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.Of course the official obfuscators are blaming the shortage on anything other than regulatory problems.
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."
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".Ah, the famous destroy the country from within it's bathrooms campaign. I recall when we used that in 1943 against the Germans. err. Really now, how shitty is your country when it doesn't foster a business environment capable of supplying basic necessities like food and toilet paper? These shortages have been going on for years.
Datanálisis, a polling firm that regularly tracks scarcities, said that powdered milk, a staple here, could not be found in 42 percent of the stores its researchers visited in early March. Liquid milk can be even harder to find.The Venezuelan government is pretty damned hostile towards private business. This story talks about the requirement that cattle ranchers obtain individual permits for every head of cattle. Is it any wonder that the country lacks innovation driving competition, the competition provided by private enterprise, that keeps down prices and drives up quality?
Other products in short supply last month, according to Datanálisis, included beef, chicken, vegetable oil and sugar. The polling firm also says that the problem is most extreme in the government-subsidized stores that were created to provide affordable food to the poor.