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Venezuelans Cry Foul as McDonald’s Run Short on Fries

Forget the French fries. How about a side of yuca with that Big Mac? Venezuela's more than 100 McDonald's franchises have run out of potatoes and are now serving alternatives like deep-fried arepa flatbreads or yuca, a starchy staple of traditional South American cooking.

McDonald's is blaming a contract dispute with West Coast dock workers for halting the export of frozen fries to the country. The dispute also caused several days of French fry rationing in Japan last month. But Sonia Ruseler, an Argentina-based spokeswoman for Arcos Dorados, which runs McDonald's restaurants in Latin America, declined to say Tuesday why Venezuela's neighbors are not suffering from similar scarcity.

Accustomed to shortages of their favorite foods, and equally in the habit of grumbling about the government as they walk away empty-handed, many Venezuelans assume the embattled socialist administration is to blame.

"It's because of the situation here; it's a total debacle," said Maria Guerreiro, who huffed out of a Caracas McDonald's with her family when she found out they were serving only fries made of yuca, which is also known as cassava. Her daughter won't eat the super-starchy root, she said, and they'd come for the sole purpose of treating the two-year-old to a Happy Meal.

Ruseler said the corporation is working to resolve the shortages, and in the meantime, "will continue to give our clients the McDonald's experience, offering 100 percent Venezuelan options."

Large fries set to return to McDonald’s in Japan 0:21

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-- The Associated Press