hulking stainless steel cooking pot, set
up outdoors in downtown Caracas, contained about 15,000 litres of
"sancocho" stew, Food Minister Rafael Oropeza said. (AP Photo/Howard Yanes)
That would dwarf the current record-holder listed
on the Guinness World Records website, a pot of 5,350 litres of
spicy soup prepared in Durango, Mexico, in July.
Oropeza called it "Bolivarian stew" - a play
on the name of Chavez's socialist movement, named in honour of South
American independence hero Simon Bolivar. He said it was enough
to feed 60,000 to 70,000 people.
Addressing reporters next to the pot, Oropeza
said the government is solving supply problems that have made it
difficult for Venezuelans to find staples like milk and eggs in
recent months. He said the state-run market had ample reserves of
Workers stood on raised platforms stirring the
soup with poles, and then dished out servings to a crowd at a state-run
It contained 3,000 kilograms of chicken,
2,000 kilograms of beef, plus tonnes of legumes and vegetables.
With price controls in place, rising demand has
outstripped domestic production of some foods, prompting an increase
in imports. Oropeza said the only product that remains in short
supply is milk, a situation he blamed on a "world problem" of unusual
cold snaps and dry spells hurting milk production.
The 20,490-litre pot was about three-quarters
full. "We didn't add more for security reasons," Oropeza said. "There's
plenty for second helpings."
The BBC's James Ingham in Caracas says the aim
of the event was to highlight the government's food distribution
programme, which helps ease sporadic shortages due to economic issues.
The event has commemorated the third anniversary
of the creation of the foods ministry, as the government tries to
address food shortages amid a surge in consumer demand.
Demand for meat, flour and cooking oil has outstripped
supply this year in Venezuela, helping push the country's inflation
rate to 15.9 percent, the highest in Latin America.