Venezuela is Running Out of Toilet Paper

Women with bags of toilet paperVenezuela is facing a dire crisis. The economy is in deep doo-doo and the government is now scrambling to wipe out the unexpected problem of ... toilet paper shortage:

First milk, butter, coffee and cornmeal ran short. Now Venezuela is running out of the most basic of necessities – toilet paper.

Blaming political opponents for the shortfall, as it does for other shortages, the government says it will import 50m rolls to boost supplies.

That was little comfort to consumers struggling to find toilet paper on Wednesday.

"This is the last straw," said Manuel Fagundes, a shopper hunting for tissue in Caracas. "I'm 71 years old and this is the first time I've seen this."

One supermarket visited by the Associated Press in the capital on Wednesday was out of toilet paper. Another had just received a fresh batch, and it quickly filled up with shoppers as the word spread.

"I've been looking for it for two weeks," said Cristina Ramos. "I was told that they had some here and now I'm in line."

Economists blame government price control that caused Soviet Union-like shortages of toilet paper and other basic commodities: Link


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I must admit that I haven't followed the situation in Venezuela carefully, but what exactly did the United States do to cause toilet paper shortage in Venezuela?

It's not like the US has a monopoly on toilet paper and is refusing to sell them to Venezuela - I mean, toilet paper is produced worldwide. Venezuela can buy TP from practically anywhere.

It's always convenient to blame external forces on domestic problems (every country does that, including the United States).
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The question was: why is Venezuela having a shortage of toilet paper, a basic consumer commodity? Its not because the big mean USA has been snatching it up. And its not for lack of resources. Last I checked, the US could pay for its armaments and toilet paper.

Petro-dollars help lift the income of the poor during the latter half of the Chavez regime, but I'm rather skeptical that the quality of life has "vastly improved". The murder rate has tripled, and widespread corruption and intolerance of opposition threaten the future freedom of Venezuelans and other countries that may be menaced by the regime.

I never mentioned the United States. I did not say where I live, nor did I frame my comments in terms of a comparison with the US. You have made the effort at moral equivalence. Let us suppose that the US is bad, horrible country. Is that an excuse for what has happened in Venezuela, that the poor little Chavez regime is the victim of the US? Cry me an Orinoco river.
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You probably come from the US, where there is no war for oil (Iraq?), no funding of terrorists (Iran Contra, Al Qaeda?), no shopping spree for military armaments (to the tune of more than 500 billion a year - the entire world amount combined?) no cronyism or mismanagement at any level of government, no jailing of journalists for political reasons (Amy Goodman?).

The quality of life of the vast majority of Venezeulan's has improved. The US has tried everything in its power to support business interests inside and outside of Venezuela that did not want to see this happen.

Small countries can be put under serious duress when a country the size of the US tries to disrupt them. We could be much more assured of the fairness of their problems perhaps if the US stopped spending millions trying to ensure that they fail.
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