Venezuela Has Run Out of Toilet Paper
You can't easily wipe away the gains of Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution, but can it continue to roll on despite commodity shortages?
Venezuela's government has ordered 50 million rolls of toilet paper after a widespread shortage has left the nation irritated.
"This is the last straw," said Manuel Fagundes, a shopper hunting for tissue in Caracas told the Associated Press. "I'm 71 years old and this is the first time I've seen this."
Foreign economists are blaming the shortage on price controls that Venezuela has used to make the most basic items affordable to the poorest communities.
"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.
Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro blamed the toilet paper shortage on anti-government forces, looking to destabilize the government that is still looking to shore up power following the death of Hugo Chavez.
A commerce minister blamed the shortage on "excessive demand," which was stirred up by a "a media campaign that has been generated to disrupt the country."