Venezuela running out of toilet paper: report

By Stephen C. Webster
Thursday, May 16, 2013 13:36 EDT
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"Stock Photo: Empty Roll Of Toilet Paper" on Shutterstock: http://tinyurl.com/ck3hrnp
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Venezuela’s socialist government is scrambling to find new sources for toilet paper as consumer supplies run out nationwide, according to The Associated Press.

Shortages of key supplies like milk, sugar, coffee, butter and cooking oil have grown much worse in just the last month, amid a decade-long trend of rising inflation and increasing consumer prices.

Venezuelan Minister of Commerce Alejandro Fleming told state-run AVN News that the government would respond by “saturating the market” with 50 million rolls of imported toilet paper, in hopes of calming the populace. However, CNN noted that he also said Venezuelans go through about 150 million rolls of toilet paper every month, so it’s not clear how far such a gesture will go toward stemming the tide of discontent.

The post-Chavez government, faced with these historic shortages, has in recent weeks been making a big show of trying to boost production of basic goods in the country.

President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday agreed to stop attacking billionaire Lorenzo Mendoza, the president of the nation’s largest company, for failing to spend his money to help the people, offering instead to start working with him on ways to increase consumer production. The public hatchet-burying came less than a week after the president was parading with Brazilian officials who pledged confidence in Maduro’s presidency and increased trade between the two nations.

Lower-level socialist bureaucrats are also scrambling to set up business roundtables to discuss how more goods can be produced locally, according to AVN News. Venezuelan Vice President Jorge Arreaza also announced on Wednesday that a tax on the import of capital goods had been waived.

["Stock Photo: Empty Roll Of Toilet Paper" on Shutterstock.]

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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