A restaurant challenges the president of Venezuela by selling empanadas

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The Hernández sisters were initially devastated. But they had filmed their interaction with regulators and sent it to one of their daughters. The young girl decided 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 on a pilgrimage. Donations appeared at the door: spices to flavor the filling for empanadas, a 33-pound bag of cornmeal. Then funds started pouring in from Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, and even Germany.

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

Recently, in her restaurant, Corina Hernández thought that Ms. 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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