Toilet paper shortage in Venezuela due to 'excessive demand' says minister

How bad is the socialist economy in Venezuela? So bad, that they can't produce enough toilet paper and must now import 50 million rolls.

I believe there is a direct correlation between the economic health and spiritual well being of a society and the quality and selection of the bathroom tissue it offers. Using that standard, Venezuela's government isn't delivering.


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 say Venezuela's shortages stem from price controls meant to make basic goods available to the poorest parts of society and the government's controls on foreign currency.

"State-controlled prices - prices that are set below market-clearing price - always result in shortages. The shortage problem will only get worse, as it did over the years in the Soviet Union," said Steve Hanke, professor of economics at Johns Hopkins University.

President Nicolás Maduro, who was selected by the dying Hugo Chávez to carry on his "Bolivarian revolution", claims that anti-government forces, including the private sector, are causing the shortages in an effort to destabilise the country.

The government this week announced it also would import 760,000 tonnes of food in addition to the 50m rolls of toilet paper.

Commerce minister Alejandro Fleming blamed the shortage of toilet tissue on "excessive demand" built up as a result of "a media campaign that has been generated to disrupt the country".

Take a good look, America. Many Democrats would wish this kind of life on you and your family. Price controls, "living wages," command economy - it's all there in the ideas being pushed by some Democrats who believe American society to be "unfair."

And you can bet that none of them will be forced to stand in line to purchase anything their policies make scarce.

Hat Tip: David Paulin